Northeast Times

Game on

Here's a look at the oth­er five area foot­ball teams on the eve of the 2013 sea­son.

  • Tis the season: Father Judge players work out before a recent practice at the school. The Crusaders will be led by first-year head coach Mike McKay, a 1976 graduate of Judge. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

  • He’s back: After missing almost the entire 2012 season with a broken wrist, Marquis Seamon returns to lead the Crusaders’ backfield. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

  • New man in charge: Mike McKay takes over as Judge’s head coach for Tommy Coyle, who stepped down after 13 seasons to take the same position at Penn Charter. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

  • Familiar digs: Phil Gormley (left) returns as Northeast’s head coach after previously serving as an assistant at the school from 1998-2008. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

  • The season’s upon us: Northeast players run drills at practice while preparing for Friday night’s season-opener at Neshaminy. The Vikings went 7-5 in 2012. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

With the sum­mer sports doldrums of­fi­cially in the rear­view mir­ror, here’s a look at what to ex­pect from the oth­er area teams as the first week of the high school foot­ball sea­son is set to get un­der­way this week­end:

PHIL­ADELPHIA CATH­OL­IC LEAGUE CLASS AAAA

Fath­er Judge

Last sea­son: 3-6, 0-4 in di­vi­sion

Head coach: Mike McKay, first sea­son

Out­look: For the first time in more than a dec­ade, there will be a new man in charge on the Judge side­lines. Out after 13 sea­sons is Tommy Coyle (who stepped down to take the job at Penn Charter, where his kids at­tend school) and in is Mike McKay, a former Judge quar­ter­back and 1976 gradu­ate of the school. Key re­turn­ing Cru­saders in­clude seni­or run­ning back Mar­quis Sea­mon, who broke his wrist in Judge’s sea­son-open­er in Ire­land and missed the rest of the sea­son, as well as seni­ors Nick Rome and Kev­in Ko­vacs, who split time as JV quar­ter­back in 2012 and will com­pete with Up­per Mo­re­land trans­fer Zach Car­roll for the start­ing job in place of the gradu­ated Ry­an Mack­iewicz. The Cru­saders also re­turn Tom Bay­er and Dan Sipps on the of­fens­ive line, and McKay hopes hol­d­overs Jeff Mills, Kev­in Lang and Tim Breslin are ready for in­creased roles on the line. They should have de­cent depth on de­fense at the line and with the line­back­ers, who re­turn seni­or standout Joe Nig­ro.

Coach says: “The off­season went real well. The kids have bought in­to the new staffs and schemes, and they’re en­thu­si­ast­ic and eager to get after it. I’m not the type of guy who wants to make any of this about me; I’m just ex­cited to see that en­thu­si­asm and hard work trans­late to the games so that I can see if we’ve come as far as I think we have in the last four months.”

PHIL­ADELPHIA PUB­LIC LEAGUE CLASS AAAA- GOLD DI­VI­SION

George Wash­ing­ton

Last sea­son: 8-3, 4-1 (lost to Frank­ford in Pub­lic League cham­pi­on­ship)

Head coach: Ron Co­hen, 29th sea­son (Ca­reer: 249-72-2)

Out­look: Wash­ing­ton’s next win will be head coach Ron Co­hen’s 250th ca­reer vic­tory, and the Eagles are hop­ing to make it back to the league title game for the eighth year in a row. Co­hen has had a le­gendary ca­reer at Wash­ing­ton since he took over in 1985, win­ning 12 Pub­lic League titles, the most ever by a head coach. Though they’ll be without Pitt­s­burgh com­mit Justin Moody, as well as fel­low gradu­ated seni­ors such as Al Au­gustine, Shaquon Al­len, Dave Gav­rilov, Kend­ale Tru­itt, Mar­quis Ed­wards and Deya Mh­iesen, among oth­ers, Co­hen will still have plenty of help in his quest to bring his team back to an­oth­er title game. Rasheed Black is an ex­cit­ing play­maker at wide re­ceiv­er, while Zaire Holler­way, Brandon Brown and Dawayne Young re­turn to the O-line. Has­san Brock­man adds depth as a re­ceiv­er and backup QB, while Ken Ever­age is ex­pec­ted to start at run­ning back. Tak­ing the place of the two-headed QB at­tack of Gav­rilov and Au­gustine will be John San­tos, who Co­hen says has per­formed well in camp and could provide sta­bil­ity to the po­s­i­tion. De­fens­ive end Tyr­one McNeil and line­back­er Shawn Hende­r­son high­light the re­turn­ing de­fend­ers.

Coach says: “We have a nice, young team, and while our num­bers are a bit down, the at­ti­tude is up. In our two scrim­mages, I saw a lot of things we still have to work on. We’re not as fur­ther along as maybe I would have hoped, but it’s time to put it all to­geth­er. I think our passing game will speak for it­self, and we’ve got top qual­ity play­ers on both sides of the line. Once we get the run­ning game go­ing, we’ll look for­ward to the spir­ited com­pet­i­tion in our di­vi­sion.”

North­east

Last sea­son: 7-5, 2-3 (lost to Frank­ford in semi­finals)

Head coach: Phil Gorm­ley, first sea­son

Out­look: Gorm­ley, a former North­east as­sist­ant from 1998-2008, takes over for Jim Adams, who stepped down after one sea­son. Gorm­ley had been the head coach at Jen­k­in­town the last two sea­sons, and des­pite the fact that the Vik­ings lost a lot to gradu­ation (QB Daquan Bo­han­nan, WRs/DBs Shimeek Carter and Devon Dillard, OL/LB Shahir Gates, OL/DL Bern­ard Hou­s­ton and Di­vi­sion-I sign­ee Dav­id Pul­li­am, among oth­ers), Gorm­ley’s fa­mili­ar­ity with the league should make the re­ad­just­ment to a new coach and scheme easi­er to handle. Re­turn­ing tal­ent in­cludes An­thony Pul­li­am, Dav­id’s broth­er and a two-way play­er; Wil­li­am Okrafo, an emer­ging star on the de­fens­ive line; Mi­chael Cole­man, a DE/LB combo; and Nat­wan Curtis, a WR/DB. Oth­er names Gorm­ley said to look out for in­clude Gladi­mir Paul, a TE/DE; Steph­en Rowe, who star­ted at middle line­back­er last year; and ju­ni­or Teddy Fil­is­ame, who is ex­pec­ted to take over for Bo­han­nan at quar­ter­back.

Coach says: “We’re still young, and there’s no way of get­ting around that. It’s tak­ing some time to come to­geth­er, mainly be­cause my way is a bit dif­fer­ent than what they’re used to, but they’re com­ing around. We’re head­ing in the right dir­ec­tion and have taken some really pos­it­ive steps. What I really want is for us to tackle and block every single day … you can hit a base­ball off a tee all day long, but un­less you face live pitch­ing you’ll nev­er be a good hit­ter. The same goes for tack­ling. Over­all, I’d say I’m pretty happy with where we’re at.”

Samuel Fels

Last sea­son: 3-9, 1-4

Head coach: Bill Har­rigan, sixth sea­son (Ca­reer: 20-37)

Out­look: Samuel Fels has felt the chal­lenge of be­ing a re­l­at­ively new pro­gram that plays in a di­vi­sion with tra­di­tion­al, es­tab­lished pro­grams like Frank­ford, Wash­ing­ton, North­east and Cent­ral. In his sixth sea­son as the Pan­thers’ head coach, Bill Har­rigan be­lieves this can be Fels’ most com­pet­it­ive sea­son yet, most not­ably due to the com­mit­ment and ca­marader­ie of the play­ers as­sembled on this year’s roster. Har­rigan said there were “a lot of guys who have made sig­ni­fic­ant im­prove­ments in their game, al­most too many to name,” though he singled out four-year varsity play­er Jy­lil Reed­er (the team’s lead­ing re­ceiv­er a year ago) and four-year starter Ben­nie Smith at line­back­er. Har­rigan also said it’s the best work eth­ic he’s seen from any of his teams to date, and if his play­ers keep the right at­ti­tude all sea­son and don’t get down on them­selves when they make mis­takes, Fels could be a pesky out to their di­vi­sion foes.

Coach says: “We’re a team in every as­pect of the word this year. I guess what I’m most im­pressed with is the close­ness they’ve dis­played as a group and the fact that they’re ex­cited to be out there play­ing foot­ball every day. In­stead of get­ting down on each oth­er, they’re push­ing one an­oth­er to get bet­ter. We’ve sched­uled some tough non-league games to pre­pare for the di­vi­sion, be­cause as we’ve seen, good teams like Wash­ing­ton and Frank­ford, they re­load in­stead of re­build. I think we’re start­ing to build that cul­ture with­in our pro­gram. In­stead of say­ing, ‘Can we win?,’ we want to walk on the field and say, ‘How much are we go­ing to win by?’ ”

CLASS AAAA- SIL­VER DI­VI­SION

Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln

Last sea­son: 4-8, 4-1

Head coach: Ed Mc­Get­tigan, fourth sea­son (Ca­reer: 16-20)

Out­look: Lin­coln is look­ing for a bounce back after suf­fer­ing through just the pro­gram’s second los­ing sea­son since 2007. Of the team’s four wins, two came on for­feits by the oth­er team, and head coach Ed Mc­Get­tigan is hop­ing for a quick turn­around. Seni­or Devon Thomp­kins will take over for the ac­com­plished Miguel Sanc­hez at quar­ter­back, and oth­er names to high­light in­clude seni­or run­ning backs LeR­on Stroth­ers and Dam­arkus Jones, middle line­back­er Steve Cal­la­han, two-way seni­or line­man Cody Kettyle and de­fens­ive back Travon Wil­li­ams, a trans­fer from Ry­an who led the Raid­ers in in­ter­cep­tions a year ago. Where the Railsplit­ters need the most work seems to be on the de­fens­ive side of the ball, as a Fri­day af­ter­noon scrim­mage against Gratz showed that the team needs work on tack­ling. They get to the ball just fine ini­tially, but wrap­ping their arms around the ball-car­ri­er to pre­vent big plays could make or break the sea­son.

Coach says: ”Our goal is to win the di­vi­sion and get to the play­offs, as al­ways. We have to im­prove on de­fense. We can’t give up the long plays like we did against Gratz. We jumped off­sides twice too, so it’s all about be­ing men­tally there and do­ing the little things right. We still have a lot to fig­ure out, and so far it’s been a learn­ing ex­per­i­ence for the coaches and play­ers. We’ve made the switch to a no-huddle spread of­fense, and the hope is the new scheme puts us in a po­s­i­tion to out­man teams not with our size, which we lack, but with speedy skill play­ers.”

You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

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