West Catholic's Jaryd "Burger" Jones-Smith gained his nickname while playing youth basketball as a fifth grader.
"It was near the beginning of the season and the coaches couldn't remember my name," the senior captain said. "One of them said I looked like a burger. . . . it just kind of stuck."
"Oak," as in oak tree, might be a more-appropriate nickname these days. The 17-year-old, a two-way stalwart for the Burrs, stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 320 pounds.
Projected to be an offensive tackle in college, Jones-Smith, imposing but still raw, has scholarship offers from Virginia, Pittsburgh, North Carolina State, Central Florida, and Temple, among others.
"He's young, still," West Catholic coach Brian Fluck said. "He just turned 17. There's a great upside to him. Once he gets to the next level - when his weight is redistributed and his legs get stronger - I think he'll explode."
On Saturday night, with Jones-Smith stationed at left tackle, the visiting Burrs posted five first-half rushing touchdowns and buried Neumann-Goretti, 42-0, in a Catholic League Class AA game in South Philadelphia.
Jones-Smith, who plays either tackle or end on defense, said he has bench-pressed 275 pounds and squatted 325.
"I do my best every day to improve," he said.
The hulking lineman took an official visit to Virginia early in October. "It was good," he said. "I liked the coaching staff."
A second-year starter, Jones-Smith plans to visit North Carolina State next. "And I'll probably go to Pitt in December," he said.
Against the Saints, junior tailback Greg White carried 17 times for 163 yards and five TDs. He scored on dashes of 18, 20, 6, 4, and 55 yards.
Jones-Smith is usually joined up front by center Steven Wyant (5-11, 280), guards Joshua Gibbs (6-3, 340) and Eric Rutherford (5-10, 285), fellow tackle Kameron Cotton (6-0, 244), and tight end Dominic Toney (6-3, 243).
On the other side, Jones-Smith and company limited Neumann-Goretti to 58 rushing yards and 31 passing.
"Jaryd's stamina is pretty good," Fluck said. "He doesn't having any problem going both ways."
The Burrs' defense has yielded an average of 17.5 points. The other headliners are Toney, who can play either tackle or end, linebackers Devyn Allen and Patrick Amara, cornerback Shaquille James, and safety Brendon Slade.
On Saturday, James and fellow cornerback Rae'Quan Williams kept Saints wideout Jamal Custis, a 6-6, 205-pound junior, from making a single catch.
"We tried to be physical with him, bump him at the line," said the 5-9, 150-pound James. "We wanted to slow him up as much as we could."
While West Catholic's top priority is winning another league title, it can't help but look ahead at a probable meeting with Imhotep Charter, guided by former Burrs assistant Albie Crosby, in the PIAA District 1-12 Class AA subregional final.
"People always want to talk about that, but we need to take it one game at a time," said Jones-Smith. "We can't get ahead of ourselves."
Under the lights. At 7 p.m. Friday, in the first night game at the Pellegrini Athletic Complex, Malvern Prep will host Inter-Ac League rival Episcopal Academy. The Friars and Churchmen are both 2-0 in league action.
Extra points. In Cardinal O'Hara's 9-7 win over visiting Bonner-Prendergast on Saturday, Lions linebackers Nolan Cummings (four solos) and Nick Moriconi (three solos, second-quarter sack) combined for nine tackles. For the Friars, tackle Joe Smith (five solos, first-quarter sack) and linebacker Vince Brooks (seven solos) each notched eight tackles. Next in line, with eight tackles apiece, were end Mike Palmer (third-quarter sack), and linebackers Mike Shanahan and Kyle Dawson. O'Hara junior placekicker/punter Steve Weyler was sidelined in the second half with a neck injury. Junior fullback Matt Penza handled the punting duties.
In eight games for Haverford High, Jaishan Thornton, a junior cornerback, has posted 43 tackles, four interceptions, and four fumble recoveries. The 5-7, 165-pounder has drawn interest from Georgetown, Richmond, and Wagner. . . . Top-ranked St. Joseph's Prep, the Catholic League Class AAAA front-runner, will host fourth-place Archbishop Ryan at 7 p.m. Saturday. If the Prep wins, as expected, the Hawks and Raiders will meet again in a playoff semifinal the following weekend. . . . La Salle's Ryan Winslow, bound for Pitt, has averaged 42.6 yards on 17 punts. He is 5 for 7 on field-goal tries. Of his 43 kickoffs, 26 have been touchbacks.
Last year, en route to meeting in the District 1 Class AAAA final, North Penn and Council Rock South were a combined 13-3 through Week 8. This season, the Knights and Golden Hawks are a combined 5-11. . . . Haverford School senior Sema'j Reed, a 6-7, 270-pound defensive end, has scholarship offers from Lafayette and Fordham. Cincinnati, Maryland, and Temple are also involved.