Eagles Champion Riley Gunnels and Family Produce OCHS Football Legacy

first_imgJohn Riley Gunnels IV is the latest generation of his family to play football at Ocean City High School. (Photo courtesy of John Gunnels) By TIM KELLYCall it the Riley Gunnels effect.Longtime Ocean City resident Gunnels was a starting defensive tackle on the 1960 Philadelphia Eagles NFL championship team. As any formerly long-suffering Birds fan will tell you, that was the last time a Philadelphia squad laid claim to pro football’s ultimate prize – until backup quarterback Nick Foles and company snapped the drought by winning Super Bowl LII some 58 years later.In the intervening years, Gunnels, now 82, and his wife of 55 years, Kay, produced a championship pipeline to the Red Raiders that is now in its second generation.Their son, John Riley Gunnels III, who goes by John, was the starting quarterback on Ocean City’s 1984 South Jersey Group III title team. John engineered a thrilling 22-21 defeat of Willingboro to take the crown on the Chimeras home field.And now John Riley Gunnels IV is a promising freshman QB for the Raiders, the only freshman on the varsity, which attempts to improve its record to 3-0 Friday night at Bridgeton.“The interesting part is, I don’t really like quarterbacks very much,” the elder Gunnels chuckled, “but I have two pretty good ones in my family.”A pass rusher par excellence, the University of Georgia grad had a seven-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Eagles.His career highlight was being on the Franklin Field gridiron in Philly on December 26, 1960, when the Birds handed a 17-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers for a pre-Super Bowl era NFL crown, the only playoff loss suffered by the Pack’s legendary former coach Vince Lombardi.Riley Gunnels (74) was part of the 50th anniversary celebration for the Birds’ title team at Lincoln Financial Field in 2010. (Photo courtesy Philadelphia Eagles)“That was a great time in my life,” said Gunnels. “Of all the teams I played on over the years, that one had the best comradery.”His grandson, who also uses Riley as his first name, was 4-for-5 passing, including TD passes of 50 and 74 yards, in his first jayvee game, a 14-12 win over Lower Cape May. He made his varsity debut last week in the second half of the Raiders’ home opener, as one of the sub QBs (with soph Charley Cossabone) seeing action in a 49-0 shellacking of Egg Harbor Township.Riley IV steered an offense consisting mostly of backups for a series that produced a first down and two completions totaling 19 yards. According to Tom Williams of Oceancitysports.com, Gunnels already owns a school record with the most passing yardage ever recorded by a frosh QB in the 100-plus-year history of the program.“I was a little bit nervous before my first high school game, but that didn’t last long,” said young Riley, 14, who is listed on the roster as 6-2 and 180 pounds. “The coaches and (starting QB) Joe Repetti have been great working with me and making me feel welcome.”A “school choice” student who resides in Galloway Township, there was no doubt where young Riley wanted to play his high school ball, his dad said.“He wants to play for the Georgia Bulldogs and the Eagles because of his Pop-Pop, and he wanted to play at Ocean City because of me and his uncle and his cousin,” John Gunnels said.Riley Gunnels’ 1963 football card as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.In addition to the three generations of football-playing Riley Gunnels, the legacy also includes John’s brother and former teammate, the 6-4, 290-pound Chris Gunnels, a 1986 Ocean City grad and All-South Jersey performer who went on to play at the University of Maryland. Another grandson, offensive lineman Joe “Chugger” LaCasse (Class of 2003), was another outstanding player for the Raiders.“Like most of his family, (young Riley) is a big, strong kid,” Red Raiders’ Head Coach Kevin Smith said. “His physical tools are beyond (most players his age). He can make any throw we would ask of any of our quarterbacks.”None of this is to suggest it’s been very easy.Attending high school for the first time can be daunting for any student, and the situation could’ve been tougher for young Riley, who was from out of town and not from one of the traditional sending districts.The daily commute can be difficult for both student and parents. John Gunnels and wife Bobbi are also parents to 17-year-old Abby and Ella, 8. Abby is a basketball and softball star and cheerleader at Cedar Creek High School.“Thank goodness Ocean City doesn’t play Cedar Creek this year,” John Gunnels said.Moreover, most of the students Riley knew were upper-class teammates, his dad said.Any trepidation was short-lived. When Riley walked into the cafeteria for his first lunch period, which is integrated with members of every class, senior co-captain Chris Armstrong showed his leadership.“I was a little nervous at first and there was (Armstrong) yelling ‘Gunnels! Over here,’ and he made sure there was a place at the lunch table for me.”In the days after that, Riley said he has become more comfortable in his classes and around school.On the field, Repetti, a junior in his first year as the starting quarterback, has been instrumental in helping Gunnels “learning my progressions, reading defenses and terminology and things like that,” he said.The bottom line: easing into Ocean City High School proved to be a natural thing for the youngest varsity Raider. After all, he’s a Gunnels.Freshman quarterback Riley Gunnels with teammates before last week’s game at Carey Stadium.last_img read more

103-year-old Iran woman survives coronavirus: report

first_imgThe woman was the second elderly patient in Iran to have survived the disease.The other was a 91-year-old man from Kerman, in the southeast of Iran, the news agency said.After being sick for three days, he recovered on Monday despite having pre-existing medical conditions including high blood pressure and asthma, it added.The report did not say how the pair were treated. A 103-year-old woman in Iran has recovered after being infected with the new coronavirus, state media reported, despite overwhelming evidence the elderly are most at risk from the disease.The unnamed woman had been hospitalized in the central city of Semnan for about a week, IRNA news agency said.But she was “discharged after making a complete recovery”, Semnan University of Medical Sciences head Navid Danayi was quoted as saying by IRNA late Tuesday. Since Iran announced its first deaths on Feb. 19, the novel coronavirus has spread to all of the country’s 31 provinces and killed nearly 1,000 people.The elderly are the most vulnerable to the disease, which first emerged in China late last year.The World Health Organization this month estimated the novel coronavirus kills 3.4 percent of all those infected.But for people aged over 80 the fatality rate was 21.9 percent, according to a report the WHO carried out with the Chinese authorities.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Tori Bowie wins gold with sensational run in 100m final

first_imgAmerican Tori Bowie produced a sensational run in the final of the 100m to win gold narrowly beating Marie-Josee Ta Lou.Bowie looked in good form during the semi-finals and although Ta Lou got off to the better start she came back superbly to win in a time of 10.85s.Watch the World Athletics Championships LIVE on EurosportThe finish couldn’t have been closer but a fantastic dip on the line gave Bowie the victory over the impressive Ta Lou who will still be thrilled with her silver medal.”I had no idea [I’d won]. All I knew is I left everything on the line,” said Bowie after the race.he shock of the night was that Olympic champion Elaine Thompson was nowhere as she started poorly and simply couldn’t recover. Just like compatriot Usain Bolt last night she couldn’t live up to her pre-race billing.last_img read more

WWE star Darren Young: ‘I’m gay’

first_imgby Nick Valencia(CNN) — WWE superstar wrestler Darren Young publicly came out as gay during an unplanned interview with the news entertainment website TMZ late Wednesday.He is thought to be the first openly gay wrestler in the organization –which is the premier professional wrestling company — according to a tweet by WWE Executive Vice President Stephanie McMahon.Young made the statement while at a baggage carrousel in Los Angeles after being asked if “a gay wrestler could be successful within the WWE.”“Absolutely. Look at me. Ya know. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy,” Young said in response to the question.The revelation, which is not thought to be part of the wrestler’s onscreen character, apparently caught the cameraman off guard. He stumbled over his response.“Man, that’s in … that’s … sorry. I’m kinda’ of flabbergasted man. I think … I didn’t know and obviously I think that’s just … I commend your bravery,” the cameraman said.“I don’t think it matters. Does it matter? Does it matter to you?…Does it change what you think about me?” Young rhetorically asked after making the statement.“Not an iota,” TMZ’s cameraman said. “In fact I commend you even more that you would share something so beautiful and personal with me.”“We’re all adults. All sports are physical. When I come to work, I come to work,” Young said. “Business is business.”He added, “Some people might not like it, and some people will like it.When contacted by CNN for comment, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., said, “[The] WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar.”On Thursday, Young was expected to participate in an anti-bullying event in Los Angeles “to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation,” WWE added in its statement.While Young’s public disclosure made headlines, he is not the first wrestler to come out. In a posthumously released 2011 book, WWE and WCW star Chris Kanyon wrote about being both a gay man and pro wrestler. He committed suicide in April 2010 after battling with mental illness.last_img read more

RB Says Goodbye to Beloved Police Chief

first_imgBy John BurtonRED BANK – Police Chief Stephen G. McCarthy had a life that made a difference in the lives of so many others.The late Red Bank Police Chief Stephen G. McCarthy, shortly after becoming chief almost four years ago.On Monday a borough worker draped purple and black memorial bunting over the entrance of police headquarters and members of the department placed black ribbons across their uniform badges. As word spread that McCarthy had died earlier that morning, there was a palpable pall that seemed to spread over the department and community.Mayor Pasquale Menna saw it, felt it.“There was a real sense of loss” everywhere and with everyone he spoke, the mayor said, especially with members of the department who “were lost.”Menna, who seemed shaken by the chief’s death, went to headquarters later in the day, after conceding he wasn’t going to get any work done at his law office. He sat with those coming on duty for the night shift. “They seemed lost. I mean, they’re grown men; they know they have a job to do. But they didn’t know what to say, to do,” he said.Menna knew how they felt. “I can’t believe it. I never anticipated it would come this fast.”McCarthy, 50, had been chief since 2010. He had been battling a reoccurrence of thyroid cancer and was being treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, Menna said.McCarthy had been with the department for 27 years, coming up through the ranks, first as a patrolman. He headed the criminal investigation and detective bureaus before being named chief of the 40-member department.Red Bank Police Chief Stephen G. McCarthy is shown in this January 2010 file photo being sworn in as chief by Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci Sr. as McCarthy’s wife Maryellen and children Matthew and Jenna look on. McCarthy lost his battle with cancer on Monday, Sept. 23.“Not only was he the best of any of the chiefs I had the privilege to work with – and we’ve had good ones in the 25 years I’ve been on the council and as mayor – but he was also, in my opinion, the poster of what chiefs should be throughout the whole state,” Menna said.Borough Council Presi­dent and Police Commis­sioner Arthur V. Murphy III stressed, “He was a gentleman before he became chief.“He had a real decency,” Murphy said. “You don’t replace a guy like that.”Murphy and Menna met with McCarthy at the mayor’s home, some months back when it appeared the chief’s cancer had returned. McCarthy told the officials about his condition – and prognosis.“We spent much of the time crying like children,” Menna said.“We all knew what was coming,” Murphy said. “I couldn’t keep it in.”It was McCarthy who reached out and grabbed Murphy’s shoulder, asking, “Are you all right?”“He knew he was going down that path and “he asked me, if I was all right,” Murphy remembered.“We lost a really good individual, not only as a father and husband, but as a really great police officer,” said Mark Fitzgerald, who was chief and retired prior to McCarthy taking over and now is head of security for Riverview Medical Center. “He was a really decent individual.”Fitzgerald and McCarthy worked together in the police department for many years. “It was easy to tell from my position that, when he joined the police department, he had the capabilities of rising to the top and being a leader,” Fitzgerald said. “He was that type of person.“He was a natural leader – that was apparent from the beginning,” he said.Fitzgerald recalled when he told McCarthy’s father that one day his son would become chief. The senior McCarthy remembered that and reminded Fitzgerald of it when McCarthy was sworn in.“He was like a brother to many of us,” Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni aid.Gramiccioni first met McCarthy when the prosecutor was with the U.S. Attor­ney’s Office and he and McCarthy were working on a case that had overlapping federal and local jurisdictions. “He was great at his job,” he said.The prosecutor was always struck by McCarthy’s diligence, but more profoundly, Gramiccioni said, “He had a real good heart.“We may be all good at our jobs but we all can’t be equally good-hearted people,” Gramiccioni said. “He was that double-whammy.”Police Captain Darren McConnell, a department veteran and friend called McCarthy “the picture of what you’d want a police officer, police chief and a person in general to be in the way he conducted himself every day.”McCarthy’s manner of dealing with people and situations was “in such a calm and compassionate way … that spread through the department,” McConnell said. “People looked up to him, the way he conducted himself.”Board of Education Presi­dent Ben Forest agreed. Forest knew McCarthy since they both attended Mon­mouth Regional High School, though a year apart. When he became chief, McCarthy reached out to Forest and his wife Amy Goldsmith, president of the West Side Com­munity Group, asking to meet with some west side residents and hear their concerns. He came to Forest’s home. “He sat and listened and I never had a police chief do that before,” Forest said. “Amy and I were very moved by that.”“He was bright, articulate; he had a quiet but strong presence,” Menna said. “One of the good ones is gone.” Stephen G. McCarthy, 50, of West Long Branch, and the chief of police for Red Bank, died Monday, Sept. 23.His accomplishments in law enforcement started in Rutgers University graduating with a degree in criminal justice. Later, he attended Kean University, obtaining a master’s in public administration. He was a graduate of the 2004 FBI National Academy (235th class), 2004 West Point Command and Leadership Program and The National Training Center of Polygraph Science. In 2010 he became the chief of police of Red Bank.Stephen was a member of numerous associations, including the Monmouth County and New Jersey State Associations of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He was an active member of the PBA Local 39.Above all, he was a devoted family man to his wife, children and parents. Stephen never missed one of his children’s games, one of his greatest joys.He is survived by his beloved wife Maryellen; his loving children, Matthew and Jenna; a brother, Robert; his parents Elizabeth and Stephen; his mother-in-law, Teresa Ferrigno; his in-laws, Chrissy and Jim Mellaci, Rob and Lisa Ferrigno; and numerous other relatives.Visitation was held at the John E. Day Funeral Home, Red Bank, on Thursday, Sept. 26. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at St. Michaels R.C. Church, West End. Interment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Middletown.Donations in Stephen’s memory may be made to the Red Bank PBA–McCarthy Children’s College Fund at PO Box 39, Red Bank, NJ 07701 or online at: www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/redbankpbalocal39/redbank pbalocal39s-mccarthyschildrenfund.Please visit Stephen’s memorial website at www.johne dayfuneralhome.com.last_img read more