Vikings right tackle Brian O’Neill is a Sallies guy

Good stories lie beneath the surface of sports
January 7, 2020

Storylines in the water - You’re out fishing with the fleet when the trout are running. You have your onboard fish finder and GPS system, and you’re with hundreds of boats in the same freaking place while the rest of the ocean is empty. How is that fun? I watched each wild card game and everyone focused on the same fish, while most of the players remained anonymous. You can see it in the eyes of the quarterbacks, especially that “game is slipping away” look, because they know hundreds of cameras are tracking them and the same tired questions are heading in their direction. The fact that you’re a millionaire doesn’t make you less weary. And with all the safety rules now in place, there are still sociopathic Clowneys running amok willing to knock your block off. I spent 10 years in NFL press boxes and read all the media guides. I focused on offensive linemen and always went to the paragraph labeled “personal” because I wanted to know just who these guys are. That’s when I started my Linemen for Life club. How about Brian O’Neill, the 6-foot-7, 297-pound right tackle for the Vikings? He’s a Salesianum graduate who played basketball with Donte’ DiVincenzo. His dad was a running back at Dartmouth and his mom a swimmer at Northwestern. Cape fans remember those two guys in the 64-49 loss at Sallies in March 2013 – the “white belly” game coming from the student section on free throws. DiVincenzo had 20, while O’Neill scored 17. Tyreik Burton had 19 for Cape. O’Neill is a good dude. He’s been active in Autism Delaware charity events. He evidently is not a storyline worth chasing.  

Two Lewes guys - A chance morning meeting in the Weis supermarket. Jack Welsh recognizes me. His late brother was University of Virginia football coach George Welsh and also head coach at the Naval Academy and before that on a Penn State staff with Rip Engel. Coach George Welsh coached my brother Tom and later his son Mike at UVA. Jack is 85 and I am 73; we are survivors, both in good health at this moment. We shared stories and could have stayed there all day. Shelly Sentman came by with her mom Jan. Love them both. How could you not? Shelly scored on a penalty stroke in eighth overtime versus Tower Hill in 1995 as Cape won the state field hockey title. We are just people crowding the aisle in a grocery story. Jan. 2 was the one-year anniversary of the death of coach George Welsh, who recruited me to Penn State when I was in high school. I walked into an office and coach said, "You're not as big as your brother,” and then he walked out. I was scarred until lunchtime. I saw him again in his football office in 1994 on the UVA campus and told him, "I'm Dave Frederick, still not as big as my brother or his son Mike, but your brother Jack knows me because he reads my column. How cool is that?" Sports connections are the coolest. I honestly don’t know what other people talk about during chance meetings in the grocery store. 

Wrestling matchups - Two big dual meets Wednesday night in the Henlopen Conference. Cape will host Caesar Rodney, while Sussex Central hosts the Smyrna Eagles. Junior varsity matches usually get going around 6 p.m., with the varsity to follow. Early in the season, most wrestlers in starting lineups have wrestled more than 20 times already. A common comment for a wrestling coach is, “We match up well,” or, “They create matchup problems for us.” Delaware Sen. Chris Coons was a high school wrestler and cross country runner at Wilmington Friends. Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio was a four-time state champion and two-time NCAA champion at 134 pounds in 1984-85 at the University of Wisconsin. If you are politically aware of Coons and Jordan, there’s a good chance you actively dislike one of them. 

Snippets - Cape’s three-sport athlete Meg Bartley has taken a new job as director of operations for the Virginia Tech women’s lacrosse program. Meg will be a head college coach someday or perhaps an athletic administrator, which is a safer place to hide. Temple women’s lacrosse plays 14 of its 22 regular-season games before the spring equinox. Lizzie Frederick, a Player of the Year at Cape, is a senior on the Temple team. Mercer University has three former Cape players on the roster including freshman Chloe Schaeffer and juniors Iseabal Cryne and Cailey Thornburg. Cape’s Eddy Shoop is a junior lacrosse player at the University of Florida majoring in animal sciences. Stay fat! Everyone can’t be on a diet! Go on now, git!


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