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Hill leads the way for Malvern Prep

Malvern Prep's Bobby Hill is a triple-threat player in lacrosse: He can score, defend, and set up his teammates with crisp passes.

Malvern Prep's Bobby Hill is a triple-threat player in lacrosse: He can score, defend, and set up his teammates with crisp passes.

In football, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior likewise provides a skill-set trifecta. He can wriggle away from defenders as a running back, make clutch tackles as a part-time cornerback, and gain decent chunks of yardage as a kick returner.

In Saturday afternoon's nonleague football game at Frankford, Hill contributed in those three ways as the Friars overcame three deficits and fought past the scrappy Pioneers, 23-20, at Large and Dyre Streets.

A team captain, Hill carried 15 times for 89 yards and a pair of scores. His 20-yard fourth-quarter touchdown burst and two-point conversion catch from quarterback Chase Gunther proved to be the difference against an unyielding Public League opponent.

Hill, of West Chester, accounted for 16 of Malvern's 23 points. Late in the third quarter, after a 33-yard TD pass from Gunther to JoJo Rava, he provided a conversion run to put the Friars in front, 8-6.

Though he was slowed somewhat by a nagging hamstring injury, Hill also played defense and notched two solo tackles. The 18-year-old registered a big tackle on a two-point conversion attempt in the third quarter. He stormed in to stop Taron Mills, who was charging hard after catching a pass from quarterback Mike McGroarty, just short of the goal line.

In returning punts, Hill made gains of 8, 10 and 3 yards. Late in the third quarter, after the Pioneers went ahead, 20-15, his 19-yard kickoff return gave the Friars a start at their own 42. Eight plays later, he produced the winning score on a dazzling run.

"We really didn't know exactly what to expect from Frankford, but we knew they were pretty good because they had played Pennsbury tough a week earlier," Hill said.

Through three games, Hill has rushed 30 times for 166 yards and three TDs. Of his role as a captain, he said: "I'm not that big of a talker. [Jack] Moran and [Joe] DiTrolio are probably the biggest talkers of the group."

Hill, a midfielder and an all-American in lacrosse, will play that sport at Virginia. Last season, with Malvern not in the PIAA, the Friars could not pursue a state championship.

"Because of that, it was a little tough to stay motivated at times," he said. "But we played a lot of quality out-of-state teams. That part of it was good."

Hill also considered playing lacrosse at Penn State, Duke, Georgetown, and Johns Hopkins. He plans to major in business.

Proud papa. After St. Joseph's Prep rallied to beat La Salle, 24-17, in Saturday night's thrilling Catholic League Division AAAA opener in the rain at Plymouth Whitemarsh, Frank Labor joined the on-field celebration.

Labor's son, Mike, a senior fullback and linebacker for the Hawks, made key contributions on offense and defense to help ignite the furious rally.

The 6-3, 200-pound Labor rushed six times for 38 yards and two TDs. With one minute to go, his 10-yard, right-side rumble gave the Prep some breathing room. The Hawks had taken an 18-17 lead on Skyler Mornhinweg's 13-yard TD toss to Bobby D'Orazio with 1 minute, 30 seconds on the clock. La Salle fumbled the ball away on the next possession, paving the way for Labor's score.

"I saw that the middle linebacker was blitzing up the middle," Labor said of his insurance TD, "so I took it outside and gave No. 9 [cornerback Kevin Forster] a stiff-arm on the way into the end zone."

In the first half, the Explorers netted 133 rushing yards on 19 attempts. They went ahead, 17-6, on a 2-yard plunge by fullback Tim Wade (30 carries for 162 yards) with 2:30 remaining before intermission.

"They were killing us with the run," Labor, a captain, said. "A lot of that was my fault."

Labor, who has heard from Pittsburgh and Rutgers, was being a bit hard on himself. He posted a team-high nine tackles, including six solo stops. He was involved in five second-half tackles.

Frank Labor is a 1972 Prep graduate. He played guard for the Hawks.

Extra points. Frankford tight end Tyrell Allen made TD catches of 59 and 31 yards in the loss to Malvern Prep. On defense, as an end, he was involved in four tackles, including a third-quarter sack. For the Pioneers, Mills and Savoy Martin each recorded five solo tackles and an assist. . . . Malvern Prep, which returned only four starters from last year's 10-0 squad, used at least 17 players on defense against Frankford. Moran made five solo tackles, including a second-quarter sack. . . . In addition to Labor, Prep's defensive stalwarts against La Salle were freshman linebacker Jared Alwan (eight tackles, five solos), strong safety John Arena (seven, four), and linebacker Steve O'Hara (six, four). . . . The Explorers' defensive standouts were Forster (seven tackles, five solos) and linebackers Ryan Saraceni (seven, five) and Anthony Cognetti (seven, four). Linebacker Shane Brady made five solo stops. . . . In the first half of Friday night's 28-24 win over Suburban One League National Conference rival Neshaminy, Abington quarterback Sam Kind completed 13 of 19 passes for 190 yards and two TDs, both to wideout Anthony Hensley. Overall, Kind was 20 for 28 for 233 yards. Hensley totaled 13 catches for 183 yards.