Jonah and Tanner are rock-solid, salt of the earth linemen for life

Klabe and Lingo run fast to get ready for college lacrosse
August 4, 2017

Beastie Boys - I call it a Jerry Carter moment. Some years back, covering a high heat preseason August football scrimmage at Glasgow, lineman Jerry Carter came up and handed me a cup of water and said, “It’s really hot out here; you need a drink too.” I was impressed. High character revealed under high heat. On Tuesday night, I walked onto the Legends Stadium turf and lots of young men - maybe 30 - were doing agility drills after lifting weights. Linemen Jonah Robertson and Tanner Virden, rising juniors, immediatly left the group to come over and shake my hand just to say hello. I told them we were members of the same tribe - Linemen for Life. We talked a little football stuff. Jonah is 255 pounds and benches 385, while Tanner is 295 pounds and squats over 500 and benches 325.  These are rock-hard men of the outdoors, fishermen and hunters, and high-character guys like Jerry Carter. They’re not just linemen for life, but friends for life. Both young’uns are part of Cape’s Ag program and, according to teacher Heather Valentine, “Excellent young men. Hardworking and down to earth. I love them both.”   

Whisper Jets - Cape football guys doing grass drills after weights - “Hit it!” - noticed two athletic college-bound women working out on the track. They know Katie Klabe, “that girl can run,” but the other they didn’t. Looking fast while sprinting alone only looks fast if you are actually fast. Klabe is heading to Winthrop University in a couple weeks, where she will join Allie Yeager, Kat Judge (both Cape) and Kristen Shriver (Worcester Prep) on the Eagles’ roster. The unknown sprinter was Leigh Lingo, who is jackrabbit quick, only smoother. Leigh, who played at Worcester Prep, will soon be heading to Virginia Tech, where she will join fellow Mallard Molly Soule on the Hokies’ roster. The good athletes know to show up in shape when stepping up into a world where everyone is good and everyone can play. Alec Perry (Cape and High Point lacrosse) forever carries the Whisper Jet handle. She’s one of the all-time accelerators.

Don’t play the fool - Middle school Honor Society is nice, but “hit the high school” and it’s a brand-new game. All athletes who dream of making it to the next level should start in the classroom and fiercely go after learning and grades. Play the fool and be the fool. Then four years down the road you will never see the recruiters who turn around at the guidance office. You will be heading out to Prairie Dog Junior College of the Open Plains, but you won’t stay because there’s nothing to think about and the cellphone service is poor, just like you. It’s hard to be smart. It takes discipline. So max out and play all the talent cards in your hand. 

Glenn Scobey Warner - Too early to be nicknamed “Scoobie Pup,” this coach was more commonly known as Pop Warner. He coached at Temple 1933-38, so I just missed him. He earned $75K a year, an astronomical sum in those days. Pop and Temple upset the Florida Gators coached by future Temple coach Josh Cody in Warner’s last game. Geoff Collins is Temple’s new football coach. He comes to North Philly from the University of Florida, where he was defensive coordinator. It all comes full circle, including me heading out to cover Cape Pop Warner practice in Lewes. I am a proton inside the super collider of youth sports. Maybe more like a futon?   

Runner’s knee - Debbie Rementer runs lots of races, but when an off-the-chain dog started a fight with Billy the Beagle, Debbie didn’t run, she got in the middle, like most of us would. She got twisted and turned and fell, with her knee so messed up it required emergency surgery and a shoulder that will heal on its own, provided she doesn’t throw any forkballs for the rest of her life. Billy the Beagle now lies comfortably at Debbie’s feet; please be careful not to trip over him.      

Snippets - The Dover Relays 1983 - the seeded heat - all the “hot coppers” in Delaware running were on that track. I was Cape’s track coach. We ran a team of Darren Purcell, Hank Stack, James Johnson and Danny Harmon. Harmon unleashed his devastating kick over the last 180 meters and reeled in the field. We won the gold in 7:59, a school record, the first time Cape broke eight minutes. Darren is the Lloyd’s Market guy, Hank is an engineer in Newark, Danny was killed in a hit-and-run in Belltown, and James “Bip” Johnson from Coolspring has 16 grandchildren and still rocks the fitness look with the greatest smile ever in Cape boys’ track. The school record still stands 34 years later. Jo Jo Kirby is a confident Cape sophomore who started at defensive back as a freshman, a true throwback. Look for him to carry the ball some this season. Cape boys that are wrestling with Team Delaware at the AAU Junior Olympics this week in Detroit.Zane Rego, Darnell Bailey and Alex Torres. Go on now, git!