Archbishop Wood's Fran Walsh, one of the area's top offensive linemen, was selected as the Robert W. Maxwell Memorial Football Club's high school player of the year for Pennsylvania.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound senior received the award Thursday night at a banquet at Drexelbrook Caterers in Drexel Hill. It is given annually to a player who excels in both athletics and academics, and serves his school and community.
The 51 Mini Max award recipients from the Eastern part of the state are eligible for the award. "Fran is probably one of the best candidates we've ever had," said Mark Wolpert, the Maxwell Football Club's executive director.
The club's New Jersey player of the year will be announced Sunday evening at a banquet at The Heldrich Hotel and Conference Center in New Brunswick. That winner is drawn from the entire state.
Walsh, a standout at center and defensive tackle, helped the Vikings go 12-3, claim their fifth straight Catholic League Class AAA title, and advance to the state final before losing to Erie's Cathedral Prep.
A first-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection by The Inquirer, he is being recruited mostly by Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools, including Lafayette, Lehigh, and Penn.
Walsh is now eligible for the Maxwell Football Club's 28th annual James Henry Award, which goes to the Pennsylvania or New Jersey player who best exemplifies what it means to be a well-rounded student athlete.
The winner of the James Henry Award will be formally recognized at a March 1 function at Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City.
Past winners include Downingtown East quarterback Pat Devlin (2005), Strath Haven linebacker Dan Connor (2003), and Roman Catholic running back Joe McCourt (2000).
- Rick O'Brien