If you want to see the best high school football players from the Public League, Catholic League and Inter-Ac League, the Philadelphia Eagles City High School All-Star Classic football game will give you chance to see them perform on the big stage. The city all-star game will be played at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, May 10. The kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.
This game will allow the fans one last time to see the top seniors before they begin their college football careers. This gridiron contest will have the Public School All-Stars against the Non-Public All-Stars.
The Public School All-Stars have a number of exciting players to watch such as Richard Drayton (Central), Daquan Brown (Dobbins) and Eric Leslie (West Philadelphia). Drayton, an All-Public league wide receiver, had a terrific season for the Lancers. He had 44 receptions for 644 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Brown had a big season for the Mustangs. He was one of the city’s leading rushers. He had 206 carries for 1,261 yards while scoring 10 TDs on the ground.
Leslie was an explosive player for the Speedboys. The team’s brilliant receiver had 26 catches for 366 yards and 11 TDs. He has great moves in the open field.
The Catholic League has some impressive players as well with Jaleel Reed (West Catholic) and Marcus Kelly (Roman Catholic). Reed had a big year as the Burrs’ quarterback. He completed 52 of 115 passes for 899 yards, including 10 touchdown passes. He also had 106 carries for 638 yards.
Kelly had a tremendous season running the football for the Cahillites. He had 237 carries for 1,796 yards and 16 TDs.
Chestnut Hill Academy will have four players in this contest. CHA will be well represented with Brett Flannery (defensive back), Cedric Madden (running back), Chris Howard (offensive lineman) and Tyler Hightower (defensive lineman). Chestnut Hill Academy is a member of the Inter-Ac League.
The all-star game has been played every year since 1975. The inaugural game was played at Northeast High School in front of 14,426 fans. The location of this all-star classic has changed over the years and has included venues like Franklin Field, Charles Martin Memorial Stadium and now, Lincoln Financial Field.
The game has produced several NFL players such as Brent Grimes (Northeast, Atlanta Falcons), Dominique Curry (George Washington, St. Louis Rams) and Jameel McClain (George Washington, Baltimore Ravens). Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased for $10 on philadelphiaeagles.com or by going to Lincoln Financial Field.
West Philadelphia High has put together an outstanding football season. The Speedboys (8-0) are headed for the Public League playoffs. A big reason for their success has been the play of Eric Leslie, West Philly’s explosive wide receiver. Leslie has 18 receptions for 251 yards while scoring eight touchdowns.
“Eric has played some great football for us,” said Paul Noon, West Philadelphia High head coach. “He’s a great wide receiver. He opens up the offense. He broke the record for receiving yards in the city. He’s a good person. He’s very respectful. I’m fortunate to be coaching a good receiver as well as a good young man.”
A year ago, Leslie shattered the Public League record for receiving yards in a season with 861. He averaged an impressive 29.7 yards a reception. In addition, he scored 10 touchdowns.
Leslie is a big-time receiver, has a great knack for getting open and has good speed in the open field. He also knows how to come back to the football. He has picked up a lot of these fundamentals, which has made him a terrific all-around receiver. He credits his coaching staff for much of his success.
“Our coaching staff Mr. (Paul) Noon, Larry Bledsoe and the rest of our coaches are doing a good job,” Leslie said. “They’ve been a big help to me as well as my teammates. They’ve made a big difference in my play. They’ve also given us a lot of confidence.”
Leslie also feels the Speedboys have a great supporting cast around him. Offensively, West Philly seems to be loaded with good players like quarterback Ricardo Streams (38 of 79 in passing for 523 yards and 10 TDs) and running backs Elijah Hardy, Anthony Johnson and Desmond Sams.
“Desmond Sams is our fullback and linebacker,” Leslie said. “He’s having a big year. We got Anthony Johnson and Elijah Hardy. They can really run the football. They’ve been playing really well. Ricardo has thrown some nice passes.
“They’ve all helped me out. As far as my game, I try to use my speed and run perfect routes. I’ve done a lot of drills catching the ball and running pass routes to get better. I worked out with our quarterback (Larry Richardson) from last year’s team. He was a big help, too.”
Leslie has made a lot of strides in a very short period of time. He didn’t start playing the game until three years ago.
“I started playing my ninth grade year,” said Leslie, a 5-foot-10, 140-pound senior. “My 10th-grade year I started at defensive back. Then, my 11th-grade year I started at receiver. That’s when I broke the record.”
West Philadelphia High plays its home games at 48th and Spruce streets. The fans usually pack the stands to watch the Speedboys play. Leslie is a fan favorite. They call him “T.O.” His favorite player is former Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens. And every time he catches the ball, the fans holler ‘T.O.!’
“I grew up watching him play for San Francisco,” Leslie said. “I’ve been watching him since I was about 10 years old. He has a passion and a love for the game.”
Leslie has the same qualities. He would like to play college football next year.
“I want to play college football,” he said. “I heard from Temple last year. I want a scholarship. I’ll play Division I or Division II football. It doesn’t matter to me as long as I can get a scholarship.”
Leslie certainly has the ability to play at the next level.