Want to know how the rest of your favorite area high school football teams did last weekend? Here’s a recap of Week 1, as well as a look ahead to Week 2:
Episcopal 30, Father Judge 22
Judge’s first game under new head coach Mike McKay was a tale of two halves. The Crusaders fell behind by a score of 30-3 at halftime, looking like a serious blowout was in store. However, Judge never said die and roared back on the road under the lights at Episcopal, cutting it to 30-22 with possession late in the fourth quarter. They couldn’t complete the comeback, but they sure came close. Junior quarterback Zach Carroll (10/29, 155 yards, TD) and the offense took over on its own 38 with 2:06 left in the fourth and added first down plays on the drive’s first two snaps. But Carroll’s next four passes went incomplete and the Churchmen held on for the victory.
“Several penalties on offense and a few dropped passes contributed to the bad half, and we had two coverage breakdowns in the second quarter that led to two long touchdowns,” McKay said. “We showed great heart and didn’t quit in the second half.”
It was a nice return for star senior running back Marquis Seamon, who missed most of last season after breaking his wrist in Judge’s season-opener in Ireland. Seamon carried the ball 17 times for 139 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore defensive back Yeedee Thaenrat grabbed two interceptions, including one for a touchdown.
Up next for Judge will be Council Rock South Saturday night (7 p.m.) at Northeast High School.
“We need to fine tune our special teams, our secondary coverage and get better in our offensive passing game,” McKay said.
Abington 53, Fels 22
The score would suggest Fels took nothing positive from its lopsided loss at the hands of suburban power Abington, but that’s not the case, according to Fels head coach Bill Harrigan.
“Based on the score, a lot of people would look at it nothing but negative, but we took a lot of positives away from this game,” Harrigan said. “All in all, the team played together for the entire game. There was no finger pointing, no head hanging … they went hard for all four quarters. It’s a mark of maturity in how much our guys care about each other.”
Fels was certainly up against it, numbers wise. According to Harrigan, the Panthers dressed about 25 players compared to Abington’s 60 or so. Abington also has one of the most highly-regarded offensive lines in the area coming into the game. Jylil Reeder was the standout on offense, rushing 19 times for 113 yards and a score, as well as going 8/15 for 44 yards in filling in at quarterback (the Panthers’ top two QB’s on the depth chart were out due to injury).
Fels will next travel to play Penn Charter Saturday morning at 11 in former Judge head coach Tommy Coyle’s first game as the Quakers boss. Harrigan said it’s another opportunity for his team to see a different brand of football than they’re used to in the Public League.
“We played them last year, and while they might not have as many players as Abington due to the size of the student body, they still have some good athletes,” Harrigan said. “We like to play these top teams, because it’s a measuring stick to see how they do things and how our own program is progressing. Most of these suburban teams, they make a mistake and they fix it right away. We want our guys to see that.”
Downingtown East 27, Frankford 14
It was a rough start at home for the reigning Public League champs, starting out sloppy with five turnovers and 140 yards of penalties.
“That’s not going to win you too many games, especially against a good football team like that,” Frankford head coach Will Doggett. “But it’s invaluable to play teams like this (to start the season). If I went out and played a team I knew I could beat every week then it wouldn’t tell me much about what we’re doing as a team and a coaching staff.”
It was the Pioneers’ first game since the graduation of star record-breaking quarterback Tim DiGiorgio, now with Temple University as a preferred walk-on. In his place was senior Marquise Poston, who struggled, completing 11 of 28 passes for 154 yards while adding 43 yards rushing on 12 carries and a score. Senior running back Damion Samuels, expected to be a huge part of the Frankford offense, managed just 20 yards on eight carries and a touchdown. Quinton Ellis added 27 yards rushing and a pick.
Up next for Frankford is another home contest against another top suburban program in Pennsbury (Saturday, noon).
“It’s another really, really good football team we have coming in here,” Doggett said. “We have our work cut out for us. It won’t be an easy task.”
SCH Academy 28, Washington 13
Washington was a little shorthanded in its opener due to some injuries, forcing a few players to play out of position on the road at SCH Academy in Chestnut Hill. The offense was a bit rusty, scoring just twice in six red zone trips, and the defense had trouble stopping the run as SCH running back Kyle Lawlor (12 carries, 169 yards) and QB Paul Dooley (10 carries, 89 yards) ran rough shot on the Eagles.
“Only scoring twice in the red zone was a bit disheartening,” said Washington head coach Ron Cohen, who started off his 29th season as head coach with a loss. “We definitely have a lot to improve on as the year goes on, but I think we did some nice things. They played hard to the very end and I believe the kids got a lot out of the game.”
Quarterback John Santos led the Eagles offense, completing 11 of 24 passes for 151 yards, while receiver Rasheed Black had four catches for 76 yards.
The Eagles will next be in action Friday night (6:30, Northeast High School) against West Catholic, who knocked off Haverford School (in the same conference as SCH Academy) last week, 26-14. The Burrs feature strong talent on offense with QB Antoine McCollum (13/22, 166, TD), RB Greg White (27 carries, 101 yards) and WR Ahkil Crumpton (5 catches, 125, TD), so the Washington defense will need to come ready to play.
“What we want to work on this weekend is correcting and limiting mistakes, as well as scoring more in the red zone,” Cohen said. “West Catholic has some good athletes and they’re very well-coached. We beat them in overtime last year, so it’s going to be a challenge.”
Truman 47, Lincoln 21
It was a tough opening week for the Railsplitters, as problems that beset the team in the preseason followed into Week 1. Specifically, penalties and finishing tackles. In a scrimmage against Simon Gratz, Lincoln struggled in both areas again against Truman.
“The overall team tackling was bad, we really need to work on wrapping our arms and finishing,” said head coach Ed McGettigan. “We also had 14 penalties, six of which were holds, so it was a bit of an undisciplined start.”
Quarterback Devon Thompkins led the way on offense for Lincoln, completing 11 of his 23 passes for 119 yards while still learning the ropes of Lincoln’s newly-implemented no huddle offense. Lincoln will see another Public League foe on Friday afternoon (3 p.m. at home) in Overbrook, and McGettigan said the coaching staff’s focus this week in practice has been correcting those careless mistakes.
“We had a couple of good days of practice, and the kids know they have to get better and improve on those aspects where we struggled against Truman,” he said. “We’re going back to basics in teaching proper tackling techniques. Some kids watch the NFL and think they always have to go for the big hit, so we’re going back and teaching them the right way to do things. Overbrook looks like a good team, but we don’t think it will be as lopsided as it was last week.”
Neshaminy 33, Northeast 0
For a young team like Northeast that graduated most of its key contributors from last year’s team that finished 7-5 and made the playoffs, opening the season against the sixth-ranked team in the state was quite a tall order.
And while the Vikings didn’t get on the scoreboard in the 33-0 defeat, first-year head coach Phil Gormley certainly saw some positive signs from his young bunch.
“I’m mostly happy that they didn’t quit out there, playing a team that big and that good,” Gormley said. “That being said, we handed them two touchdowns on two early turnovers deep in our own end. We’re a very young team that’s going to make some mistakes, and against a team like Neshaminy, you just can’t afford to do so.”
Gormley described as team as “upbeat” when they arrived Saturday morning to watch film. After two days off for the Labor Day holiday, he has them back on the field preparing for another very tough suburban opponent in Council Rock North.
So why does a first-year head coach that’s inherited such a young team schedule such relentlessly difficult non-league opponents? It’s simple, according to Gormley.
“The good thing about being such a young team is that their memories are short,” he said. “The schedule is so tough because we want to be able to clearly identify our mistakes against a team of Neshaminy’s caliber. In addition to the turnovers, we had a few dropped touchdowns in the end zone, so if we focus on cleaning those up, we’ll feel a lot better about our chances against a team of Council Rock North’s caliber. If we limit our mistakes, tackle and run the ball, I think we have a chance.”