Northeast Times

2014 High School Football Preview: Gridiron Guide

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF METRO IM­AGES

BI­CEN­TEN­NAL/

IN­DE­PEND­EN­CE

2013 Stand­ings

Bi­cen­ten­ni­al Ath­let­ic League

Team  League  Over­all

New Hope-Sole­bury  6-0  8-4

Bris­tol  5-1  10-2

Delaware Chris­ti­an  4-2  8-3

Lower Mo­re­land  3-3  6-5

Jen­k­in­town  2-4  3-6

Cal­vary Chris­ti­an  1-5  1-6

Mor­ris­ville  0-6  1-10

In­de­pend­en­ce League

Team  League  Over­all

Bris­tol  4-0  10-2

Lower Mo­re­land  3-1  6-5

Academy New Church  2-2  5-4

Pen­ning­ton School  1-3  2-7

Mor­ris­ville  0-4  1-10

Note: Pen­ning­ton School, N.J. left the In­de­pend­en­ce League after the 2013 sea­son.

Bi­cen-In­de­pend­en­ce 11

RB Donte Sim­mons    Bris­tol

WR/DB Kyle Slivka-Fral­in    Bris­tol

OL/DL Robert Jones    Bris­tol

QB Josh Reichen­bach    Cal­vary Chris­ti­an

WR Sam Heath    Cal­vary Chris­ti­an

LB/DB Alex Lin­ton    Delco Chris­ti­an

Fb/LB Franco Man­nino    New Hope-Sole­bury

DT/OL Jake Clair    Lower Mo­re­land

OL/DL El­li­ott Bense    Jen­k­in­town

RB/LB Shane Mc­Curdy    Academy New Church

OL/DL Ant­o­nio Na­kos    Academy New Church

Scout­ing Re­port

Bris­tol is the fa­vor­ite to win both the Bi­cen­ten­ni­al and In­de­pend­en­ce leagues. War­ri­ors RB/DB Donte Sim­mons (5-8, 175, Sr.) is the most dy­nam­ic play­er among these PI­AA AA and A teams. He has rushed for more than 4,000 yards in his first three sea­sons. Bris­tol steps up to AA play­off com­pet­i­tion this sea­son after win­ning the PI­AA Dis­trict 1/12 Sub­re­gion­al A cham­pi­on­ships in 2012 and 2013. A re­match with former BAL rival Spring­field Town­ship in the AA play­offs is pos­sible. New Hope-Sole­bury, which up­set Bris­tol dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son to win the Bi­cen cham­pi­on­ship, and Delaware County Chris­ti­an have con­tin­ued to im­prove and will mount a stiff chal­lenge to the War­ri­ors in the BAL. Lower Mo­re­land and Cal­vary Chris­ti­an are also in the mix. Both have de­railed the ath­letes and fire­power of Bris­tol be­fore. “I just think it’s a bet­ter league than it used to be,” says Bris­tol head coach Leo Plenski, who has both played and coached against league rivals. Val­ley Forge Mil­it­ary Academy joins the BAL this sea­son. Some­what of a hid­den team, Academy of the New Church has the vet­er­ans and fire­power to push Bris­tol for an In­de­pend­en­ce League cham­pi­on­ship.

Around the Bi­cen­ten­ni­al/

In­de­pend­en­ce

Sim­mons, WR/DB Kyle Slivka-Fral­in (5-10, 165, Sr.), OL/DL Robert Jones (6-3, 255, Sr.), QB R. J. Collins (5-11, 210, Jr.), WR Aiden Cough­lin (5-10, 185, Sr.), Slot­back Phil Krause (5-8, 165, Sr.) and SS Isai­ah Car­roll (6-0, 200, Sr.) re­turn for Bris­tol. Plenski ex­pects fresh­man WR Cam­ir Bris­bon (6-0, 195) to emerge as a play­maker in an of­fense dom­in­ated by vet­er­ans where 10 of 11 starters have game ex­per­i­en­ce. Collins answered the call dur­ing the 2013 play­offs when start­ing QB Tre­vor Le­one was in­jured. Sim­mons has drawn re­cruit­ing in­terest from Stoney Brook and Delaware. “The more we can spread out the de­fenses the more op­por­tun­it­ies for Donte and our oth­er play­makers,” says Plenski. The War­ri­ors have a po­tent of­fense but their de­fense is un­tested. “Many more play­ers will have to play both ways,” says Plenski. “That’s something we have been for­tu­nate not hav­ing to do the last two sea­sons.”

Delaware County Chris­ti­an head coach Drew Pear­son says the of­fens­ive and de­fens­ive lines are the strength of the Knights, who in­tend to once again chal­lenge Bris­tol and stay in the PI­AA A play­off mix. DCC lost to Bris­tol in the PI­AA Dis­trict 1/12 A Sub­re­gion­al cham­pi­on­ship game last sea­son. “Our kids have bought in,” says Pear­son. “We’re not sat­is­fied.” First-year start­ing QB Ster­ling Wil­li­ams (5-11, 175, Sr.) and re­turn­ing RB Seth El­lis (5-9, 185, Sr.) need to re­cov­er  what Pear­son called “90 per­cent of pro­duc­tion” that de­par­ted when starters gradu­ated. LB/DB Alex Lin­ton (5-11, 210, Sr.) is a lead­er on de­fense. OL/DL Kyle Win­ters (5-11, 265, Jr.) and D. J. Lan­etti (6-1, 235, Sr.) are main­stays on the line of scrim­mage.

They are un­der­class­men but C/DT Matt Fest (6-2, 245, Soph.), FB/LB Franco Man­nino (5-9, 175, Jr.) and FB/LB Tommy Capri­otti (5-10, 180, Jr.) re­turn after play­ing im­port­ant roles for New Hope-Sole­bury, dur­ing its BAL cham­pi­on­ship sea­son in 2013. NH-S also qual­i­fied for the PI­AA Dis­trict 1/12 play­offs but lost to West Cath­ol­ic. Man­nino had  62 tackles and Capri­otti had 33 tackles last sea­son. First-year starter RB/LB Brendan Shadle (5-9, 170, Soph.) re­places RB/FS Danny Free­man, who trans­ferred to Arch­bish­op Wood, as the work­horse on of­fense. Blake Hildebrandt (5-10, 155, Jr.) and Nick Gar­rit­ano (6-2, 160, Fr.) are in the mix at QB. Lions head coach Jim DiT­ulio says there’s sta­bil­ity on the line of scrim­mage and the skill po­s­i­tion play­ers must re­spond. “Los­ing 13 seni­ors hurts,” says DiT­ulio. “Al­though we will be very young, I do not think we are re­build­ing.”

DB/RB Matt Galla­gh­er (5-9, 170, Jr.), LB/FB John Chung (5-9, 185, Sr.), DT/OL Jake Clair (5-9, 185, Sr.), LB/WR Joe Ni­hill (6-2, 190, Sr.) and QB Matt Ab­ram­son (5-9, 145, Sr.) are the top re­turn­ing play­ers for Lower Mo­re­land. Galla­gh­er is the top play­maker for the Lions who need to de­vel­op more play­makers and an OL. “Our chal­lenge is dif­fi­cult,” says head coach Mark Mayson.

The pass-catch combo of QB/DB Josh Reichen­bach (6-2, 185, Jr.) and WR/DB Sam Heath (6-1, 180, Sr.) re­turns for Cal­vary Chris­ti­an. LB/Wing Back Doug Med­vic (6-0, 180, Sr.) and DE/OT Zach Nester (6-3, 265, Jr.) re­turn after lead­ing the Cou­gars in tackles last sea­son. Reichen­bach, son of head coach and former Phil­ad­elphia Eagle Mike Reichen­bach, com­pleted 44 of 77 pass at­tempts for 684 yards and sev­en TDs last sea­son. After back-to-back PI­AA Dis­trict 1/12 A Sub­re­gion­al cham­pi­on­ships in 2009 and 2010, CC didn’t field a team in 2012 but re­turned last sea­son. “We lack size and depth and ex­per­i­en­ce on both sides of the ball,” says Mike Reichen­bach. “We will have about 20 play­ers.”

QB/LB Jam­ie Griffin (5-10, 185, Sr.), OL/DL El­li­ott Bense (5-9, 200, Sr.), OL/DL John Bal­len­tine (5-11, 215, Sr.) and RB/DB Ju­li­an Gold­hill (5-6, 155, Sr.) re­turn for Jen­k­in­town. Drakes head coach An­thony Owens says the Drakes’ strengths are QB and de­fens­ive sec­ond­ary. “We are a young team that was able to gain valu­able ex­per­i­en­ce last year,” says Owens.

De­r­ick Sav­age re­places Bill Quill as head coach of Mor­ris­ville. RB/LB Justin Young-Hey­ward (6-0, 195, Sr.), OL/LB Nath­an Vin­cent (5-10, 260, Sr.), OL/DL Jon Cosme (6-0, 225, Sr.) and RB/WR/DB Donovan O’Bri­en (5-10, 180, Jr.) are the nuc­le­us for the Bull­dogs. There’s play­makers but the OL and DL need depth after the first six play­ers. “I’m ex­cited to see how they all share the ball,” says Sav­age. “With the re­cent struggles to even field a team, we are more con­cerned with mak­ing it through the sea­son.”

The trans­ition from a team that once played post-gradu­ate play­ers to a PI­AA team con­tin­ues this sea­son when Val­ley Forge Mil­it­ary Academy, which didn’t win a game play­ing as an in­de­pend­ent in its first sea­son as a PI­AA mem­ber in 2013, joins the BAL. Top play­ers for the Tro­jans are RB/FS Bron­son Sz­a­l­lar (5-9, 175, Sr.), WR/DB Dari­us Daniels (5-9, 165, Sr.), LB/RB Aud­ley Isaacs (5-10, 180, Soph.) and OL/DL Chris­toph­er Byrd (5-8, 265, Soph.). With a strong group of skill po­s­i­tion play­ers gain­ing varsity ex­per­i­en­ce, head coach Paul Noon ex­pects the wins to start com­ing. “We will be com­pet­it­ive in our in­aug­ur­al sea­son in the BAL,” says Noon.

Academy of the New Church only com­petes against Bris­tol, Lower Mo­re­land and Bris­tol for an In­de­pend­en­ce League cham­pi­on­ship. Pen­ning­ton School (N.J.) left the league after last sea­son. Head coach Ty Klip­pen­stein ex­pects the Lions, which are not a PI­AA team, to chal­lenge Bris­tol for the league cham­pi­on­ship. RB/LB Shane Mc­Curdy (6-0, 200, Sr.) and OL/DL Ant­o­nio Na­kos (6-3, 270, Sr.) are four-year starters. QB Char­ley Coyle (5-8, 160, Jr.), WR/DE Car­nel Har­ley (6-6, 200, Sr.) and RB/LB An­thony Weizer (5-8, 185, Sr.) are re­turn­ing starters. Mc­Curdy is the work­horse on of­fense and Har­ley is the stop­per on de­fense. There are nine starters re­turn­ing on of­fense and de­fense. “We have high ex­pect­a­tions this year,” says Klip­pen­stein. “We’re as tal­en­ted as we’ve been in a long time. We have a host of re­turn­ing starters, some great ath­letes at the skill po­s­i­tions, and even some depth.”

PHIL­AD­ELPHIA

CATH­OL­IC LEAGUE

2013 Stand­ings AAAA Di­vi­sion

Team  League  Over­all

St. Joseph’s Prep  3-1  12-3

La Salle  3-1  8-3

Fath­er Judge  2-2  7-4

Ro­man Cath­ol­ic  1-3  4-7

Arch­bish­op Ry­an  1-3  8-3

AAA Di­vi­sion

Arch­bish­op Wood  3-0  13-2

Car­din­al O’Hara  2-1  4-6

Bon­ner-Pren­der­gast  1-2  3-8

Lans­dale Cath­ol­ic  0-3  6-4

AA Di­vi­sion

West Cath­ol­ic  4-0  9-3

Neu­mann-Gor­etti  3-1  6-5

Arch­bish­op Car­roll  2-2  3-6

Bish­op McDe­vitt  1-3  2-7

Con­well-Egan  0-4  3-7

Cath­ol­ic League 11

OL Ry­an Bates    Arch­bish­op Wood

LB Jake Cooper    Arch­bish­op Wood

QB An­t­wain Mc­Col­lum    West Cath­ol­ic

DB/WR John Re­id    St. Joseph’s Prep

RB/DB Ol­am­ide Za­c­cheaus    St. Joseph’s Prep

OL/DL Jon Daniel Run­yan    St. Joseph’s Prep

RB/DB/WR D’An­dre Swift    St. Joseph’s Prep

QB Kyle Shur­mur    La Salle

WR/DB Jimmy Her­ron    La Salle

RB De­metri Kelly    Ro­man Cath­ol­ic

RB Samir Bul­lock    Arch­bish­op Ry­an

Scout­ing Re­port

De­fend­ing PI­AA state cham­pi­ons St. Joseph’s Prep (AAAA) and Arch­bish­op Wood (AAA) along with West Cath­ol­ic in AA are clear fa­vor­ites to win their Di­vi­sions in the reg­u­lar sea­son and the play­offs. All three are ma­jor con­tenders for state cham­pi­on­ships. Rated as the top ma­jor col­lege foot­ball re­cruit in South­east Pennsylvania, The Prep’s John Re­id is one the most dy­nam­ic play­makers on both of­fense as a WR and de­fense as a DB in PA. Wood has its play­makers as well on both sides of the ball. Con­sidered a top ma­jor col­lege foot­ball re­cruit along­side of Re­id, the Vik­ings’ power­ful OL Ry­an Bates, who’s headed to Penn State on a schol­ar­ship, em­bod­ies Wood’s abil­ity to man­handle and crush op­pon­ents week-in and week-out.  West Cath­ol­ic simply has more ath­letes than its AA rivals, led by QB An­t­wain Mc­Col­lum, a three-year starter who has passed for nearly 3,000 yards. The Burrs have won a di­vi­sion cham­pi­on­ship eight straight years. The Cath­ol­ic League re­aligned this sea­son. Arch­bish­op Ry­an and Arch­bish­op Car­roll join the AAA Di­vi­sion. Lans­dale Cath­ol­ic moves from the AAA Di­vi­sion to AA. And Bish­op McDe­vitt has dropped from PI­AA class AA to A, which sets up the pos­sib­il­ity that the Cath­ol­ic League could sweep all four PI­AA state cham­pi­on­ships this year. Not that the Cath­ol­ic League would need to sweep the state cham­pi­on­ships in Her­shey to prove what has already been es­tab­lished (move aside WPI­AL)—that it is the top high school foot­ball league in PA.

Around the

Cath­ol­ic League

AAAA

One Sub­urb­an One League coach said that St. Joe’s Prep has more fast and tal­en­ted play­makers at wide re­ceiv­er than the en­tire Sub­urb­an One League has com­bined. That’s how stocked the Hawks are as they de­fend their state cham­pi­on­ship. Re­id, RB/DB Ol­am­ide Za­c­cheaus (5-9, 185, Sr.), WR/DB D’An­dre Swift (5-8, 195, Soph.) and WR Justin Montague (5-11, 170, Sr.) re­turn. The Hawks are stocked with vet­er­ans on the line of scrim­mage. OL/DL Jon Daniel Run­yan (6-4, 280, Sr.), a Michigan re­cruit, OL/DL Shane Dav­is (6-4, 305, Sr.), OL Ed Mooney (6-1, 250, Sr.) and OL Mark Ehr­lich (6-1, 235, Sr.) re­turn. DL/OL Jake Strain (6-3, 255, Sr.) is the lead­er on de­fense. At QB, Jake Cle­m­ents (6-4, 185, Sr.) and Kev­in Show (5-11, 160, Jr.) are in the mix. As a backup QB last sea­son, Cle­m­ents de­served some of the cred­it for the state cham­pi­on­ship when he stepped in for an in­jured Chris Mar­tin and guided the Hawks to a nar­row but com­fort­able 10-7 win over Frank­ford in the PI­AA Dis­trict 12 cham­pi­on­ship game. They con­tin­ue to stock­pile tal­ent as they ex­pect a blue-chip trans­fer from head coach Gabe In­fante’s pri­or team Para­mus Cath­ol­ic (N.J.). Iron­ic­ally, Para­mus Cath­ol­ic has won back-to-back state cham­pi­on­ships. Just a sopho­more, The Prep coach­ing staff ex­pects Swift to emerge as a dy­nam­ic play­maker. Win­ning the state title last sea­son may have come soon­er than first an­ti­cip­ated by The Prep staff. 2014 was ini­tially the tar­get. “We wer­en’t stunned,” says as­sist­ant coach Bill Mor­ris. “We have tal­ent and you win with tal­ent. We had some hic­cups that ac­tu­ally helped us. Our play­ers need to un­der­stand that we now are the hunted.” Still, Mor­ris warns, the Hawks could start the sea­son win­less in their first four games. A de­mand­ing sched­ule to say the least, they open with Mount Car­mel in Chica­go, Don Bosco Prep, St Ig­na­tius in Ohio and at St. Joseph Re­gion­al (N.J.).

If the tar­get has shif­ted back to The Prep, that’s a wel­come change for La Salle, which had been the dom­in­ant AAAA team in SE PA since the Cath­ol­ic League joined the PI­AA in 2008. Not that La Salle is tak­ing a back seat to any team. The La Salle-SJP rivalry con­tin­ues to evolve in­to a tug-of-war of Gi­ants. La Salle QB Kyle Shur­mur (6-4, 215, Sr.) chose the Ex­plorers over the Hawks after he came to Phil­ad­elphia from Ohio when his fath­er joined the staff of the Eagles. For the Prep, then Sr. QB Chris Mar­tin put the “what ifs” to rest with a clutch play­off per­form­ance last Decem­ber. “(The rivalry) has been the last 10-15 years,” says La Salle coach Drew Gor­don. “Gil Brooks (SJP coach pri­or to In­fante) took them to a much, much high­er level. It took (In­fante) a year or two to get everything in place.” Game on. Join­ing the fray is former Ne­sham­iny head coach Mark Schmidt, who is now an as­sist­ant coach for La Salle work­ing with the OL and TE. The smooth, strong-armed pock­et pass­er Shur­mur gives the Ex­plorers a chance against the Prep. The Vander­bilt re­cruit passed for 2,472 yards and 25 TDs last sea­son. The Ex­plorers have two of the best play­makers on both sides of the ball in WR/DB Jimmy Her­ron (6-1, 185, Sr.) and RB/DB Jordan Meachum (5-10, 190, Sr.). Her­ron has 1,402 yards re­ceiv­ing the past two sea­sons. LB/SS Ry­an Brady (6-1, 190, Sr.), WR Charles Headon (5-9, 175, Jr.), TE Chuck Hench­er (6-3, 190, Sr.) and LB Aiden Ker­rigan (6-0, 215, Sr.) are im­port­ant play­ers for the Ex­plorers. Gor­don warns of a lack of size and depth. But La Salle’s set of play­makers are a tough cov­er for op­pon­ents.

The tim­ing isn’t what Ro­man Cath­ol­ic head coach Joe Mc­Court would hope for. The Cahil­lites are stacked with enough tal­ent to win a league cham­pi­on­ship any­where but in Phil­ad­elphia. “Any oth­er year,” says Mc­Court. “I really like our team.” So do oth­ers. “Ro­man is dan­ger­ous,” says The Prep’s as­sist­ant coach Bill Mor­ris. The cen­ter­pieces are RB/DB Di­metri Kelly (6-0, 190, Sr.), OL/DL Gav­in Wig­gins (6-3, 250, Sr.), WR/DB A. J. Fra­zi­er (6-0, 175, Sr.), RB/DB/KR John Chaney III (5-10, 180, Sr.) and OL/DL Manny Taylor (6-6, 280, Sr.). QB Tre Smith (6-1, 170, Sr.) is a first-year starter with a lot weapons to work with. “Gav­in is one of the best line­man we’ve ever had here at Ro­man,” says Mc­Court. “Our of­fens­ive line has the po­ten­tial to be the best its been here. We have tons of play­makers on the field. We are go­ing to be a tough out for any­body.” Kelly has rushed for 2,449 yards the last two sea­sons. Wig­gins has a schol­ar­ship of­fer from Young­stown State. After his sud­den emer­gence at re­cruit­ing com­bines and foot­ball camps, Taylor has com­mit­ted to Rut­gers.

Fath­er Judge is fight­ing to keep pace with the stacked AAAA field. RB/SS Yeedee Thain­rat (5-10, 185, Jr.) is a ver­sat­ile, dy­nam­ic play­maker on both sides of the ball that has the tools to keep the Cru­saders in play. He rushed for 1,051 yards and scored nine TDs, had 94 tackles and three in­ter­cep­tions. OL Dan Sipps (6-0, 240, Sr.) is a three-year starter. DE Joel Ageydu (6-1, 215, Sr.) and QB Zach Car­roll (6-2, 210, Sr.) also re­turn. Car­roll passed for 794 yards and four TDs last sea­son. Head coach Mike McKay says the Cru­saders’ strength is team speed and vet­er­an skill po­s­i­tion play­ers. He’s con­cerned with un­tested de­fens­ive line­men and line­back­ers.

AAA

With a lineup that’s an­nu­ally loaded with Di­vi­sion 1 re­cruits, Arch­bish­op Wood looks like a AAAA state power. Their 18 re­turn­ing starters are reas­on enough that they are fa­vor­ites to suc­cess­fully de­fend their AAA state cham­pi­on­ship. Rated the top OL re­cruit in SE PA, Bates is headed to Penn State along with LB Jake Cooper (6-3, 230, Sr.). RB Jar­rett Mc­Cle­nton (5-8, 170, Sr.) is a Vil­lan­ova com­mit. He rushed for 1,705 yards last sea­son. LB/WR Justin Ru­bin (6-2, 210, Sr.) has drawn schol­ar­ship of­fers from La­fay­ette, Cent­ral Con­necti­c­ut and Bry­ant. DE/TE Chris­ti­an Lo­hin (6-3, 235, Sr.) has of­fers from Buck­nell, La­fay­ette, Byrant, Al­bany and Cent­ral Con­necti­c­ut. Only a sopho­more, WR/DB Mark Webb (6-4, 180) already has a Temple schol­ar­ship of­fer on the table. DT/FB Devon Cobb (6-0, 235, Sr.), DB Gi­anni Cruel (5-10, 165, Jr.) and DL/TE/FB Nafeez Brown-Carter (6-2, 220, Sr.) also re­turn. The Vik­ings are big, strong, fast and very well-coached. Team speed is a strength, says head coach Steve Devlin. They at­tack op­pon­ents in every way pos­sible and on both sides of the ball. QB Tom Gar­lick (6-4, 180, Jr.), who passed for 1,329 yards last sea­son, is a three-year starter. “We have a lot of ex­per­i­en­ce com­ing back from a state cham­pi­on­ship team,” says Devlin. “I would like to think we can make an­oth­er run.”

Arch­bish­op Ry­an drops from AAAA to AAA this sea­son to provide a ser­i­ous chal­lenge to Wood’s dom­in­a­tion. RB/DB Samir Bul­lock (5-8, 175, Sr.), one of the top run­ning backs in SE PA who has rushed for 3,141 yards the past two sea­sons and has of­fers from a slew of FCS teams, FB/LB Bobby McDe­vitt (5-11, 215, Sr.), DE Dylan Dop­kin (5-10, 190, Jr.) and LB Jason Wahger (5-10, 180, Jr.) re­turn. Matt Ro­mano (5-11, 175, Soph.) is a first-year starter at QB. Raid­ers head coach Frank McArdle says there’s plenty of fire­power at the skill po­s­i­tions but the of­fens­ive line is un­tested.

Arch­bish­op Car­roll moves up in class from AA to AAA. QB/LB Sean Mc­Mor­ran (6-0, 185, Sr.), LB/TE Harry Rol­hf­ing (6-0, 180, Jr.), WR/DB Chris­ti­an Ritter (5-11, 170, Sr.) and FB/LB Brandon Pear­son (5-11, 205, Sr.) are the top play­ers for the Pat­ri­ots, who fig­ure to feel the pinch of only three re­turn­ing starters. “We are con­fid­ent that we will com­pete this year at a high­er level,” says head coach Joe Pow­el. “But win­ning will be dif­fi­cult with such a young team and lack of size in the 3A Di­vi­sion.”

Foot­ball doesn’t seem all that im­port­ant after the sud­den tra­gic death of Car­din­al O’Hara head coach Danny Al­geo on Ju­ly 3. But the Lions will con­tin­ue to move for­ward with their coach forever in their hearts. “I’m in my 27th year coach­ing and I have nev­er seen a team go through what they’re go­ing through,” says in­ter­im head coach Paul Strus, who was an as­sist­ant coach to Al­geo. “It’s a very emo­tion­al time for the kids. We’re not los­ing sight that he’s their real coach.” A de­fens­ive lead­er last sea­son, Brandon Lough­lin (6-1, 210, Sr.), broth­er of former O’Hara QB Ry­an (2009-2010) who plays at Holy Cross, is a first-year starter at QB. The Lions gain a dy­nam­ic speedy play­maker with the ad­di­tion of In­ter­boro trans­fer WR/DB Mark Ever­ton (6-0, 200, Sr.), who had 1,142 re­ceiv­ing yards the last two sea­sons. WR/S Donovan Pierce (5-10, 170, Jr.) is a lead­er on de­fense. TB Max Fer­guson (5-10, 170, Sr.) and OL An­drew Galla­gh­er (6-1, 255, Sr.), a three-year starter, re­turn. Strus ex­pects LB An­thony Amor­oso (5-11, 200, Jr) to emerge as a play­maker and an­oth­er trans­fer, OL/DL Tim Aikens (6-3, 290, Sr.), from Haver­ford School, to make an im­pact. OL is one of the Lions’ strengths.

Vet­er­an QB Colin DiG­albo (6-3, 195, Sr.), a three-year starter, is the cen­ter­piece for the Bon­ner-Pen­d­er­gast at­tack. He has 2,810 yards passing the past two sea­sons. TE Tyler Hig­gins (6-4, 235, Sr.), WR/TB Aaron Mc­Castle (5-9, 170, Sr.), WR Joe Oquindo (6-3, 185, Sr.), LB Tommy Beck­er (5-11, 200, Jr.), OL/DL Chris­ti­an DiG­albo, Colin’s twin broth­er, and OL/DL Lou “Lump” Lom­bardo (6-4, 260, Jr.) re­turn for the Fri­ars. Jr. T. J. Snyder (5-9, 200) is in the mix at TB with Mc­Castle. Fri­ars head coach Greg “Bubba” Bernhardt says DiG­albo and Hig­gins are draw­ing in­terest from FCS re­cruit­ers. “It all starts with Colin,” says Bernhardt. “Of­fens­ively we should be pretty good. We’re a lot faster than we’ve been. I think this is a spe­cial group with chem­istry. Wood doesn’t have a lot of guys go­ing both ways like we do.”

AA

West Cath­ol­ic has dom­in­ated AA, win­ning eight straight Di­vi­sion cham­pi­on­ships. The Burrs also won four straight PI­AA Dis­trict 12 AA cham­pi­on­ships be­fore los­ing the cham­pi­on­ship game to Im­hotep the last two sea­sons. Im­hotep’s move to AAA this sea­son paves the way for the Burrs to make a state play­off run once again. QB An­t­wain Mc­Col­lum (6-0, 170, Sr.), WR/DB Ahkil Crump­ton (5-9, 160, Sr.), OL/DL Ty­mir Oliv­er (6-4, 265, Jr.) and LB/WR Neil Sat­ter­white (6-0, 195, Sr.) re­turn. Mc­Col­lum has passed for 2,890 yards in his ca­reer. “We have very good skills play­ers with varsity game ex­per­i­en­ce,” says head coach Bri­an Fluck. He is con­cerned with the depth on the line of scrim­mage des­pite call­ing the line­men “a good group in the first six or sev­en play­ers.”

Lans­dale Cath­ol­ic moves to AA from AAA chal­lenged to find re­place­ments for a large group of line­men who gradu­ated from the 2013 team. QB Joe Pin­zka (6-1, 190, Sr.), LB/OL An­drew Mc­Clin­tock (6-0, 220, Sr.), OL/DL Chris Snis­cak (6-2, 235, Sr.) and RB/DB Ry­an Quigley (5-11, 175, Jr.) are the top play­ers for the Cru­saders. Head coach Tom Kirk says the Cru­saders’ strength is an ar­ray of play­makers. The step down in class might be give the Cru­saders an edge but Kirk warns, “In our league, every team seems to re­load each year.”

Neu­mann Gor­etti ad­vanced to the AA cham­pi­on­ship game last sea­son and the Saints in­tend to make it back this sea­son. QB Ray Len­hart (6-0, 175, Sr.), a three year starter who has passed for 2,374 yards the last two sea­sons, RB/DB Kah­lil Roane (5-10, 185, Jr.), LB Mike Di­Francesco (6-1, 220, Sr.) and OL Joe D’Emilio (6-5, 300, Sr.) re­turn. Like many AA teams in Phil­ad­elphia, the Saints have speedy play­makers in skill po­s­i­tions but lack depth, es­pe­cially on the line of scrim­mage. Char­ley Szydlik re­places his son C.J. Szydlik as head coach.

Con­well Egan head coach Jack Techt­mann ex­pects the Eagles to have a po­tent passing at­tack and be a hand­ful on the line of scrim­mage. QB Mike Al­ley (6-4, 210, Jr.) re­turns after passing for 626 yards last sea­son. TB/LB Joe Rug­gerio (5-11, 185, Sr.), LB/TE Wy­ett McLeod (6-0, 220, Sr.), OL/DL Sam Cooper (6-2, 260, Sr.), FB/SS An­drew Liner (5-10, 190, Sr.), DL Keen­an Baines (6-3, 280, Sr.) and WR/DE Jordan Bur­ney (6-1, 190, Jr.) re­turn.

With only three seni­ors, Bish­op McDe­vitt leans on multi-task­ing RB/Slot/WR/LB/DB Steph­en Leach (5-7, 150, Sr.) as its play­maker on both sides of the ball. QB Max Bryson (5-11, 175, Soph.) re­turns after mov­ing to starter near the end of the 2013 sea­son. TB Vince Deleo (5-11, 180, Jr.) and PK Brandon Han­nigan (5-10, 170, Sr.) re­turn. Head coach Pat Man­zi says the Lan­cers have tal­ent but new starters have to gain their foot­ing quickly. After a long tra­di­tion of do­ing battle with heavy­weight AAA and AA Cath­ol­ic teams, Man­zi says the Lan­cers have a PI­AA State Class A play­off run in their sights.

CENT­RAL LEAGUE

2013 Stand­ings

Team  League  Over­all

Gar­net Val­ley  9-0  11-1

Haver­ford  7-2  8-3

Up­per Darby  7-2  8-4

Pen­ncrest  6-3  7-3

Con­es­toga  5-4  6-4

Rid­ley  5-4  6-5

Spring­field Delco  5-4  6-5

Marple-New­town  3-6  3-7

Strath Haven  3-6  4-6

Har­ri­ton  2-7  2-8

Rad­nor  2-7  3-8

Lower Merion  0-9  0-10

Cent­ral 11

OL Jo­nah Jack­son    Pen­ncrest

QB Dan Fish­er    Pen­ncrest

OL Ted Field    Gar­net Val­ley

DL Joe Gra­na­han    Gar­net Val­ley

LB Con­nor Faith    Gar­net Val­ley

LB Adam Kraut­er    Spring­field

WR Mar­tin Dorsey    Con­es­toga

LB Ed­die Jean    Con­es­toga

OL/DL Aex An­der­son    Rad­nor

OT/DT Justin Fre­mont    Strath Haven

RB Ad­ri­an Sapnas    Marple-New­town

Scout­ing Re­port

The track re­cord of Gar­net Val­ley in the Cent­ral League points to the Jag­uars as per­en­ni­al fa­vor­ites. Since it joined the league in 2008, GV has won four of the six cham­pi­on­ships; has won 48 of 54 league games. Hard to ar­gue with that re­cord. But Haver­ford will. The Fords have fin­ished second in the league the past two sea­sons and their head coach Joe Galla­gh­er says it’s about time to fin­ish their climb to the top. There’s no blue-chip re­cruits but Haver­ford has a lot of tal­en­ted, sol­id, de­term­in­ed and coached-up foot­ball play­ers. “We’ve been knock­ing,” he says. “Our goal is not to fin­ish second.” There is sure to be a lot of traffic along the way. GV has a le­gion of play­ers (117) from which to pick to re­place 47 seni­ors who gradu­ated from the 2013 team. And the Jags’ re­turn­ing cast is seasoned and tal­en­ted. Pen­ncrest is sure to be in the mix with Rut­gers OL re­cruit Jo­nah Jack­son and vet­er­an QB Dan Fish­er. Up­per Darby aims to ride its mo­mentum from last sea­son. Rid­ley can’t be dis­missed. The Green Raid­ers have a state-re­cord 58 con­sec­ut­ive non-los­ing sea­sons. “The Cent­ral League is the strongest it’s even been,” says Con­es­toga head coach John Vogan.

Around the Cent­ral

Galla­gh­er be­lieves Haver­ford has the clutch play­maker at QB in Jack Don­aghy (5-10, 170, Jr.), a two-year starter who didn’t pile up yards last sea­son, just wins. “He’s an ath­lete and a lead­er,” says Galla­gh­er, who al­ways re­calls Don­aghy an­swer­ing the call as a fresh­man when he was pressed in­to duty dur­ing a play­off game be­cause starter Ed­die Dur­kin was lost to an in­jury. Don­aghy is the point guard on the bas­ket­ball team that qual­i­fied for the PI­AA state tour­na­ment last sea­son. TE Sam Ro­man­of­sky (6-1, 200, Sr.), OL Bri­an Ross (6-3, 300, Sr.) and LB Mike Chi­cano (6-2, 210, Sr.) re­turn. Galla­gh­er ex­pects speedy WR Nick Cos­tello (6-4, 190, Sr.), who he calls an “un­der­cov­er sur­prise,” Slot­back John Kim (5-10, 175, Sr.) and trans­fers TB Ashton Smith (6-0 185, Jr.) from Up­per Darby and DE/RB Kareem Bern­ard (6-1, 210, Soph.) from Penn Wood to emerge as im­pact play­makers for the Fords. Re­cent Haver­ford tal­ents Dur­kin, Kev­in Lay­den and Kai Thornton have all gradu­ated but Galla­gh­er says the Fords aren’t go­ing away. “We don’t have that kind of tal­ent,” says Galla­gh­er. “You’ve got to have tal­ent and we’ve been blessed. But our kids are also mo­tiv­ated. We ex­pect to com­pete for the cham­pi­on­ship.”

There’s not a lot of re­turn­ing starters but those who do give Gar­net Val­ley a strong nuc­le­us on which to re­load. The biggest re­turn­ing starter is OL Ted Field (6-5, 325, Jr.). who already has com­mit­ted to play for Rut­gers after his seni­or sea­son in 2015. Field gave ser­i­ous con­sid­er­a­tion to trans­fer­ring to Car­din­al O’Hara but de­cided to stay with the Jag­uars. LB/S Con­nor Faith (5-8, 210, Sr.), a three-year starter, DE Joe Gra­na­han (6-3, 235, Sr.), C Shane Sta­b­in­ski (6-0, 260, Sr.), RB/WR/KR Zach Nel­son (5-10, 190, Sr.) and FS Jack Dig­gory (6-2, 185, Sr.) re­turn. How does GV re­main steady year-to-year? “We’re lucky,” says head coach Mike Ricci. “Our as­sist­ant coaches are really good teach­ers and our kids buy in.” Steve Flanagan (6-1, 190, Sr.) is a first-year starter at QB. “He runs the op­tion very well,” says Ricci. “Has a strong arm and is a re­spec­ted lead­er.” Ricci ex­pects the Jag­uars to be fast and ag­gress­ive on de­fense and stay with their tried and true for­mula for suc­cess on of­fense—strong line­men plow­ing un­der de­fenses for tal­en­ted run­ning backs.

Fish­er (6-2, 195, Sr.), Jack­son (6-4, 290, Sr.), OT Car­los Ruiz (6-2, 300, Sr.), C Sean Stitz (5-11, 170, Sr.), WR Bob Mc­Caf­fery (5-10, 165, Sr.), WR Zane Horn (6-2, 175, Jr.) and LB Diego Zu­bi­eta (5-11, 195, Sr.) are re­turn­ing starters for Pen­ncrest. Fish­er passed for 1,197 yards and 14 TDs last sea­son. Head coach Rick Stroup ex­pects the Lions to have a strong de­fense and for Fish­er to take care of the ball at QB. The Lions need a re­li­able run­ning back to emerge. Stroup says the Pen­ncrest lacrosse team which won the PI­AA state cham­pi­on­ship in June has set a cham­pi­on­ship tone for the foot­ball team. Some ath­letes play both lacrosse and foot­ball. “We have the tal­ent,” says Stoup. “It’s wheth­er we can stay healthy.”

After qual­i­fy­ing last sea­son for the PI­AA Dis­trict 1 AAAA play­offs for only the third time, Up­per Darby is en­er­gized to re­main in the league cham­pi­on­ship and post-sea­son mix. On pa­per, the for­mula for that is simple. “Last year was one of our most suc­cess­ful years,” says of­fens­ive co­or­din­at­or Eric Ruffen­ach. “If we can re­duce turnovers and play dis­cip­lined foot­ball we can turn our two Cent­ral League losses in­to wins and com­pete for a league title.” Easi­er said than done but OL/DL Scott Rucci (6-3, 260, Sr.), OL/DL Nataar Hende­r­son (6-5, 305, Sr.), RB Lawrence Bowden (5-8, 170, Sr.), C Madhat Fares (6-0, 240, Sr.) and FB/LB Chris Gam­bone (5-11, 215, Sr.) are the re­turn­ing starters to keep the Roy­als on a roll. Ruffen­bach and head coach Rich Gen­tile ex­pect S Ro­ciado Jen­nings (6-0, 175, Sr.) to emerge as a play­maker on de­fense. Chris­toff Minot (5-9, 160, Jr.) is a first-year starter at QB. Rucci is the neph­ew of former Penn State and NFL line­man Todd Rucci. Fares is a na­tion­al hon­or so­ci­ety stu­dent. After years of strug­gling, the Roy­als re­vamped and it clicked, re­cap­tur­ing a taste of their once-win­ning tra­di­tion. “The play­ers’ com­mit­ment, ac­count­ab­il­ity and know­ledge of the game played a role,” says Ruffen­bach. “We up­graded the num­ber of coaches on the staff. We got the play­ers to re­cog­nize that we were a dom­in­ant team at one time. Play­offs will be a goal every sea­son.” Hav­ing one of the best all-around QBs in UD foot­ball his­tory, Chris Rossiter, who gradu­ated after pro­du­cing 2,187 total yards and 25 TDs, helped a lot as well. An hon­or­able men­tion on the all-con­fer­en­ce team last sea­son, ath­lete Kev­in White was dis­missed from the team be­fore pre­sea­son camp.

For Rid­ley, strong play by the Quar­ter­back and the de­fense has been the tick­et to win­ning league cham­pi­on­ships and reach­ing the PI­AA Dis­trict 1 play­offs. The Green Raid­ers are break­ing in a new QB and a new de­fens­ive co­or­din­at­or this sea­son. Former Bish­op Sha­na­han as­sist­ant coach Jeff Han­son takes over the Rid­ley de­fense this sea­son. Un­der re­spec­ted vet­er­an DC Ral­ph Bat­tie, who re­tired after 36 years in coach­ing, the Raid­ers al­ways had an an­swer for op­pon­ents’ po­tent of­fenses. And they al­ways find a QB who can ex­ecute the passing at­tack. This sea­son Jake Hoff­man (5-9, 170, Sr.) and Tre Hinchey (5-11, 185, Sr.) are in the QB mix. A former Rid­ley QB, head coach Den­nis Deck­er says he’s look­ing for a QB who is con­sist­ent. WR Jasir Minor (5-9, 170, Sr.), WR Chris­ti­an Dunn (5-9, 175, Jr.), OL/DL Jesse Lesh­er (6-4, 310, Sr.), LB Ry­an Dougherty (5-11, 205, Sr.) and DL Ant­o­nio Be­t­ril (5-10, 210, Jr.) are re­turn­ing starters. Deck­er says the Raid­ers’ strength is their group of line­men and a lot of first-year seni­ors will be starters.

TE/LB Adam Kraut­er (6-1, 225, Sr.), QB/S Bri­an Al­len (6-1, 190, Sr.), WR/C Mike Fleagle (5-9, 165, Sr.) and WR/C James Har­ris (5-8, 160, Sr.) re­turn for Spring­field, who have eight starters re­turn­ing on de­fense and six starters re­turn­ing on of­fense. Chris Brit­ton, who re­places Tom Kline as head coach, says the Cou­gars will rely on the de­fense un­til the of­fense finds its iden­tity.

WR/FS Mar­tin Dorsey (6-4, 190, Sr.), FB/LB Ed­die Jean (6-3, 205, Sr.), C/DT Lenny Wat­son (6-1, 260, Sr.), FB/LB Matt Pres­tipino (6-0, 185, Sr.) and TE/LB Jack Mc­Clain (6-3, 200, Sr.) re­turn for Con­es­toga. Tim Miller (6-1, 170, Jr.), who was the starter last sea­son, and John Loctore (5-11, 170, Jr.) are in the mix at QB. Dorsey had 44 re­cep­tions for 559 yards and sev­en TDs last sea­son. Jean was in on 90 tackles last sea­son. Head coach John Vogan says the Pi­on­eers have a strong group of skill po­s­i­tion play­ers—both starters and im­port­ant sub­sti­tu­tes—re­turn­ing. And the need to find line­men is helped by re­turn­ing play­ers who saw play­ing time last sea­son. “It should not take them long to be­come a sol­id unit,” says Vogan.

For Strath Haven, the mar­gin between a suc­cess­ful sea­son and a los­ing one grows tight­er every year. “We have 12-13 pretty good play­ers,” says Pan­thers head coach Kev­in Clancy. “They play both ways. The drop off from 12 to 14 is our prob­lem. The weak­ness is depth. We can­not af­ford in­jur­ies to top play­ers.” A strong nuc­le­us of re­turn­ing play­ers aim to re­bound from rare back-to-back los­ing sea­sons for Strath Haven, the per­en­ni­al Cent­ral League cham­pi­on and state power­house in the 1990s. QB/HB/DB Alex Brat­sis (5-11, 180, Sr.), a ver­sat­ile play­maker who moves to QB, OT/DT Justin Fre­mont (6-3, 265, Sr.), WR/DB Paul Somaru (6-2, 170, Sr.), who runs a 40 in 4.55 seconds, and RB/DB Nick Mi­lone (5-10, 180, Sr.) re­turn.

Former Marple-New­town QB Chris Gick­ing re­places Ray Gionta as head coach for the Ti­gers. Gick­ing QBed M-N from 1993-1995 and passed for a Delaware County ca­reer re­cord 5,897 yards. RB/DB Ad­ri­an Sapnas (6-0, 175, Sr.), RB/DB Abel Hoff (5-9, 155, Jr.), RB/LB Ad­ri­el Maas (5-11, 165, Sr.) and WR/DB Lu­cas Maas (6-0, 175, Sr.) re­turn. There will be a learn­ing curve be­cause Gick­ing plans on in­tro­du­cing new of­fens­ive and de­fens­ive schemes.

OL/DL Alex An­der­son (6-2, 270, Sr.), RB Aaron Fuller (5-10, 170, Jr.), Slot­back/WR Alex Hin­eo (5-11, 175, Jr.) and LB John Lord (6-0, 210, Sr.) re­turn for Rad­nor. An­der­son is a three-year starter who has at­trac­ted Ivy and Pat­ri­ot league re­cruit­ers. Also re­turn­ing are Chris Layton (6-1, 180, Sr.) and Vin­nie Kelly (5-10, 170, Jr.) who split time at QB last sea­son. Red Raid­ers head coach Tom Ry­an ex­pects RB Aaron Fuller (5-10, 170, Jr.) to emerge as a play­maker. It’s a tough climb to get to .500 in the Cent­ral League for Rad­nor, Lower Merion and Har­ri­ton. “Play­ing against the big­ger schools puts us in a tough spot,” says Ry­an.

OL/DL Yue­jay Reeves (6-1, 250, Sr.), WR/DB Jaylen Glas­gow (5-9, 170, Sr.), TE/LB Mike Berg (6-1, 200, Jr.) and RB/DB Brandon Jones (5-9, 160, Jr.) re­turn for Lower Merion. Bri­an Scopel­liti re­places Dana Keith as head coach of the Aces, who be­gin the sea­son on a 20-game los­ing streak.

TE/LB Sam Sch­licht­ing (6-4, 240, Sr.), RB/DB Ed­die Byrd III I5-8, 150, Sr.), WR/DB Jordan O’Don­nell (5-9, 155, Sr.) and QB/DB Patrick Stew­art (5-11, 165, Jr.) re­turn for Har­ri­ton. The multi-threat Byrd rushed for 240 yards and caught eight passes for 76 yards last sea­son. Sch­licht­ing was in on 41 tackles. Head coach Justin Mel­lor says the Rams will rely on a lot of young, in­ex­per­i­en­ced play­ers.

CHES-MONT LEAGUE

2013 Stand­ings

Amer­ic­an Di­vi­sion

Team  League  Over­all

Rustin  6-0  10-1

Uni­on­ville  5-1  8-3

Great Val­ley  4-2  8-3

Ox­ford  3-3  7-4

Ken­nett  2-4  3-7

Oc­tor­ara  1-5  1-9

Sun Val­ley  0-6  2-10

Na­tion­al Di­vi­sion

Down­ing­town West  6-0  8-3

Coates­ville  5-1  9-2

Hende­r­son  4-2  7-5

Bish­op Sha­na­han  2-4  5-5

Down­ing­town East  2-4  4-6

West Chester East  2-4  6-5

Avon Grove  0-6  1-10

Ches-Mont 11

RB Terry Loper    Rustin

QB Alex Pechin    Uni­on­ville

DL Ry­an Buch­holz    Great Val­ley

QB Jon Jon Roberts    West Chester East

WR Cary An­geline    Down­ing­town East

OL Bry­an White    Hende­r­son

OT/DT Doug Costin    Bish­op Sha­na­han

WR Ry­an Hub­ley    Ox­ford

WR Jay Stock­er    Coates­ville

DB Ah­keema Evans    Coates­ville

TE Amir Ealey    Coates­ville

Scout­ing Re­port

There hasn’t been an Amer­ic­an Di­vi­sion op­pon­ent that has been able to stop con­sist­ently the rush­ing at­tack of Rustin, which has won five of the last six Di­vi­sion cham­pi­on­ships. With RB Terry Loper, a FCS re­cruit, and a vet­er­an of­fens­ive line re­turn­ing for the Golden Knights, Rustin has the muscle and fire­power to re­main on top. Uni­on­ville, which in­ter­rup­ted Rustin’s reign in 2012, and Great Val­ley are sure to chal­lenge. Uni­on­ville is led by ver­sat­ile vet­er­an QB Alex Pechin and C An­drew Jones. Penn State re­cruit DE Ry­an Buch­holz leads Great Val­ley, which is now coached by former Down­ing­town QB Dan El­lis, who left West Chester East. Both the In­di­ans and Pat­ri­ots are stocked with tal­ent and vet­er­ans.

First Hende­r­son, then Down­ing­town East and fi­nally Down­ing­town West has denied Coates­ville a Na­tion­al Di­vi­sion cham­pi­on­ship the last three sea­sons un­der am­bi­tious head coach Matt Or­tega. Once again, with four ma­jor col­lege re­cruits who are play­makers and a stock­pile of ath­letes to turn to, Coates­ville has the look of a fa­vor­ite. But so does Down­ing­town East, Hende­r­son and Down­ing­town West, all of who have vet­er­an-dom­in­ated start­ing lineups and who also have ma­jor col­lege re­cruits as well. Even Bish­op Sha­na­han and West Chester East put an ar­ray of col­lege pro­spects on the field. The Red Raid­ers, who were PI­AA Dis­trict 1 AAAA cham­pi­ons and ad­vanced to the PI­AA State AAAA cham­pi­on­ship game in 2012, just may be due to clear the hurdle that’s been most elu­sive.

Around the Amer­ic­an Di­vi­sion

Loper (5-10, 195, Sr.), who rushed for 1,734 yards and also plays strong safety, has schol­ar­ship of­fers from Buf­falo, Rhode Is­land, Mon­mouth and Bry­ant. Loper, OL/DE Phil Ve­c­hi­olli (5-10, 240, Sr.), TE/DE Matt Hosk­ing (6-1, 245, Sr.), FS/RB Mike McK­night (6-1, 175, Sr.), LB Greg Krikori­an (6-2, 215, Sr.) and OL Ray Bor­derly (6-6, 310, Jr.) are the top play­ers for Rustin. Krikori­an is the lead­er on de­fense and McK­night had five in­ter­cep­tions. There’s sev­en re­turn­ing starters on of­fense and five on de­fense. Head coach Mike St. Clair ex­pects the Di­vi­sion 1 of­fers to start com­ing Bor­derly’s way. The Golden Knights have a dom­in­at­ing rush­ing at­tack with Loper and four re­turn­ing starters on the of­fens­ive line which in­cludes Ve­c­hi­olli, Bor­derly, OL Nick Le­onard (6-3, 275, Jr.) and OL Chris­tos Mo­scaros (6-4, 270, Sr.). Evan Wlock (5-10, 175, Jr.) and Jack Carfagno (6-0, 185, Sr.) are in the mix at QB. Some on de­fense are un­tested where there’s first-year starters at LB and in the sec­ond­ary. Cham­pi­on­ships are al­ways on the agenda at Rustin. “First we want to win the battle of West Chester,” says St. Clair. “Then we want to win the Ches-Mont. Go­ing deep­er in­to the dis­trict play­offs is a goal.”

Buch­holz (6-6, 245, Sr.), who also plays TE, SS/WR Nas­ir Ad­derly (6-0, 185, Sr.), DDB/RB River John­son (5-10, 175, Sr.) and FS/WR Doug Strang (5-11, 165, Sr.) re­turn for Great Val­ley, where Dan El­lis moves from West Chester East to re­place Mike Choi as head coach of the Pat­ri­ots. There’s a lot of re­turn­ing play­ers on both sides of the ball who were starters or saw sig­ni­fic­ant play­ing time last sea­son. “Our strength is our quick­ness and speed,” says El­lis. “Our weak­ness is size. Our lines are not as big as they have been in the past.” Za­ck Lud­wig (5-11, 175, Sr.) and Nick Cionci (5-11, 160, Jr.) are in the mix at QB. John­son is the first RB but there are many in the ro­ta­tion, in­clud­ing speedy RB/LB Carter Ru­bin (6-0, 180, Sr.) who El­lis ex­pects to emerge as a play­maker.

With Pechin (6-0, 175, Sr.), Uni­on­ville has one of the top of­fens­ive play­makers in the Ches-Mont. He passed for 1,887 yards and 22 TDs and rushed for six TDs last sea­son. He also kicked two 40-plus yard field goals. Jones (6-1, 275, Sr.) is a four-year starter and has been named to the All-Ches-Mont Amer­ic­an team the past three sea­sons. Army has offered him a schol­ar­ship. LB Quinn Cheyney (6-1, 220, Sr.), a four-year starter, and LB Mi­chael Weber (6-1, 195, Sr.) also re­turn. These four give the In­di­ans a strong nuc­le­us. Still, head coach Pat Clark says he’s con­cerned there are only 11 seni­ors on the team. “So ju­ni­ors and sopho­mores must be ready to play,” he says.

Play­ing QB and RB, Alex Gooden (5-11, 185, Sr.) has pro­duced 3,236 total yards of of­fense the past two sea­sons for Oc­tor­ara. He has drawn re­cruit­ing in­terest from a range of FCS teams, in­clud­ing the Ivy League. Also re­turn­ing for the Braves are RB/FS Corey Cooper (5-10, 175, Sr.) and WR/LB Nate Reyn­olds (6-1, 175, Sr.). All three are two-way, three-year starters. OL/DL Brandon Gregor (6-0, 210, Sr.) re­turns. Soph. Jam­is­on Schempp (6-0, 175) splits time with Gooden at QB. With these vet­er­an lead­ers and play­makers among 10 seni­ors who have a lot of play­ing time since their sopho­more sea­sons, head coach Jed King ex­pects the Braves to fin­ish the sea­son above .500 for the first time. “This year should be bet­ter than the last two years,” says King. “The best team in school his­tory was 5-5. We’re look­ing to be bet­ter.”

Ox­ford head coach Mike Piet­lock be­lieves the sev­en wins last sea­son—the most for the Hor­nets since 1997—is a con­fid­en­ce-build­er for this sea­son. Adding to the con­fid­en­ce that comes from suc­cess is a group of re­turn­ing vet­er­ans led by WR/S Ry­an Hub­ley (6-2, 195, Sr.), RB Zach Dea­sey (5-8, 180, Sr.), TE/LB Brad Way (6-0, 205, Sr.) and OL Brandon Lib­er­ato (6-6, 215, Sr.). Hub­ley, who is draw­ing the at­ten­tion of FCS re­cruit­ers, had 653 re­ceiv­ing yards and scored nine TDs and had 106 tackles last sea­son. Dea­sey rushed for 565 yards and scored five TDs. Way is a two-way, three-year starter who had 65 tackles last sea­son. It’s a tall or­der for the Hor­nets to find a QB to fol­low Eth­an Herb, who gradu­ated after passing for 4,025 yards the past three sea­sons.  Dan Green (6-0, 185, Jr.) and Eric Im­pri­ano (5-9, 180, Soph.) are in the mix at QB. “Hub­ley will be the best play­er on the field for most of the sched­ule,” says Piet­lock. “There’s a good set of skill po­s­i­tion play­ers around him.” But Piet­lock says the Hor­nets will be forced to play as many as five sopho­mores among the sev­en first-year starters on both sides of the ball. Piet­lock ex­pects WR/DB Mike Wil­li­ams (5-8, 170, Jr.) and WR/DB Con­nor Hil­a­man (5-11, 175, Jr.) to emerge as play­makers.

QB Nick Dun­leavy (5-11, 155, Jr.), OT Aus­tin Gray (6-2, 245, Sr.), SS Jake Rose (5-10, 165, Sr.) and DT Lee Woodall, Jr. (6-3, 235, Sr.) are the top play­ers for Ken­nett and head coach Scott Green. As­sist­ant coach Adam Bur­awski says the Blue Demons re­turn just two starters on of­fense and six on de­fense. Woodall, who moved in from Cali­for­nia, is the son of former NFL (49ers), West Chester Uni­versity and Carl­isle High School play­er Lee Woodall. Un­der­class­men will fill most of the start­ing po­s­i­tions.

Ray Gionta left Marple-New­town to re­place Jim Grugan as head coach of Sun Val­ley. RB Juwan Chand­ler (5-8, 150, Sr.), who missed last sea­son due to an in­jury after he emerged as a play­maker as a sopho­more, re­turns for the Van­guards. OL/DL Ed Ra­cine (6-1, 320, Sr.), TE/DE Nate Cusumano (6-3, 210, Sr.), RB/DB Ki­jana Gordan (5-9, 170, Sr.) and RB/LB Mike Fish­er (6-1, 190, Sr.) also re­turn. Soph. Gabe Boc­cella (5-10, 165) is in the mix at QB. Gionta says the Van­guards have cap­able skill po­s­i­tion play­ers but they will be forced to de­pend on in ex­per­i­en­ced un­der­class­men on the line of scrim­mage.

Around the Na­tion­al Di­vi­sion

With the de­par­ture of 30 seni­ors who gradu­ated, Coates­ville will have eight first-year starters on de­fense and six on of­fense. At least on pa­per, not the look of a fa­vor­ite. But there’s ma­jor col­lege foot­ball tal­ent in im­port­ant po­s­i­tions on both sides of the ball to cov­er un­til the new starters ramp up. WR/DB Jay Stock­er (6-2, 190, Sr.), TE/DE Amir Ealey (6-4, 230, Sr.) and DB Ahkema Evans (5-10, 180, Sr.) are headed to Di­vi­sion 1 foot­ball teams. Stock­er has 20 schol­ar­ship of­fers. Ealey has 11 and Evans has com­mit­ted to Temple. QB Jordan Young (6-2, 200, Jr.) is a re­turn­ing starter to whom Temple has already offered a schol­ar­ship. TB Jalen Hud­son (5-8, 175, Sr.), OL/DL Gar­rett Mur­oski (6-3, 300, Sr.), WR Keen­an Cole­man (5-10, 160, Sr.) and LB Steph­en Pawl­ing (6-0, 200, Sr.) also re­turn. Or­tega says the sec­ond­ary is sol­id but the of­fens­ive and de­fens­ive line units are “big ques­tion mark.” There’s no ques­tion about the Raid­ers’ de­term­in­a­tion after fin­ish­ing in second-place the last three sea­sons.

With five starters re­turn­ing on of­fense and nine on de­fense, Down­ing­town West has what it takes to re­peat as Ches-Mont Na­tion­al Di­vi­sion cham­pi­ons. The Whip­pets have won or shared three Ches-Mont Na­tion­al cham­pi­on­ships since 2008. QB Tyler McN­ulty (6-1, 190, Sr.) gained valu­able ex­per­i­en­ce last sea­son from pla­toon­ing with vet­er­an Nick Pa­gel who gradu­ated. WR Jim DiS­antis (5-11, 170, Jr.), OL John West (6-4, 225, Jr.), OL Jack­son Hale (6-5, 205, Jr.), OL Sam Drill (6-2, 225, Sr.), RB Jake Barr (5-11, 175, Jr.), WR/DB Tom Mat­tioni (6-1, 185, Jr.) and Braden Harp­er (6-0, 190, Jr.) re­turn on of­fense. DT Tom O’Bri­en (5-11, 235, Sr.), DB Ry­an Schmitt (5-9, 165, Sr.), DL Brandon Peterson (6-3, 220, Jr.), DL Mike Withka (5-10, 165, Sr.), LB Brandon My­ers (6-1, 205, Jr.), LB Lu­cas McMa­hon (5-11, 180, Sr.) and FS Jason Borosky (6-0, 170, Sr.) re­turn on de­fense. Barr and Mat­tioni are play­makers on of­fense and McMa­hon, O’Bri­en and Schmitt are lead­ers on de­fense. Head coach Mike Mil­ano ex­pects the Whip­pets, who star­ted sev­en sopho­mores last sea­son but sur­prised every­one, to be even bet­ter this sea­son. “We star­ted 1-2 last sea­son,” says Mil­ano. “Down­ing­town East and Coates­ville had all of those Di­vi­sion 1 kids. But the kids kept work­ing. We were un­der­sized last year. We’re one year older.”

After two sea­sons play­ing in PI­AA AAA, Hende­r­son has bounced back over the di­vid­ing line just in­to the AAAA clas­si­fic­a­tion—a move that tosses the War­ri­ors in­to the crowded pool of 44 AAAA teams com­pet­ing for 16 play­off spots. They first have their hands full in the Ches-Mont. With eight starters re­turn­ing on of­fense and sev­en back on de­fense, the War­ri­ors have a vet­er­an lineup that can meet the chal­lenge. OL/DL Bry­an White (6-1, 270, Sr.), RB/QB/DB Noah Richard (6-3, 205, Sr.), RB/DB Trey Green (6-0, 180, Sr.) and OL James Mc­Don­ald (6-4, 275, Sr.) are Hende­r­son’s top play­ers. White had 90 tackles, 18 for loss yards, last sea­son and has com­mit­ted to play for Vil­lan­ova. Richard had 39 tackles and Green had 44 tackles. The War­ri­or’s veer of­fense is tough to stop and they em­phas­ize de­fense. “Our strength for the last eight to 10 years has been our de­fense,” says head coach Steve Mit­ten.  “And a lot teams with their spread of­fenses, try­ing to get 90 plays in a game, we want to play ball con­trol with the veer and put them in a po­s­i­tion to make every one of their plays count.” Matt Dinacci (6-1, 200, Jr.) and Richard are in the mix at QB.

Down­ing­town East has a strong group of re­turn­ing starters on both sides of the ball with five re­turn­ing on of­fense and eight on de­fense. QB Ry­an Ru­mor (6-2, 200, Sr.), WR/TE Cary An­geline (6-7, 230, Jr.), WR Dan Chis­ena (6-1, 170, Sr.), Tyler Zur­as­ki (6-2, 250, Sr.) and HB/FB Keith Con­ner (5-10, 200, Sr.) re­turn on of­fense. LB Tyler Buban (6-0, 200, Sr.), DB Justin Co­hen (5-9, 160, Sr.), DE Thad Steven­son-Pan­cis­an (6-2, 225, Sr.), DE Caleb Fell (6-3, 240, Sr.), LB Brody Wilson (6-2, 225, Jr.), LB Adam Stata (6-0, 170, Sr.) and DL Jason Gib­son (6-0, 190, Sr.) are re­turn­ing starters on de­fense. Cou­gars head coach Mike Matta says An­geline has 11 schol­ar­ship of­fers. Among those are of­fers from Penn State, Michigan State, North­west­ern and Rut­gers. “He could be one of the best all time,” says Matta.

Dave Guer­i­era re­places Dan El­lis, who is now the head coach at Great Val­ley, as head coach at West Chester East. . It took three sea­sons for El­lis to get the Vik­ings back to a win­ning re­cord, their first win­ning sea­son since 2006 when they won the Ches-Mont cham­pi­on­ship.  There’s a sol­id group of play­makers to help Guer­i­era to take it from there. QB Jon Jon Roberts (5-10, 165, Jr.) has emerged as a pro­lif­ic pass­er. He passed for 2,644 yards and 23 TDs last sea­son and now has 3,227 yards passing in his first two sea­sons. DE/OT Kev­in Murphy (6-2, 265, Sr.) has com­mited to Con­necti­c­ut. He has sev­en sacks last sea­son. WR/SS Pat Downey (6-2, 165, Sr.) had 45 pass re­cep­tions last sea­son. WR/FS Evan An­der­son (5-10, 165, Sr.), who had sev­en in­ter­cep­tions last sea­son, also re­turns. The Vik­ings of­fens­ive line re­mains mostly in­tact. Guer­i­era is fo­cused on im­prov­ing the de­fense, which al­lowed 33 points per game last sea­son.

QB Dan Murphy (6-1, 180, Sr.), OT/DT Doug Costin (6-3, 265, Jr.), TE/LB Cody Smith (6-1, 245, Sr.) and WR/DB Jeff Zebrowski (6-0, 180, Sr.) re­turn for Bish­op Sha­na­han. A dual-threat, Murphy rushed for 910 yards and had 700 yards passing. Smith had 450 re­ceiv­ing yards. Head coach Paul Mey­ers says the Eagles have the ath­letes with speed to give Ches-Mont op­pon­ents match­up prob­lems. But they need to de­vel­op line­men.

Former Uni­on­ville as­sist­ant coach Harry O’Neill re­places Doug Langley as head coach of Avon Grove, which has won just sev­en of its last 40 games since it tied for the Ches-Mont cham­pi­on­ship in 2009. LB Ry­an Hoff­man (5-11, 230, Jr.), OT/DT Kyle Speer (6-3, 240, Sr.), RB Nate Jones (5-8, 170, Soph.) DB Kyle Har­ris (6-1, 175, Sr.) and DL Bashom Haith (6-0, 255, Sr.) are the top play­ers for the Red Dev­ils. O’Neill ex­pects Jones to emerge as a play­maker in his first sea­son as a starter. At the top of his agenda, is to get the Red Dev­ils turned around. “Hoff­man and Speer have set the tone for a change of cul­ture,” says O’Neill. “My ex­pect­a­tions are to com­pete on a weekly basis, which hasn’t been the case here for most of the short his­tory.”

DEL-VAL LEAGUE

2013 Stand­ings

Team  League  Over­all

Glen Mills  5-0  9-4

Academy Park  4-1  10-3

In­ter­boro  3-2  6-5

Chichester  2-3  5-7

Chester  1-4  2-8

Penn Wood  0-5  1-9

Del-Val 11

TB Deron Sa­voy    Glen Mills

TE/WR An­thony John­son    Glen Mills

OT Na­je Lath­an    Glen Mills

OL/DL Jeremi­ah Del­li­priscolloi    In­ter­boro

QB/LB Sean Men­old    In­ter­boro

LB/RB Danny Nea    In­ter­boro

RB/LB Jer­maine Wes­ley    Academy Park

RB/LB Jeremy Dembry    Academy Park

OL/DL D’An­dre Gill    Chester

RB/DB Ed­ward Nel­son    Chester

RB Tavon Ruley    Penn Wood

Scout­ing Re­port

Glen Mills, which has won two of the last three Del-Val cham­pi­on­ships, and Academy Park, which won the league in 2012 and the PI­AA Dis­trict 1 AAA cham­pi­on­ship last sea­son by de­feat­ing Glen Mills, have pushed once-dom­in­at­ing In­ter­boro out of the way. The Bat­tlin’ Bulls coach­ing staff has im­proved on its off-sea­son ev­al­u­ation on how the lineup is go­ing to take shape. The Knights have got­ten a handle on how to de­vel­op their ath­letes. Not that In­ter­boro is slid­ing back­wards. The Bucs won the Dis­trict 1 cham­pi­on­ship in 2012. Now the Del-Val is home to three of the top AAA teams in Dis­trict 1. The mar­gin between the three teams is small. But Glen Mills owns an edge provided by a stable of ath­letes with size and speed.

Around the Del-Val

TB Deron Sa­voy (5-9, 185, Sr.), TE/WR An­thony John­son (6-7, 230, Jr.), OT Na­je Lath­an (6-3, 265, Jr.) and DB Quin­ton Chris­ti­an (5-10, 175, Sr.) re­turn for Glen Mills, poised to de­fense its Del-Val cham­pi­on­ship. “That’s a lot of re­turn­ing starters for Glen Mills,” says as­sist­ant coach Robert Hall. “Last year we pieced it to­geth­er. This is the first time since I’ve been here we haven’t de­clared we don’t know what we have. We’ve got some bod­ies.” Hall says the Bulls will con­tin­ue their tra­di­tion of phys­ic­al foot­ball with a grind-it-out rush­ing at­tack. There’s al­ways ample num­bers of big and fast ath­letes at Glen Mills and this sea­son is no dif­fer­ent. The chal­lenge for the Bulls’ coach­ing staff is get­ting them all on the same page. When the chem­istry de­vel­ops, the Bulls are a hand­ful for any op­pon­ent. Head coach Kev­in Owens ex­pects Sa­voy to emerge as a play­maker on of­fense and Lath­an to be one of the best of­fens­ive line­men in the league. “This is the best our de­fense has looked this early,” says Hall.

In con­trast to Glen Mills, In­ter­boro has re­mained one of the top foot­ball teams in SE PA year-in and year-out be­cause of play­ers who are will­ing to do whatever it takes to win. “We are not al­ways as big or as fast as our op­pon­ents,” says vet­er­an head coach Steve Len­nox. “But we have hard-nosed kids who play their hard­est on every down. We have real tough kids. We have some ath­letes but we don’t have the num­bers oth­ers do. We have to be dis­cip­lined.” The Bucs will lean on QB/LB Sean Men­old (5-10, 180, Sr.), a play­maker on both sides of the ball, RB/LB Mike Ochuida (5-9, 175, Sr.), OL/DL Jason Miks­it (5-10, 175, Sr.) and OL/DL Jeremi­ah Del­li­priscolloi (5-11, 180, Sr.). They are first-year starters who saw im­port­ant play­ing time last sea­son. As­sist­ant coach Joe Cof­fey ex­pects RB/DB Sean Douglas (5-11, 185, Jr.), RB/DB Chris Hum­mel (5-10, 165, Jr.), RB/DB Lamar Shaw (6-0, 255, Jr.) and RB Paul Bil­ar­do (5-9, 165, Sr.) to make an im­pact in the rush­ing at­tack. Len­nox ex­pects TE Chase Pat­tin­son (6-2, 190, Jr.), WR Naim Bey (5-11 175, Sr.), WR Blake Dalesio (5-11, 150, Sr.) and WR Paul Younk­man (6-1, 170, Sr.) to emerge in the passing at­tack.  LB/RB Danny Nea (6-0, 205, Jr.) is a lead­er on de­fense. One of the top play­makers last sea­son, WR Mark Ever­ton, has trans­ferred to Car­din­al O’Hara.

WR/DB Clar­en­ce Buchanan (5-11, 170, Jr.), LB An­thony Ba­logh (5-11, 190, Jr.) RB/LB Jer­maine Wes­ley (5-11, 185, Jr.) and RB/LB Jeremy Dembry (6-0, 195, Jr.) are the top play­ers for Academy Park. Head coach Jason Vosheski has en­er­gized and raised the pro­file of Academy Park foot­ball. But with only five re­turn­ing starters, the chal­lenge to re­load rather than re­build will be dif­fi­cult this sea­son. “We do not have a lot of field ex­per­i­en­ce re­turn­ing,” says Vosheski. “We have a tre­mend­ous ju­ni­or and sopho­more group of play­ers.” Al­lon Ruffin (5-11, 175, Sr.) is a first-year starter at QB. Wes­ley and Dembry are the go-to guys in the rush­ing at­tack. OL Chris Thomas (6-3, 180, Soph.) is the only re­turn­ing starter on the of­fens­ive line. It will be dif­fi­cult to re­place the dy­nam­ic play­makers from last sea­son, RB Jerry Lan­i­er and QB Bri­an In­gram, both who gradu­ated.

A former head coach in the Phil­ad­elphia Pub­lic League, Tony Beaty re­places Chuck Crews as head coach of Chester. WR/DB Has­san Bush (5-9, 170 Sr.), RB/DB Ed­ward Nel­son (5-10, 185, Jr.), OL/DL D’An­dre Dill (6-3, 275, Jr.) and TE/DE An­dre Fam­bro (6-2, 200, Sr.) are the top play­ers for the Clip­pers. Of­fens­ive co­or­din­at­or Dahnte Craw­ley says there are a lot of re­turn­ing starters who saw a lot of play­ing time as sopho­mores. But there’s con­cern with a lack of depth with line­men.

Chichester head coach Ry­an Smith ex­pects QB Greg Mills (6-1, 170, Sr.), RB Kev­in Miller (5-10, 190, Jr.), TE/FB Danny Sul­li­van (5-10, 215, Sr.), RB/WR John Lawrence (5-11, 175. Jr.), OL/DL Colin Mc­Al­lister (6-3, 290, Sr.) and LB Isai­ah Bobo (5-9, 205, Sr.) to be the nuc­le­us for the Eagles, who have a lineup dom­in­ated by first-year starters. “We are very raw, very young,” Smith says. “We’ve got a lot to prove.” Smith says the rush­ing at­tack needs to be a strength and that team speed is bet­ter than past years.

Former Im­hotep Charter as­sist­ant coach Nick Lin­coln re­places Troy Brooks as head coach of Penn Wood. Des­pite the fact that the Pat­ri­ots have won just two games over the past three sea­sons, Lin­coln de­clares that it won’t take long for Penn Wood to jump back in­to the mix in the Del-Val. “I don’t think it’s a re­build­ing year,” he says. “Our play­ers are ex­tremely hungry. We’ve got skilled kids. It’s up to me to get our line­men figured out.” Fred John­son (5-8, 180, Sr.) re­turns at QB where dual-threat Soph. Ed­ward Fields III (6-1, 175) is also in the mix. Lin­coln ex­pects RB Tayvon Ruley (6-0, 180, Sr), WR Kw­ab­riem Jen­kins (5-10, 180, Sr.), WR Ma­lik Grant (5-9, 160, Soph.), OL/DL Jordan John­son (6-4, 245, Jr.) and FS/SS Casheim Har­ris (5-11, 180, Sr.) to be the main con­trib­ut­ors on both sides of the ball. He says Ruley and Jordan John­son are emer­ging im­pact play­ers.

INTER-AC LEAGUE

2013 Stand­ings

Team  League  Over­all

Haver­ford School  4-1  6-5

Mal­vern Prep  4-1  8-2

Epis­co­pal Academy  3-2  8-3

Ger­man­town Academy  2-3  6-4

Penn Charter  1-4  4-6

Spring­side Ches­nut Hill  1-4  5-5

Inter-Ac 11

RB Phil Poquie    Haver­ford

LB/WR Derek Moun­tain     Haver­ford

LB L. J. Bar­low    Haver­ford

QB Ry­an Whay­land    Epis­co­pal Academy

OL/DL John Minicozzi    Epis­co­pal Academy

QB Alex Horn­ibrook    Mal­vern Prep

OL/DL Hay­den Ma­honey    Mal­vern Prep

OL/DL Jac­ob Rebisz    Mal­vern Prep

LB/RB Tre­vor Mor­ris    Mal­vern Prep

QB Paul Dooley    SCH Academy

OL/LB Pat McIn­er­ney    Penn Charter

Scout­ing Re­port

Haver­ford School and Epis­co­pal Academy have made in-roads, but identi­fy­ing the fa­vor­ite in the Inter-Ac al­ways be­gins with Mal­vern Prep. The four top play­ers for the Fri­ars are ma­jor col­lege foot­ball re­cruits, in­clud­ing Pitt-com­mit Alex Horn­ibrook at QB. Still it’s hard to pick against Haver­ford with a large vet­er­an group of re­turn­ing starters led by play­maker Phil Poquie. The Fords have won or shared the Inter-Ac title three times since 2009. Mal­vern and Haver­ford have the same 20-5 league re­cord since 2009. It should be no sur­prise if Haver­ford over­takes Mal­vern. What may shape up as the year of the QB in the Inter-Ac, EA, which won the cham­pi­on­ship in 2012, is led by QB Ry­an Whay­land.  Spring­side Chest­nut Hill Academy is dan­ger­ous with re­turn­ing QB Paul Dooley. QB Mi­chael Hnatkowsky re­turns for Penn Charter. These four QBs com­bined for 5,600 passing yards last sea­son.

Around the Inter-Ac

One of the top ver­sat­ile of­fens­ive threats in the Inter-Ac, Poquie (5-9, 185, Sr.) rushed for 825 yards, had 122 yards re­ceiv­ing and scored eight TDs last sea­son for Haver­ford. The Fords have 15 re­turn­ing starters—that’s a lot for and not of­ten the case with Inter-Ac teams. OL/DL Chaun­cey Sim­mons (6-4, 310, Sr.), LB/OL L. J. Bar­low (6-3, 215, Sr.), WR/DB Dox Aitken (6-4, 190, Jr.), LB/MP Niles Eas­ley (6-1, 195, Sr.), and OLB/WR Derek Moun­tain (6-5, 205, Sr.) re­turn. Kev­in Carter (6-0, 185, Jr.) is a first-year starter at QB. Poquie has of­fers from Holy Cross, Ford­ham and Rich­mond but is lean­ing to­wards lacrosse in col­lege. He is on the radar of lax re­cruit­ers from Vir­gin­ia and Notre Dame. New Hamp­shire has offered a schol­ar­ship to Moun­tain. Head coach Mike Murphy ex­pects Eas­ley to emerge as a multi-pur­pose threat on of­fense mov­ing between TB and slot­back. Bar­low is the lead­er on de­fense. “This is a seni­or-dom­in­ated and ex­per­i­en­ced team,” says Murphy. “We will be a bal­anced team.”

Aaron Brady re­places Kev­in Pel­legrini as head coach at Mal­vern Prep and finds a four ma­jor col­lege foot­ball re­cruits. Pitt-bound Horn­ibrook (6-4, 205, Sr.) re­turns at QB after passing for 1,190 yards last sea­son. Re­turn­ing OL/DT Hay­den Ma­honey (6-5, 295, Sr.) has made a com­mit­ment to a schol­ar­ship of­fer from Uni­versity of Miami (Fla.). LB/RB Tre­vor Mor­ris (6-1, 205, Sr.) has full-rides from Buf­falo, James Madis­on and Ohio to con­sider. TE/LB Ry­an O’Neill (6-3, 230, Sr.) is an Ivy and Pat­ri­ot league re­cruit. RB/DB Dy­mond Wright (5-9, 175, Sr.) and OL/DL Jac­ob Rebisz (6-2, 250, Sr.), one of the top line­men in the Inter-Ac, also re­turn. The Fri­ars, who have six starters re­turn­ing on of­fense and five on de­fense, are strong on the line of scrim­mage and have a steady hand at QB. They need to shore up their line­back­ers and sec­ond­ary—es­pe­cially with the vet­er­an QBs they will face in the Inter-Ac. Brady ex­pects Wright to emerge as play­maker on of­fense. This sea­son is the first since 1977 that a Pel­legrini is not the Mal­vern head coach. Gamp Pel­legrini was head coach from 1978 through 2008 and his son Kev­in fol­lowed him un­til step­ping down after last sea­son.

Whay­land (6-2, 210, Sr.), OL/DL John Minicozzi (5-10, 260, Sr.), LB/TE Jake Mar­tilotti (6-0, 210, Sr.) and RB/LB Dee Bar­lee (5-8, 190, Jr.) re­turn for Epis­co­pal Academy. The po­tent passing at­tack re­mains in­tact with Whay­land on the trig­ger after passing for 2,095 yards and 17 TDs last sea­son. Bar­lee rushed for 679 yards. EA also has a vet­er­an lineup. “We re­turn a good amount of key play­ers in key po­s­i­tions who have ex­per­i­en­ce,” says Church­men head coach Todd Fairlie. The Church­men need to de­vel­op line­men.

SCH Academy has won just two league games over the past two sea­sons but one of those was a 24-21 win over Haver­ford last sea­son. The Blue Dev­ils then lost a 63-50 shoot out to Mal­vern Prep. So they aren’t far off from climb­ing back to con­tender status. There’s sev­en re­turn­ing starters on both sides of the ball. Dooley (6-1, 205, Sr.), DB/QB Dylan Par­sons (6-1, 180, Sr.), WR/S Sameir Mad­den (5-11, 185, Sr.), WR/DB Jordan John­son (5-7, 140, Sr.) and OL/DL Dari­an Bry­ant (6-6, 335, Sr.) re­turn. Dooley passed for 1,625 yards and 22 TDs last sea­son.  Head coach Rick Knox says there’s a strong, vet­er­an group of play­makers on of­fense but the Dev­ils need to de­vel­op line­men.

Hnatkowsky (6-1, 185, Soph.) re­turns at QB. Penn Charter head coach Tom Coyle says Pat Mc­Cain (6-3, 175), who played WR/DB last sea­son, is also in the mix at QB. The Quakers have 10 re­turn­ing starters. TE Evan Fer­rel (6-4, 210, Jr.), H-back/WR Kenny Bergmann (5-11, 200, Jr.), TE/LB Rob Kee­h­fus (6-0, 195, Sr.), OL/LB Pat McIn­er­ney (6-1, 225, Sr.), OL Sean Fo­ley (6-4, 245, Jr.), OG Bill Cos­tello (5-11, 265, Soph.), OL Alex Slook (6-2, 230, Soph.), OL/DL Jelani Buie (6-3, 225, Sr.) and H-back/LB Frank McGlinchey (5-11, 180, Sr.) re­turn. Coyle ex­pects Cent­ral Bucks trans­fer Jeremy Bass (6-2, 225, Soph.) to make an im­pact and for WR/DB Den­ari Beard (6-3, 185, Soph.) to emerge as a play­maker. McIn­er­ney is a three-year starter who is a Ivy League re­cruit. Kee­h­fus is headed to Navy to play lacrosse. McGlinchey is the young­er broth­er of former Penn Charter line­man Mi­chael, who is play­ing at Notre Dame. “We’re bet­ter at each po­s­i­tion,” says Coyle. “We’re a year older, stronger, wiser. We wer­en’t good at fin­ish­ing games last sea­son. We need to im­prove our depth and get stronger.”

RB/LB Ry­an Cal­houn (6-1, 210, Sr.), WR/DB Kashta Dav­is (5-10, 180, Sr.), OL/DL Max Hanamari­an (6-0, 250, Sr.) and WR/DE An­drew Si­mon (6-3, 210, Sr.) re­turn for Ger­man­town Academy. The Pat­ri­ots have to re­cov­er from 15 con­trib­ut­ors gradu­at­ing from the 2013 team. Dav­is is one of the top de­fens­ive backs in the Inter-Ac. Head coach Matt Dence says there’s tal­ent at  the skill po­s­i­tions, LB and the sec­ond­ary but the lineup will in­clude a lot of un­tested un­der­class­men. Kyle Mc­Clo­s­key (6-3, 185, Soph.) and Isai­ah Jones (6-2, 185, Fr.) are in the mix at QB.

PI­ON­EER

ATH­LET­IC

CON­FER­EN­CE

2013 Stand­ings

Team  League  Over­all

Pott­s­grove  9-0  11-1

Spring-Ford  8-1  10-3

Perkio­men Val­ley  7-2  10-3

Methac­ton  6-3  7-4

Boy­er­town  5-4  7-4

Phoenixville  4-5  4-9

Owen J. Roberts  3-6  3-9

Pope John Paul II  1-8  1-9

Pott­stown  1-8  1-11

Up­per Perkio­men  1-8  1-9

PAC-10 11

OL/DL Patrick Finn    Pott­s­grove

DB Mi­chael Fowl­er    Pott­s­grove

OL/DL Seth Jo­nas­sen    Perkio­men Val­ley

WR Taiyir Wilson    Perkio­men Val­ley

QB Con­ner Der­rick­son    Methac­ton

Slot/DB Akeem Wal­cott    Methac­ton

WR/DB Matt Palu­b­in­sky    Phoenixville

QB/DB Gary Wise    Pott­stown

QB/S Mitch Brad­ford    Owen J. Roberts

QB/WR/FS Matt Mesaros    Pope John Paul II

QB Brandon Leac­roft    Spring-Ford

Scout­ing Re­port

Pott­s­grove, which has won the last two PAC-10 cham­pi­on­ships (four since 2008) and has qual­i­fied for the PI­AA Dis­trict 1 play­offs eight straight years, has gone it alone when car­ry­ing the league ban­ner in­to the post sea­son—where the Fal­cons have built a dan­ger­ous re­pu­ta­tion with the top AAA teams in SE PA. At last, Pott­s­grove now has com­pany. In 2012, Spring-Ford was the first PAC-10 AAAA team to win a Dis­trict 1 play­off game. The Fords won three play­off games and then lost the dis­trict fi­nal to Coates­ville in 2012.  Then Perkio­men Val­ley and Spring-Ford had first-round play­off wins last sea­son over Ches-Mont teams. PV also won its quarter­fi­nal be­fore los­ing the semi­fi­nal to North Penn. From no vic­tor­ies to six the past two sea­sons. The PAC-10 stock is up for the AAAA teams but Pott­s­grove is still the king­pin to win its third PAC-10 title in a row. Spring-Ford, Perkio­men Val­ley and Methac­ton are the chal­lengers. There’s a wild card that could im­pact who’s left stand­ing. “The league had such a turnover of seni­ors,” says Perkio­men Val­ley head coach Scott Reed. “Our league in gen­er­al is start­ing over. We have to re­place nine on de­fense. Pott­s­grove re­places 10 on de­fense. Spring-Ford re­places all 11 on de­fense. And there’s four new coaches.” Line­men are ex­pec­ted to make the biggest im­pact this sea­son in the con­fer­en­ce. Pott­s­grove OL/DL Patrick Finn and Perkio­men Val­ley OL/DL Seth Jo­nas­sen are ma­jor col­lege foot­ball re­cruits.

Around the PAC-10

Pott­s­grove has won 25 straight PAC-10 league games and no PAC-10 op­pon­ent ap­pears able stop the Fal­cons’ roll. “Over the past sev­en or eight years,” says Pott­s­grove coach Rick Pennypack­er, “this is the best foot­ball we’ve had.” The Fal­cons of­ten have size on the line of scrim­mage and their trade­mark speed on of­fense and de­fense. They have been the dom­in­ant team in the PAC-10 be­cause the Fal­cons most of­ten own the edge in crit­ic­al match­ups. Des­pite just three re­turn­ing starters each on of­fense and de­fense, this year’s team is no dif­fer­ent. Re­turn­ing are Finn (6-4, 250, Sr.), DB Mi­chael Fowl­er (5-10, 175, Sr.), WR Wyatt Port­er (6-0, 190, Jr.) and TB Devon Fink (5-8, 160, Sr.). Fink rushed for 503 yards and re­turned two kick­offs for TDs last sea­son. Finn is a two-way work­horse on the line of scrim­mage who has schol­ar­ship of­fers from Navy, Vil­lan­ova and Delaware. He is flanked on the OL by four ju­ni­ors in­clud­ing Jake Adams (6-3, 280). Pennypack­er says Fowl­er is the best skill play­er in the con­fer­en­ce. Pennypack­er doesn’t shy away from us­ing the word “re­build” for this sea­son but he also is con­fid­ent that the Fal­cons will fill the mold of re­cent suc­cess­ful Pott­s­grove teams that pile up rush­ing yards and shut down op­pon­ent of­fenses with a quick, phys­ic­al de­fense. “That’s our brand of foot­ball,” says Pennypack­er. “We’ll just con­tin­ue to do the things we do.” And he says they plan to add a new wrinkle this sea­son. Troin Ver­done (6-0, 170, Sr.) and Dy­on Doc­tor (6-1, 165, Jr.) are in the mix at QB. “They are more ath­let­ic and bet­ter pass­ers than we’ve had at quar­ter­back,” says Pennypack­er. “We’re look­ing to throw more than we have.” They will have a lot to live up to. Ter­rell Chest­nut (2007-2010) and Tory Hudgins (2011-2012) quar­ter­backed the Fal­cons from 2007 through 2012. Chest­nut pro­duced more than 5,000 yards of­fense and Hudgins gen­er­ated more than 4,000 total yards. “We had to re­place our quar­ter­back, run­ning back and full­back go­ing in­to last sea­son,” says Pennypack­er. “Every­body thought we’d take 10 steps back.” That’s not how it works at Pott­s­grove.

QB Con­ner Der­rick­son (5-9, 170, Sr.), Slot­back/DB Akeem Wal­cott (5-10, 190, Sr.) and Slot­back/S Louis Cotetta (5-8, 175, Sr.) re­turn to give Methac­ton tested fire­power on of­fense.  And the In­di­ans have a vet­er­an-dom­in­ated group of line­men. OL Justin Boss­ard (6-1, 195, Sr.), Jake Keim (5-11, 225, Sr.), Ry­an Huhl (6-2, 190, Sr.) and Luke Miller (5-10, 215, Sr.) re­turn. There are six starters re­turn­ing on of­fense and five on de­fense. “We need to rely heav­ily on our of­fens­ive and de­fens­ive lines,” says head coach Paul Lep­re. “Of­fens­ively, we have de­cent speed in the slot po­s­i­tions.” A dual-threat at the con­trols of fast-paced spread of­fense, Der­rick­son rushed for more than 600 yards and passed for more than 400 yards and had a hand in 24 TDs in just eight starts last sea­son. Nick Nwank­wo (6-2, 200, Sr.) and Jimmy Keen­an (5-10, 185, Jr.) are the FBs. “We have more speed on the edge than we’ve had,” says Lep­re. With vis­ions of qual­i­fy­ing for the dis­trict play­offs, the In­di­ans, who were 6-5 in 2012 and 7-4 last sea­son, want to avoid the slow starts of the last two sea­sons. “We fin­ished strong the last two sea­sons,” says Lep­re. “We want to start in mid-sea­son form at the be­gin­ning of the year. We’re sit­ting right in the middle of the PAC. That’s a good po­s­i­tion to be in, be­ing the chaser and be­ing chased.”

Spring Ford, which does not have a re­turn­ing starter on de­fense but has depth at the skill po­s­i­tions, has stepped up its game un­der head coach Chad Brubaker. “We al­ways ex­pect to com­pete for a PAC-10 cham­pi­on­ship,” says Brubaker. QB Brandon Lea­c­raft (6-0, 180, Sr.), WR/DB Brandon Bar­one ( 5-8, 150, Sr.), WR/DB Danny Mat­thews (5-10, 175, Sr.) and OL/DL Zach Dorsey (6-2, 275, Sr.) re­turn for the Rams. Lea­c­raft, who was one of four dif­fer­ent QBs to play last sea­son, passed for 751 yards and sev­en TDs in sev­en games. Bar­one caught three passes for 71 yards and one TD and Mat­thew caught 13 passes for 170 yards and one TD.

OL/DL Jo­nas­sen (6-3, 285, Sr.), WR/LB Taiyir Wilson (6-2, 21, Sr.), RB/LB Ry­an O’Don­nell (5-10, 175, Sr.) and RB/DB Dav­id Wil­li­ams (5-10, 160, Soph.) re­turn for Perkio­men Val­ley. Steph­en Sturm (5-11 165, Soph.) and Bobby Pa­gel (6-2, 180, Sr.) are in the mix at QB. Towson is close to giv­ing a schol­ar­ship of­fer to Jonaseen. Wilson has com­mit­ted to Temple. In­di­ans head coach Scoot Reed ex­pects Wil­li­ams to emerge as an im­pact play­maker. The In­di­ans’ strength is at OL and RB but the lineup is dom­in­ated by first-year starters. They are hard-pressed to re­cov­er the near-7,400 yards of total of­fense gen­er­ated the past two sea­sons by QB Rasaan Stew­art, who gradu­ated. “We are start­ing over again it is very dif­fi­cult to pro­ject ex­pect­a­tions,” says Reed.

Former Pequea Val­ley head coach Evan Bre­is­blatt re­places Bill Fur­long as head coach at Phoenixville. RB/LB Za­ck Gallo (6-2, 230, Sr.), OL/DL Jason Walt­man (5-8, 210, Sr.), OL/DL Dave Ros­ati (6-0, 275, Sr.), WR/DB Matt Palu­b­in­sky (6-3, 200, Jr.) and QB/DB Ian Brown (5-9, 160, Jr.) are re­turn­ing starters.  Brown and Palu­b­in­sky are the play­makers on of­fense. The Phantoms must ad­apt to a new staff and new sys­tem. “We want to keep the win­ning tra­di­tion go­ing,” says Bre­is­blatt. “It’s go­ing to take time to im­ple­ment the no-huddle spread of­fense. We need num­bers and we need ath­letes.”

With an of­fens­ive unit dom­in­ated by re­turn­ing starters in the back­field and on the line of scrim­mage, Pott­stown head coach Don Grinstead ex­pects the Tro­jans to make dra­mat­ic im­prove­ment over a chal­len­ging one-win sea­son in 2013. QB/DB Gary Wise (6-1, 190, Sr.), RB/S Brandon Tin­son (5-10, 175, Jr.), OL/DE Alex Hum­mas (5-9, 220, Sr.) and TE/LB Vaughn Ber­toti (6-0, 180, Sr.) are the top play­ers for Pott­stown. “Our run­ning game will be our strength,” says Grinstead. “We be­lieve we have a shot to be a win­ning team this year.” A dual-threat, Wise had more than 800 yards passing and more than 500 yards rush­ing last sea­son. Ber­toti and Tin­son, who had three in­ter­cep­tions last sea­son, are play­makers on de­fense.

Owen J. Roberts has the multi-threat, vet­er­an of­fens­ive combo of QB/S Mitch Brad­ford (5-10, 175, Jr.) and WR/RB Brad Kinthner (5-11, 170, Sr.) to tor­ment de­fenses this sea­son. “We’ll fo­cus on Brad­ford,” says Wild­cats coach Tom Barr. “He’s elu­sive.” Also re­turn­ing are C Kolten Hain­sey (6-3, 285, Sr.), a three-year starter, and DE Wil­li­am Dawson (6-0, 220, Sr.) who lead what Barr calls “a good group of ju­ni­ors and seni­ors.”

George Par­kin­son re­places Mark Scisly as head coach of Boy­er­town. QB/DB Lawrence Gar­nett (6-2, 180, Jr.), RB/LB Will School (6-0, 210k Sr.) and DB/WR Justin Siejk (6-1, 175, Sr.) are the top play­ers for the Bears.

Rory Graver re­places Mike San­tillo as head coach of Pope John Paul II. Re­turn­ing for the Golden Pan­thers are QB/WR/FS Matt Mesaros (6-3, 190, Sr.),who has 1,182 yards passing the past two sea­sons, RB/LB Tyler Nu­gent (5-10, 175, Sr.), WR/C Jared Lu­pold (5-10, 175, Jr.) and OL/DL Dar­ren Gregory (6-2, 230, Sr.). Graver ex­pects the Pan­thers to im­prove. On of­fense, there’s vet­er­ans on the of­fens­ive line and depth at wide re­ceiv­er. On de­fense, there’s depth at LB and ex­per­i­en­ce in the sec­ond­ary. “We should have the op­por­tun­ity for a suc­cess­ful sea­son,” he says.

Up­per Perkio­men hasn’t had a win­ning sea­son since 2009 and won just one game over the past two sea­sons. New head coach Tom Hontz, the long­time Up­per Perk wrest­ling coach who re­places Steve Moy­er, knows the ath­letes and says the In­di­ans have the play­ers to quickly turn it around. RB/S Mike Fe­lix (5-10, 165, Jr.), RB Sonky Ako­ponuno (6-1, 190, Sr.), WR Wyatt Brumm (6-0, 180, Sr.), OG/DL Mahlon Schaf­fer (6-0, 240, Sr.), OT/DL Mitch Fretz (6-2, 240, Sr.), LB Jake Pirri (5-10, 185, Sr.) and LB Dylan Crois­sette (6-1, 200, Jr.) are the top play­ers. Jake Bry­er (6-1, 190, Jr.) and Zeke Hall­man (6-1, 175, Soph.) are in the mix at QB. And there’s tal­ent join­ing in, says Hontz, who coached the 9-0 eighth-grade team last sea­son. He ex­pects that fresh­men will be starters this sea­son in a num­ber of po­s­i­tions. “Don’t be sur­prised if we win three or four ballgames,” he says.

PHIL­AD­ELPHIA

PUB­LIC LEAGUE

2013 Stand­ings

AAAA Gold Di­vi­sion

Team  League  Over­all

Frank­ford  5-0  8-4

George Wash­ing­ton  4-1  5-6

North­east  3-2  5-7

Fels  2-3  4-8

Cent­ral  1-4  7-5

Fur­ness  0-5  1-10

AAAA Sil­ver Di­vi­sion

South­ern  4-0  9-3

Lin­coln  3-1  5-7

Mast­baum  2-2  4-9

Edis­on  1-3  1-9

Ol­ney  0-4  4-7

AAA

Mas­tery North Charter  7-1  10-2

Mar­tin Luth­er King  6-2  10-3

Frank­lin  6-2  9-3

Over­brook  5-3  6-6

Gratz  5-3  5-7

West Phil­ad­elphia  3-5  6-6

Dob­bins  2-6  2-10

Boys’ Lat­in  1-7  4-8

Bartram  1-7  3-7

AA

Im­hotep Charter  4-0  13-3

Prep Charter  3-1  7-4

Roxbor­ough  1-3  5-7

Fu­ture  1-3  4-8

Delaware Val­ley Charter0-4  3-9

Pub 11

DL Shareef Miller    George Wash­ing­ton

WR D. J. Moore    Im­hotep

TE Na­seir Upshur    Im­hotep

QB An­dre Dreuitt Parks    Im­hotep

LB Sha­quille Jones    Im­hotep

RB Nas­ir Bon­ner    Del-Val

QB Kev­in Camp­bell    Frank­lin

OL/DL Dwayne Young    Mar­tin Luth­er King

QB/DB Asa Man­ley    North­east

TE/DE Gladi­mir Paul    North­east

QB Vi­an Dolo    Prep Charter

Scout­ing Re­port

The Pub­lic League has un­der­gone a ma­jor re­align­ment. This sea­son the new AAAA Di­vi­sion 1 is com­prised of Bartram, Cent­ral, Fels, Frank­ford, Gratz, Mast­baum and South­ern. The new AAAA Di­vi­sion 2 in­cludes Frank­lin, King, Lin­coln, North­east, Ol­ney, Roxbor­ough and George Wash­ing­ton. The AAA Di­vi­sion has Boys’ Lat­in, Dob­bins, Fu­ture, Im­hotep, Mas­tery North, Over­brook and West Phil­ad­elphia. Delaware Val­ley Charter, Kipp DuBois, Palumbo, Prep Charter and Straw­berry Man­sion now make up the AA Di­vi­sion. This is the first sea­son of varsity foot­ball for Kipp DuBois Col­legi­ate Academy, The Academy at Palumbo, Straw­berry Man­sion Prom­ise Academy and Kens­ing­ton. Edis­on and Kens­ing­ton are com­pet­ing as in­de­pend­ents this sea­son. In AAAA Di­vi­sion 1, Frank­ford is the fa­vor­ite. In AAAA Di­vi­sion 2, George Wash­ing­ton is the fa­vor­ite and King is the chief con­tender. It will be a chal­lenge for Frank­ford to win its third con­sec­ut­ive Pub­lic League AAAA cham­pi­on­ship. GW stands the best chance to win the Pub. In AAA, Im­hotep is the fa­vor­ite. In AA, Delaware Val­ley is the fa­vor­ite. Play­ers to watch in­clude Wash­ing­ton line­man Shareef Miller, Im­hotep WR D. J. Moore, TE Na­seir Upshur and QB An­dre Dreuitt-Parks and Del-Val Charter RB Nas­ir Bon­ner.

Around the Pub

AAAA 1

With just one re­turn­ing starter for the two-time de­fend­ing Pub­lic League AAAA cham­pi­on, Frank­ford is look­ing for a new set of play­makers to re­main among the top teams in The Pub. That re­turn­ing starter, DB Devontae Lee (5-11, 175, Sr.), is a ver­sat­ile ath­lete and play­maker and he fig­ures prom­in­ently on of­fense and de­fense. “He will be much more vi­tal in the of­fense,” says as­sist­ant coach Dave Ce­bu­lar. “He will play all over for us on of­fense and prob­ably even do some wild­cat from the quar­ter­back po­s­i­tion.” Head coach Will Dog­gett ex­pects im­port­ant con­tri­bu­tions from RB/LB Ral­ph Hy­land (5-8, 175, Sr.), who is a trans­fer from Cent­ral, DB By­shawn Jen­kins (5-10, 170, Sr.) and RB/DB Ruben Sim­mons (5-8, 155, Sr.). Hy­land rushed for 497 yards last sea­son. The Pi­on­eers en­joy a steady sup­ply of ath­letes with the speed to de­vel­op in­to play­makers on of­fense and de­fense. But they need line­men, es­pe­cially after DL Shareef Miller (6-5, 230, Sr.), a ma­jor col­lege re­cruit, trans­ferred to rival George Wash­ing­ton. “We should have kids that are ath­let­ic and well-put to­geth­er,” says Ce­bu­lar. “As a whole, the team will be in­ex­per­i­en­ced.”

Gratz jumps up in class from AAA to AAAA. QB/DB Musa Al-Suliamani (6-2, 180, Sr.) and RB/LB Chris Rhone (5-6, 205, Sr.) are two vet­er­an play­makers who give the Bull­dogs reas­on to be­lieve they’re ready to jump in­to the play­off race. Gratz has line­men with ex­per­i­en­ce and size and skill po­s­i­tion play­ers with ex­per­i­en­ce nd speed. Al-Suliamani had 947 yards passing and 10 TD passes last sea­son. Rhone had 614 yards rush­ing and scored nine TDs. Head coach Erik Zipay ex­pects the Bull­dogs to be one of the top teams in Pub­lic League AAAA. “We should be cap­able of play­ing with and beat­ing any­one in our di­vi­sion,” says Zipay. “We have a very sound first 20 kids.” OL/DE Raquan Thomas (6-4, 320, Jr.),  a ma­jor col­lege foot­ball pro­spect, and TE/LB Shawn Jen­kins (6-0, 220, Jr.) are two more of them. Jen­kins is a three-year starter who had 117 tackles last sea­son. Only in­jur­ies can de­rail the Bull­dogs, who lack depth be­hind starters.

Bok brought its foot­ball suc­cess and its crafty vet­er­an head coach Frank “Ro­s­coe” Nat­ale to South­ern last sea­son and both took hold im­me­di­ately. The Rams won nine games, the AAAA Sil­ver Di­vi­sion reg­u­lar sea­son cham­pi­on­ship and their first play­off game in nearly 50 years. Bok was the dom­in­ant team in Pub­lic League AAA and AA be­fore it closed in 2013. Nat­ale ex­pects RB/LB Quazi Jones (5-11, 185, Sr.), C/DL Rashaun Carter (6-2, 240, Sr.), FB/DT Justin Belle (5-10, 235, Sr.), WR/DB Nich­olas Cof­fie (6-1, 180, Sr.) to make ma­jor con­tri­bu­tions. “Last year’s team was a com­pil­a­tion of play­ers,” says Nat­ale. “We gradu­ated that team. This is a new team again. We played a lot of play­ers to get them used to my sys­tem of of­fense and de­fense. Hope­fully this will pay off this year.”

Cent­ral is ac­cus­tomed to the Frank­ford, George Wash­ing­ton and North­east level of fast and phys­ic­al com­pet­i­tion. To have a chance to win against those teams, head coach Rich Drayton says the Lan­cers must have a rush­ing at­tack that en­ables them to con­trol the clock. That could be a tall task for a team whose strength is its group of skill po­s­i­tion play­ers but whose short­com­ing is a lack of of­fens­ive line­men. QB Jeff Co­plin (6-0, 175, Jr.), WR/DB Jaron War­ing (6-0, 180, Sr.), OL/DL Shafique Cooley (6-1, 240, Sr.) and OL/DL Jeff John­son (6-3, 275, Sr.) are top play­ers for Cent­ral.

For Fels, re­turn­ing dual-threat QB Aasim Camp­bell (5-10, 170, Jr.) had a break-out sea­son as a sopho­more in 2013 when he had 1,439 yards passing and 16 TDs. He pro­duced al­most 1,800 total yards. With three ath­let­ic play­makers like combo RB/Slot­backs Kor­dell Robin­son (5-8, 170, Sr.), and Wes­ley White (5-4, 150, Sr.) and Khal­if Whi­taker (5-7, 145, Soph.) among sev­en re­turn­ing starters on of­fense, Fels has the of­fens­ive fire­power to de­mand at­ten­tion from the AAAA teams. OL/DE Curtis Fre­d­er­ick (6-1, 240, Jr.), and OL/DL Alv­in John­son (5-11, 220, Sr.) give the Pan­thers vet­er­ans on the line of scrim­mage. Head coach Bill Har­rigan says Fre­d­er­ick is the Pan­thers’ top line­man and de­fens­ive play­er. Har­rigan is push­ing the Pan­thers to pick it up on de­fense. “We’re ded­ic­at­ing ourselves to stop the run,” he says. “We want that to im­prove dra­mat­ic­ally.”

Tal­en­ted play­makers LB/WR Justin Free­man (6-1, 200, Sr.), WR/DB Ta’shawn String­field (5-10, 170, Sr.), WR Gary Gris­son-John­son (6-0, 175, Sr.) and FS Mar­quis Brox­ton (6-0, 175, Sr.) give Bartram head coach Jim Chap­man every reas­on to be­lieve that the Ma­roon Wave are more than dan­ger­ous un­der­dogs in AAAA. “We have a very strong group of ath­letes,” says Chap­man. “Kids who are will­ing to do whatever it takes to win. If we start off on the right foot, we turn some heads.”

Ver­sat­ile QB/WR/DB Der­rick McLean (6-0, 185, Jr.), WR Wadu Loper (5-10, 180, Sr.) and WR/DB Keon Robin­son (5-11, 165, Sr.) are re­turn­ing play­makers for Mast­baum. The strength of the Pan­thers is up front led by OL/DL Ed­ward John­son (5-10, 200, Jr.), OL/DL Tyi­us Cam­bell (5-11, 205, Jr.) and OL/DL Mar­quis Ross (5-10, 190, Jr.). There’s 15 re­turn­ing play­ers who star­ted or saw play­ing time last sea­son from a team that had 18 seni­ors. But they need to find more play­makers on of­fense. “We have more line­men with ex­per­i­en­ce than in all my years of coach­ing,” says head coach Ernie Diggs. The Pan­thers have had five straight los­ing sea­sons and Diggs says it’s time to end that streak. “I’m try­ing to get them over the hump,” he says.

AAAA 2

It’s no won­der George Wash­ing­ton is al­ways coun­ted among the fa­vor­ites to win the Pub­lic League cham­pi­on­ship. An­nu­ally stocked with plenty of tal­en­ted ath­letes in the back­field and on the line of scrim­mage on both sides of the ball, the Eagles don’t face the chal­lenges of many teams in the Pub. Depth isn’t the is­sue for Wash­ing­ton it is for oth­ers. So when DL Shareef Miller (6-5, 230, Sr.), the top ma­jor col­lege re­cruit in the Pub this sea­son, de­cided to trans­fer from Frank­ford to Wash­ing­ton, the rich just got rich­er. Now with Miller, who still has work to do with his stud­ies, teamed with re­turn­ing OL/DL Brandon Brown (6-2, 230, Sr.) and OT/DE Kev­in Ab­rok­wah ( 6-3, 220, Sr.), GW has the play­ers to claim the line of scrim­mage.  There’s a tested set of play­makers with RB/LB Shawn Hende­r­son (5-11, 225, Sr.), RB/DB Terry Hall (5-8, 165, Sr.), RB/DB Bruce Smal­ley (5-9, 175, Sr.) and WR/DB Don­nell Smith Miller (6-1, 180, Sr.). Now won­der head coach Ron Co­hen says the Eagles are go­ing back to their tra­di­tion­al game plan to simply run over op­pon­ents. “We’re go­ing back to Wash­ing­ton foot­ball,” says Co­hen. “More of what I’m used to. We’re go­ing to run the ball.” A start­ing QB needs to settle in but Co­hen says there won’t be a lot asked of him. “I like the kids’ chem­istry,” he says. “We’re not as tal­en­ted as last year, ath­let­ic­ally.”

Mar­tin Luth­er King head coach Ed Dunn de­serves a tip of the hat after bring­ing to­geth­er and coach­ing up the Ger­man­town and Mar­tin Luth­er King play­ers last sea­son and guid­ing them to a 10-3 re­cord and the Pub­lic League AAA cham­pi­on­ship. Ger­man­town had closed in the spring of 2013. King was 1-10 in 2012. Ac­cord­ing to ted­sil­ary.com, it was the greatest one-sea­son turn­around in Pub­lic League his­tory. The Cou­gars have vet­er­ans on de­fense but need to find skill po­s­i­tion play­ers to re­place dy­nam­ic play­makers in QB Joe Walk­er, RB Devonte Hunter and WR Delane Hart, who com­bined for nearly 2,500 yards on of­fense and gradu­ated. Hart fin­ished his ca­reer with more than 2,000 re­ceiv­ing yards. Dunn ex­pects first-year starters QB/DB Nas­ir Boykin (6-0, 180, Soph.), RB Ish­mael Dar­gan (5-8, 190, Sr.), RB Jann Gunter-Scott (5-10, 180, Jr.) and RB Tyreek Math­is (5-10, 175, Jr.) to pick up where Walk­er, Hunter and Hart left off. He ex­pects the de­fense to be sol­id, led by four play­ers who are ma­jor col­lege foot­ball pro­spects. DL/OL Dawayne Young (6-2, 290, Sr.), DB Donte Terry (6-0, 185, Sr.), LB/SS Jayni Har­ris (6-2, 195, Sr.), LB/SS Qur­on Tis­dale (6-0, 190, Sr.) are re­turn­ing starters. “These guys have been here,” says Dunn. “They have played to­geth­er. They’ve spend more time at the uni­fied school at King. Ger­man­town is in the past.” Young has schol­ar­ship of­fers from Temple and Delaware State and is on the radar screen of West Vir­gin­ia and Pitt. Terry has an of­fer from St. Fran­cis. WVU, Temple and Rut­gers are in­ter­es­ted in Har­ris. With his 4.5 40, Tis­dale is draw­ing re­cruit­ing in­terest.

QB/DB Asa Man­ley (6-0, 190, Sr.), TE/DE Gladi­mir Paul (6-3, 220, Sr.), LB Steven Rowe (6-1, 220, Sr.) and C/DL Charles An­der­son (6-1, 250, Sr.) are the cen­ter­pieces for North­east, which is a ser­i­ous chal­lenger to Wash­ing­ton and King in AAAA 2. Paul and Man­ley are ma­jor col­lege foot­ball pro­spects. Paul, who had 23 sacks last sea­son, has drawn schol­ar­ship of­fers from Towson, Al­bany, Vil­lan­ova, Delaware, Con­necti­c­ut, Mas­sachu­setts, Mon­mouth and Temple. Man­ley, who is rated among the Top 30 col­lege pro­spects in PA by the re­cruit­ing web­site 247, moves from RB to QB. He had 812 yards rush­ing last sea­son. An­der­son is an Ivy League pro­spect with his 3.6 GPA. Rowe led the Vik­ings in tackles last sea­son. Soph. Brandon Prid­gion (6-0, 160) is in the mix at QB. “We have a lot of ath­letes and team ex­per­i­en­ce,” says head coach Phil Gorm­ley. “We played a lot of guys last year. So we are look­ing for tha to help us this year. If we can get them all on the same page we can make some noise.”

Frank­lin head coach Dav­id Carter says re­turn­ing QB/DB Kev­in Cald­well (5-11, 190, Sr.) came back from the Peyton Man­ning Quar­ter­back Camp last sum­mer “a dif­fer­ent kid.” No doubt. He passed for 1,744 yards and 22 TDs—more yards than any oth­er Pub­lic League QB. So too were the Elec­trons a dif­fer­ent team. Last sea­son they had their first win­ning sea­son since 2008. With an ar­ray of re­turn­ing play­makers such as RB/LB Ed­ward Den­nis (5-11, 185, Sr.), WR/SS Ra­fael Rodrig­uez (6-0, 200, Sr.) and WR Javi­er Buf­falo (6-0, 175, Jr.) the Elec­trons of­fense will be dif­fi­cult to stop for any AAAA de­fense. LB Bri­an Har­vey (5-10, 170, Jr.) re­turns to lead the de­fense and OL/DL Taj Clea (6-3, 215, Sr.) re­turns as the top line­man. Rodrig­uez had 473 yards re­ceiv­ing and 11 TDs. Buf­falo had 676 yards re­ceiv­ing and 10 TDs. Den­nis had 540 yards rush­ing. “Har­vey lights you up on de­fense,” says Carter. “Den­nis can run between the tackles and hit a home run.”

Lin­coln head coach Ed Mc­Get­tigan ex­pects the Railsplit­ters to im­prove this sea­son which would get them over the hump. They fin­ished in second-place the past three sea­sons in AAAA Sil­ver di­vi­sion. Mc­Get­tigan over­hauled the of­fens­ive ap­proach last sea­son by in­stalling the spread of­fense. “Even though we are very young,” says Mc­Get­tigan. “We ex­pect to im­prove. It’s our second year run­ning the spread of­fense so we should be even bet­ter on that side of the ball.” QB/DB Hosea Mc­Clam (5-10, 175, Jr.), OL/DE Yusuf Robertson (5-10, 200, Sr.), OL/DL Theodore Tootle (6-3, 300, Sr.) and OL/DE Kenny King (6-4, 215, Jr.) are the top play­ers.

The cen­ter­piece for Ol­ney Charter is dual-threat QB/DB Kadir Chisholm (6-4, 190, Sr.),  who passed for 806 yards and 11 TDs and rushed for 233 yards and three TDs last sea­son. He also had two in­ter­cep­tions on de­fense. Oth­ers ex­pec­ted to make im­port­ant con­tri­bu­tions by head coach Mike An­do­lina in­clude RB/DB Sul­tan Johns (5-7, 160, Sr.), RB/LB Kev­in Cato (5-9, 220, Jr.) and TE/LB Justin Wil­li­ams (6-1, 175, Sr.). Wil­li­ams led the Tro­jans in tackles and Johns had two in­ter­cep­tions.

Roxbor­ough leaps up from AA to AAAA com­pet­i­tion this sea­son but that should help, not hurt, the In­di­ans caliber of play, says head coach Mike Stan­ley. “We thought we’d play bet­ter in the up­per di­vi­sions,” says Stan­ley. “It’s worth a shot. If it doesn’t work out, we can al­ways go back to AAA.” QB/DB Eduando Sanc­hez (5-10, 165, Sr.), RB/WR Ed­iton Wright (6-1, 215, Sr.), WR Donta Al­ston (5-9, 155, Jr.), OL/DT Nas­ir Top­ping (6-2, 255, Sr.) and LB Robert Taylor (6-0, 185, Sr.) are the top play­ers Stan­ley is count­ing on for an over­haul of the In­di­ans at­tack on both sides of the ball. “We have to get bet­ter at throw­ing the ball,” he says. “We have to be able to stop spread of­fenses.”

AAA

Ma­jor col­lege foot­ball re­cruit­ers have long made George Wash­ing­ton, Frank­ford and North­east routine stops on their re­cruit­ing trips through south­east PA. They’ve ad­ded Im­hotep Charter to their it­in­er­ar­ies. The Pan­thers have be­come a stock­pile of col­lege foot­ball pro­spects and one of the top teams in SE PA, re­gard­less of school size. “Our 2016 class is loaded with at least 12 Di­vi­sion I play­ers,” de­clares head coach Al­bie Crosby. And that group will fol­low this sea­son’s ar­ray of re­cruits led by WR D. J. Moore (6-0, 195, Sr.), LB Sha­quille Jones (6-2, 195, Sr.) and DE Qwamere Wright-Down­ing (6-1, 230, Sr.). Moore has com­mit­ted to Mary­land. Jones is de­cid­ing between com­mit­ting to Illinois, Cin­cin­nati, Buf­falo and James Madis­on among oth­ers. Wright-Down­ing has an of­fer from Mon­mouth. With four-year start­ing QB An­dre Druitt-Parks (6-2, 185, Sr.), who has passed for more than 3,100 yards in his ca­reer, while play­makers abound on of­fense and de­fense, the Pan­thers have their sights set on mak­ing an­oth­er run at reach­ing Her­shey in Decem­ber, even though they are step­ping up from AA to AAA, where de­fend­ing state cham­pi­on Arch­bish­op Wood looms in a po­ten­tial PI­AA Dis­trict 1 fi­nal. Im­hotep lost the PI­AA State AA cham­pi­on­ship game to South Fay­ette in 2013. “(State fi­nal) is al­ways go­ing to be a plan,” says Crosby. “This may be our best team ever. It’s their third year to­geth­er. There’s a lot of tal­ent. Good skill play­ers and of­fens­ive line­men.” As for the ju­ni­ors (Class of 2016), RB Tyl­iek Raynor (5-10, 185, Jr.), who cov­ers 40 yards in 4.3 seconds, has of­fers from Temple, Buf­falo and Rut­gers. OL John Carlo Valentin (6-5, 315, Jr.) has of­fers from Temple and Mas­sachu­setts. DE Shaka Toney (6-5, 220, Jr.) has of­fers from Buf­falo and Mas­sachu­setts and Vander­bilt has shown ser­i­ous in­terest. The biggest name in re­cruit­ing for the Class of 2016 in Pennsylvania is TE Na­seir Upshur (6-4, 230, Jr.). He’s rated among the top three tight ends na­tion­ally with as many as 18 schol­ar­ship of­fers from teams like Alabama, Michigan and South Car­o­lina. Crosby ex­pects the re­cruit­ing stock to rise for RB Mike Wa­ters (5-10, 185, Jr.), OL Yasir Dur­ant (6-7, 335, Jr.), DB Ter­rell Gil­lett (5-10, 170, Sr.), S Sei­fud­dine Black (5-11, 185, Sr.) and S Romeo Gunt (5-10, 195, Sr.) who trans­ferred from West Cath­ol­ic.

With sev­en re­turn­ing starters, de­fense is the strength of Mas­tery Charter North, which last sea­son won the AAA Di­vi­sion and then lost the play­off cham­pi­on­ship game to King. The Bull­dogs have moved quickly in­to the play­off mix in just three sea­sons of varsity foot­ball. DE/OL Isai­ah Free­man (6-0, 210, Sr.), DL/OL Dante Simms (6-0, 235, Sr.), DB/WR Id­ris Mateen (5-10, 165, Sr.) and ver­sat­ile ath­lete Taqee Ross (5-9, 171, Sr.) are the lead­ers on both sides of the ball. Free­man was in on over 100 tackles last sea­son. Bull­dogs head coach John Dav­id­son ex­pects the line­back­ers to be the cen­ter­piece of the de­fense.

Re­turn­ing starters for Boys’ Lat­in in­clude QB Troy Hester (5-11, 195, Jr.), RB Tony Hende­r­son (6-0, 190, Sr.), DB Clar­en­ce Row­land (5-11, 195, Sr.), OL/DL Ezekiel Ad­ens (5-9, 280, Sr.), Javon Ogelsby Rice (6-2, 190, Jr.), WR Mi­chael Ham­mock (6-2, 200, Sr.) and WR/DB Damere Gil­bert (5-9, 180, Sr.). Head coach Mike Rufo ex­pects the War­ri­ors, who lack size and depth but have a vet­er­an set of skill po­s­i­tion play­ers, to play “sol­id foot­ball” and con­tend for a play­off spot.

QB/DB Diamir Copes (6-0, 180, Sr.), RB/DB Chris­ti­an Jones (5-9, 170, Sr.), OL/DL Mar­cus Wright (6-0, 275, Sr.), OL/LB Joseph But­ler (5-10, 220, Jr.) are re­turn­ing starters for Dob­bins. The Mus­tangs have the ath­letes, speed and tested QB to grow in­to a con­tender for a play­off spot, say head coach Joe Sul­li­van. But they are short on line­men. “We should be more dan­ger­ous than the last couple of years with more of­fens­ive weapons,” says Sul­li­van.

QB Nas­ir Mick­ens   (5-9, 150, Sr.), Slot­back Quin­cey Fairy (5-10, 145, Soph.), WR Jameer Bryson (6-2, 185, Jr.), WR Clif­ford Brinkley (6-2, 195, Soph.), DB Bas­sey Uk­pong (6-0, 185, Sr.), OL Chris­toph­er Hayles (6-1, 280, Jr.) are the top play­ers for Over­brook. Head coach Rendell Ivory says the Pan­thers, who have back-to-back non-los­ing sea­sons, have the skill po­s­i­tion play­ers to win but need of­fens­ive line­men.

West Phil­ad­elphia has two big, strong and tal­en­ted line­men who, says head coach Frank Steed, will make an im­pact. OL/DE Kwadere Flem­ing (6-4, 295, Jr.), Teair “Pop” Tart Spen­cer (6-3, 290, Sr.), TE/LB (H, WT, YR) re­turn for the Speed­boys, who have a sol­id group of line­men and un­der­class­men.

High School of the Fu­ture steps up from AA to AAA this sea­son. QB/WR Ja­lil Neale-Sav­age (5-11, 185, Sr.), WR/DB Chris Bangura (5-9, 180, Sr.), WR/DB Shawn Up­son (5-7, 145, Sr.), OL/DE Robert Nobles (6-4, 300, Sr.) are the top play­ers for the Fire­birds. Head coach Eros Uth­man-Olukok­un says there’s a dy­nam­ic group of un­der­class­men but there’s a lack of depth on the of­fens­ive and de­fens­ive lines.

AA

One of the top RB re­cruits in PA, Nas­ir Bon­ner (5-10, 190, Sr.), who rushed for more than 1,700 yards the last two sea­sons, trans­ferred from Im­hotep to Delaware Val­ley Charter. With Bon­ner and the move by Im­hotep from AA to AAA, the path to a AA cham­pi­on­ship is paved for the War­ri­ors. RB/WR/SS Dwine Walls (5-10, 170, Sr.), OL Mikel Cherry (6-5, 290, Jr.) and DB Des­mont Pugh (5-10, 175, Jr.) re­turn. An­drew Sump­ter (6-4, 180 Jr.) and Shane Smith (6-2, 180, Jr.) are in the mix at QB. Head coach Troy Gore, the former Im­hotep as­sist­ant who re­placed Jamel New­ton, says the War­ri­ors have tal­ent in the skill po­s­i­tions. “We have mul­tiple play­ers who are cap­able of scor­ing from any­where on the field,” he says.

With four dy­nam­ic play­makers among 18 re­turn­ing starters, Prep Charter is toe-to-toe with Del-Val. The Huskies won their first-ever play­off games last sea­son and in­tend to take the next step this sea­son. A three-year starter, QB/DB Vi­an Dolo (6-0, 200, Sr.) has more than 2,400 yards passing in his ca­reer. RB/S Quadir Stroth­ers (5-8, 160, Sr.) rushed for more than 500 yards and nine TDs and had more than 160 yards re­ceiv­ing last sea­son. OL/DE Mar­quel Hardy (6-3, 300, Sr.) had 75 pan­cake blocks last sea­son. OL/DE Karamo Di­oubate (6-4, 260, Jr.) had 13 sacks and 25 tackles for a loss. The en­tire of­fens­ive line re­turns. Head coach Dav­id Hand says the Huskies have a “ton of tal­ent” among their first-year starters and backups. “Our kids really un­der­stand the tech­nique, con­cepts, work eth­ic that we’ve been in­stilling,” says Hand. “I think we are the team to beat in our di­vi­sion.”

Straw­berry Man­sion Prom­ise Academy launches its varsity foot­ball team this sea­son with head coach Steve Quigley. RB/DB Jyquan Owens (5-8, 165, Sr.), RB/DB Niyair McK­night (5-10, 145, Sr.), C/DT Yah­mir Ster­ling (6-0, 260, Sr.), DE Jer­rick Fripps (6-3, 160, Sr.) are the top play­ers for the Knights. Quigley ex­pects the RBs to emerge as the top play­makers while line­men de­vel­op.

Former South­ern head coach Scott Pitzn­er is head coach of The Academy at Palumbo, a first-year varsity team that in­cludes play­ers from Fur­ness, which won one game last sea­son in AAAA Gold Di­vi­sion. TE/WR/DE Mi­chael White (6-0, 165, Sr.), OL/DL Nigel McK­night (6-3, 250, Sr.), Deon Slo­cum (6-2, 250, Sr.) are the top play­ers for the Griffins. Pitzn­er needs to find a QB and RBs but he has con­fid­en­ce in the line­men. “The OL and DL should the strength of the team,” he says.

This is the first sea­son for varsity foot­ball for Kipp DuBois Col­legi­ate Academy. Head coach Kerry Di­as says the Lions began play last sea­son as a ju­ni­or varsity team that had a 7-3 re­cord. QB Do­mair Har­ris (5-10, 185, Sr.), RB Nazir Feller (5-6, 165, Jr.), RB Paul Bresil (5-11, 195, Sr.), WR Kyree Ruffin (6-3, 185, Sr.), OL/DL Haley Wilson (5-10, 215, Sr.), OL/DL Daiy­aan Wall­er (5-6, 160, Soph.), LB Eric Boat­wright (5-11, 205, Sr.) are the top play­ers for the Lions.

Pub­lic League

In­de­pend­ents

Joe Gif­ford re­places Paul Kabara as head coach of Edis­on, where times have been tough. Gif­ford is the fifth head coach in the last five years. The Owls had a 1-9 re­cord in the AAAA Sil­ver Di­vi­sion last sea­son—one loss was a for­feit be­cause their own play­ers were fight­ing with each oth­er. Their re­cord since 2007 is 4-59. Edis­on is play­ing as an in­de­pend­ent this sea­son. QB Jah­liel Hall (6-1, 180, Sr.) and RB/LB De­ion Nich­olson (5-11, 195, Sr.) are three-year starters. WR/DB Ra­heem Pa­gan (5-10, 175, Sr.), WR/DB Kwiese Barnes (5-8, 165, Soph.), OL Wil­li­am Dar­ri­ous (6-2, 240, Soph.) and LB Talib Adams (6-1, 220, Soph.) are first-year starters. “We’re op­tim­ist­ic but also real­ist­ic,” says Gif­ford, a former as­sist­ant coach at South­ern, Dob­bins and Over­brook, who is hop­ing to reign in and re­set foot­ball at Edis­on.

After three years of ju­ni­or varsity foot­ball, Kens­ing­ton is play­ing a varsity sched­ule as an in­de­pend­ent team in the Pub. RB/Slot­back Chris Dan­z­ler (5-10, 180, Sr.), OL/DL Josh “Dia­mond” Wil­li­ams (6-3, 260, Sr.), OL/DL Kyree “Big Man” Wade-Mc­Cle­an (6-6, 290, Jr.) are the top play­ers for the Ti­gers. Khyree Wise (6-0, 190, Sr.) and Shan­non “Squir­rel Man” Squire (5-7, 160, Sr.) are in the QB mix. As­sist­ant coach Sean Ry­an says Dan­z­ler is a play­maker who is “ex­cit­ing to watch.” Erb says the the Ti­gers have speed and tough­ness and are “hungry to start hit­ting at the varsity level.”

SUB­URB­AN

ONE LEAGUE

2013 Stand­ings

Amer­ic­an Con­fer­en­ce

Team  League  Over­all

Ply­mouth-White­m­arsh  7-0  8-3

Up­per Dub­lin  6-1  9-2

Wis­sahick­on  5-2  6-4

Chel­ten­ham  4-3  6-6

Spring­field Town­ship  3-4  5-5

Up­per Mo­re­land  2-5  5-7

Up­per Merion  1-6  3-7

Nor­ris­town  0-7  0-11

Con­tin­ent­al Con­fer­en­ce

North Penn  7-0  10-4

Cent­ral Bucks West  6-1  9-3

Pen­nridge  4-3  8-4

Cent­ral Bucks East  3-4  4-6

Quaker­town  3-4  7-5

Cent­ral Bucks South  2-5  4-6

Souder­ton  2-5  2-8

Hat­boro-Hor­sham  1-6  4-8

Na­tion­al Con­fer­en­ce

Penns­bury  7-0  10-2

Ne­sham­iny  6-1  13-2

Abing­ton  5-2  10-4

Coun­cil Rock North  4-3  7-4

Coun­cil Rock South  2-5  2-8

Tru­man  2-5  5-6

Ben­s­alem  1-6  1-9

Wil­li­am Tennent  1-6  2-8

Sub­urb­an One 11

RB D’An­dre Pol­lard    Ne­sham­iny

RB Josh Adams    Cent­ral Bucks South

OL Ry­an Bis­choff    Ply­mouth-White­m­arsh

DL Con­nor Guzy    Coun­cil Rock North

QB/P Brandon McIl­wain    Coun­cil Rock North

PK Matt Am­men­d­ola    North Penn

OL Frank Tran­zilli    North Penn

RB Ny­fease West    North Penn

RB Charles Snor­weagh    Penns­bury

OL/DL Alex Jordan    Cent­ral Bucks East

QB/DB Chris Stone    Spring­field Town­ship

Scout­ing Re­port

The Sub­urb­an One League has un­der­gone ma­jor re­align­ment. The new Na­tion­al Con­fer­en­ce is made up of the schools with the largest en­roll­ment in­clud­ing North Penn, Penns­bury, Ne­sham­iny, Souder­ton, Pen­nridge, Cent­ral Bucks South, Abing­ton and Ben­s­alem. In the Con­tin­ent­al Con­fer­en­ce is Tru­man, Coun­cil Rock North, Coun­cil Rock South, Cent­ral Bucks East, Cent­ral Bucks West, Nor­ris­town, Quaker­town and Wil­li­am Tennent. The Amer­ic­an Con­fer­en­ce in­cludes Ply­mouth-White­m­arsh, Hat­boro-Hor­sham, Up­per Dub­lin, Up­per Merion, Up­per Mo­re­land, Wis­sahick­on, Chel­ten­ham and Spring­field Town­ship. Penns­bury is the fa­vor­ite and North Penn the main con­tender in Na­tion­al. Coun­cil Rock North is the fa­vor­ite in Con­tin­ent­al. Cent­ral Bucks West and East are the top chal­lengers. Ply­mouth-White­m­arsh is the fa­vor­ite in Amer­ic­an with Up­per Dub­lin and Chel­ten­ham the main con­tenders.

Na­tion­al Con­fer­en­ce

Penns­bury is on a roll. The Fal­cons have won back-to-back Na­tion­al Con­fer­en­ce cham­pi­on­ships with a 14-0 con­fer­en­ce re­cord. They have the fire­power to re­main in charge. “Our strength is hav­ing ex­per­i­en­ce in all areas—of­fense, de­fense and spe­cial teams,” says head coach Ga­len Snyder. RB/S  Charles Snor­weagh (5-10, 175, Sr.), who has com­mit­ted to a schol­ar­ship of­fer from Rut­gers, OL/DT Aus­tin O’Neil (5-10, 260, Jr.), SS/FB  Vic­tor Del­gado (5-8, 175, Sr.), FS An­thony Pitt (5-11, 180, Sr.) and C Ma­son Houriet (6-1, 250, Sr.) are the top play­ers among eight starters re­turn­ing on de­fense and five re­turn­ing on of­fense. Last sea­son’s start­ing QB Breon Clark won’t be back. He’s moved to Bal­timore where he plans to at­tend St. Fran­cis Academy. Cody Ta­beek (6-0, 170, Sr.) and Robert Da­ley (5-11, 180, Jr.) are in the mix at QB. A four-year starter, Snor­weagh has 2,147 yards rush­ing in his ca­reer. There’s at least one speed bump lurk­ing for the Fal­cons. North Penn, which knocked the Fal­cons out of the PI­AA Dis­trict 1 AAAA play­offs last sea­son, re­joins the Na­tion­al Con­fer­en­ce. Penns­bury hasn’t beaten the Knights since 1996, a streak of 13 straight losses. “We get a chance to do it,” says Snyder. “That’s for sure.”

The re­turn of North Penn to the Na­tion­al Con­fer­en­ce sets up reg­u­lar sea­son show­down match­ups between some of the per­en­ni­al top teams in Pennsylvania that re­mind long­time fans of the old Power 10 Con­fer­en­ce. North Penn vs. Ne­sham­iny, North Penn vs. Penns­bury, North Penn vs. Pen­nridge. North Penn vs. Cent­ral Bucks South. North Penn vs. Abing­ton. High school foot­ball doesn’t get any bet­ter. The Knights have what it takes to take on the best. RB/S  Ny­fease West (5-11, 185, Jr.) re­turns after rush­ing for 1,596 yards and 12 TDs. The of­fens­ive line has four starters re­turn­ing in­clud­ing OL Frankie Tran­zilli (6-2, 275, Sr.) and OL/DL An­drew Thomas (6-2, 250, Sr.). DB/WR  Mike Liddy (6-0, 165, Sr.) and DB Mar­quise Wat­son (5-8, 165, Sr.) also re­turn. PK Matt Am­mon­dola (5-10, 185, Sr.), who kicked a state-re­cord 56-yard field goal, is back. Re­cruit­ers from Temple, Pitt, Rut­gers and Vil­lan­ova are watch­ing West. Thomas, Tran­zilli and Liddy are FCS pro­spects. The Knights need to settle on a QB and de­vel­op first-year starters at LB. “I really like us up­front of­fens­ive line-wise,” says head coach Dick Beck. “Three-four ex­plos­ive run­ning backs and full­backs that could make us dan­ger­ous.”

Tom Het­rick re­places Dave Rack­ovan as head coach at Cent­ral Bucks South. Rack­ovan resigned and is now the head coach and ath­let­ic dir­ect­or at The Hill School. The Ti­tans like their chances to be a ser­i­ous con­tender for the con­fer­en­ce cham­pi­on­ship when they get one of the top RBs in PA back on the field. Josh Adams (6-3, 210, Sr.), a Notre Dame re­cruit, is re­turn­ing from an in­jury that ended his 2013 sea­son after sev­en games. He has rushed for 2,823 yards in his ca­reer. RB De­ion Clifton (5-7, 160, Sr.), who rushed for 655 yards and four TDs last sea­son in Adams’ ab­sence, gives the Ti­tans depth at RB. Het­rick ex­pects S Luke Wiley (6-1, 180, Sr.), OL Jack Mum­mert (6-2, 295, Sr.), OL Dan Young (6-1, 245, Sr.) and DL Bill Do­nahue (6-2, 270, Jr.) to make an im­pact. QB Kev­in  Witchey (5-10, 170, Sr.) is a first-year starter at QB. In a backup role last sea­son, he passed for 276 yards and two TDs.

Ne­sham­iny has un­der­gone a ma­jor turnover in play­ers and coach. Mike Fre­d­er­ick re­places Mark Schmidt as head coach of Ne­sham­iny. Schmidt resigned and is now an as­sist­ant coach at La Salle. Gone from the de­fend­ing PI­AA Dis­trict 1 AAAA cham­pi­ons are 19 starters. “There’s a lot of un­knowns,” says as­sist­ant coach Neil French. There’s one im­port­ant proven piece still in place. The primary of­fens­ive threat last sea­son, RB D’An­dre Pol­lard (5-7, 170, Sr.), the PA AAAA Play­er of the Year ac­cord­ing to the statewide sportswriters vote, re­turns. Pol­lard rushed for 2,929 yards and scored 39 TDs last sea­son. French ex­pects first-year start­ing QB Ma­son Jones (6-0, 160, Soph.), OL/DL Hunter Kelly (6-2, 275, Jr.), WR/FS Den­zel Hughes (6-1, 170, Jr.) and TE/DE Billy Ritchey (6-2, 235, Jr.) to make an im­pact for the Red­skins. Not that the cup­board is bare. “There’s a lot of skilled play­ers who re­turn on of­fense and de­fense,” says French.

RB/DE Imeir Sim­mons (6-1, 215, Sr.), RB/SS Joe Un­angst (5-10, 180, Sr.), OL/DL Sifee Good (6-0, 240, Sr.) and FB/LB Judens Des­ro­siers ( 5-11, 210, Jr.) are the top play­ers for Pen­nridge. Head coach Jeff Hol­len­bach says the Rams have speed to that should help the de­fense im­prove. “That will also help on of­fense,” says Hol­len­bach. “However, most of our key con­trib­ut­ors last year were seni­ors.” The Rams need to settle on a QB and go-to RB to re­cov­er the of­fens­ive pro­duc­tion of  RB Mike Class and QB Matt Pasquale, who both gradu­ated after they com­bined for more than 3,000 yards of­fense last sea­son.

Re­turn­ing QB Dav­id Kretsch­man (6-0, 180, Sr.) passed for more than 1,000 yards last sea­son for Abing­ton. WR/DB Jordan Neely (5-9,160, Sr.), OL/DL Omar Peter­kin (6-2, 280, Sr.), FB/LB  Daron Boone (6-0, 195, Sr.) also re­turn for the Gal­lop­ing Ghosts. A ver­sat­ile ath­lete, Neely was the top wide re­ceiv­er, had two in­ter­cep­tions, re­turn­ing one for a TD, and re­turned two kick­offs for TDs last sea­son. Boone was the lead­ing tack­ler. Peter­kin had five sacks. Head coach Tim Sorber says there’s speed and vet­er­an LBs on de­fense and depth at RB and WR. But the Ghosts need to de­vel­op line­men.

WR/DB Mar­keem Gra­ham (6-1, 210, Sr.), OL/DE Evan Sweet (6-0, 270, Sr.), FB/LB Blake Gu­lar (5-9, 205, Jr.), HB/DE Nate Landes (6-1, 200, Sr.), HB/DB Jamar White (5-8, 165, Jr.), LB/TE Matt Pierce (6-0, 190, Jr.) and LB/OL An­drew Hor­ton (5-9, 200, Jr.) are among six starters re­turn­ing on of­fense and five re­turn­ing on de­fense for Souder­ton. Soph. Joey Cur­otto (6-0, 190), who also saw time at safety last sea­son, is in the mix to re­place his older broth­er A.J. at QB. At LB, Gu­lar, Landes and White com­bined for more than 1,000 yards rush­ing last sea­son. All Soph. starters at LB last sea­son, Hor­ton, Gu­lar and Pierce teamed up on nearly 100 tackles. In­di­ans head coach Ed Galla­gh­er ex­pects the In­di­ans to be in the pack chas­ing the con­fer­en­ce heavy­weights Penns­bury, North Penn and Ne­sham­iny. “With more ex­per­i­en­ce on of­fense,” he says, “ we should be able to score points, con­trol the clock and be very com­pet­it­ive.”

Ben­s­alem head coach Kev­in Kelly ex­pects the Owls to hold their own on the line of scrim­mage. OL Will Roller (6-5, 295, Sr.), OL Danny Da­less­an­dro (5-10, 280, Sr.) and OL Kyle Crane (6-0, 230, Sr.) re­turn. RB Devonte Portor (5-8, 175, Sr.), RB Matt Huffn­er (5-7,160, Jr.), WR Jordan Jones (5-11, 170, Sr.) and LB Ram­sey Traubolsi (5-11, 225, Sr.) also re­turn,

Con­tin­ent­al Con­fer­en­ce

Coun­cil Rock North has two ma­jor col­lege re­cruits and a group of vet­er­ans on both sides of the ball that make the In­di­ans a con­tender for the Con­tin­ent­al Con­fer­en­ce cham­pi­on­ship and a PI­AA Dis­trict 1 AAAA play­off spot. The out­look wouldn’t have been as bright in the Na­tion­al. A three-year starter and dual-threat, QB/DB  Brandon McIl­wain (6-1, 210, Jr.) has 2,979 yards passing and 1,309 yards rush­ing. Already he has been offered schol­ar­ships by 23 ma­jor col­lege foot­ball teams. DE/RB  Con­ner Guzy (6-4, 260, Sr.) has com­mit­ted to West­ern Michigan. Also re­turn­ing are RB/DB Chris Welde (5-8, 165, Sr.), a three-year starter who runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds, and SS/WR Mitch Maisel (5-11, 170, Sr.). The In­di­ans are sol­id at most po­s­i­tions on of­fense and de­fense but need to de­vel­op de­fens­ive line­men. “We will not be very big but we are ath­let­ic,” says head coach Adam Col­la­chi.

OL/DL Bri­an Miller (6-3, 265, Sr.), OL/SL Noah Hill (6-1, 240, Jr.) and OL/DL Con­ner Steele (6-3, 200, Sr.) re­turn to give Cent­ral Bucks West one of the most im­pos­ing of­fens­ive lines in Sub­urb­an One. If the Bucks find play­makers to re­place the nearly 3,500 yards of­fense that RB Mar­vin Todd and QB John Fritz pro­duced last sea­son be­fore they gradu­ated, they will be in the driver’s seat in the Con­tin­ent­al Con­fer­en­ce. The re­turn of WR/LB Matt Kilkenny (6-0, 190, Sr.) is a start to do that where just four starters in skill po­s­i­tions re­turn.  Kilkenny had 97 re­ceiv­ing yards, scored two TDs and on de­fense, in­ter­cep­ted three passes. “We have tre­mend­ous size and ex­per­i­en­ce on the of­fens­ive line and in the de­fens­ive front sev­en,” says head coach Bri­an Hensel.

Con­ner O’Keefe (6-2, 180, Sr.), who moves to QB from start­ing WR last sea­son, RB Alex Gib­son (5-10, 180, Jr.), who rushed for 1,236 yards and 16 TDs, OG/DT Alex Jordan (6-3, 275, Sr.), who has com­mit­ted to Buck­nell, LB Jack Lamb (6-0, 195, Jr.), LB Con­nor Pattyson (6-2, 190, Sr.) and LB Chris Kri­er (5-10, 180, Sr.) give Cent­ral Bucks East a strong set of vet­er­ans. Most of the lineup for the Pat­ri­ots will be first-year starters with just four re­turn­ing on de­fense and three on of­fense. LBs and skill po­s­i­tion play­ers are strengths. They need to de­vel­op line­men.

RB/DB Vin­cent Al­i­menti (6-1, 195, Sr.), OL/DL Con­ner Bru­netti (5-8, 210, Sr.), FB/DL Emeka Enog­we (5-9, 190, Sr.) and TE/DL Mike Crow­ley (6-1, 245, Sr.) are the top play­ers for Coun­cil Rock South. The Golden Hawks need to de­vel­op depth on both sides of the ball. Their triple op­tion of­fense can give any de­fense fits. “We like our chances to be very com­pet­it­ive,” says head coach Vince Bedesem.

QB Alex Vera (6-4, 185, Sr.), RB Rob Burns (5-10, 170, Jr.), WR Kyle Baskin (6-4, 170, Jr.), OL/DE Brett Graver (6-0, 240, Sr.), DE/OG Micah Jones (6-3, 210, Sr.) and  TE/LB Hunter Nice (6-2, 220, Sr.) are the top play­ers for Quaker­town. “Ex­pect us to be pretty seasoned,” says Pan­thers head coach George Banas. “The big ques­tion as al­ways is how our line per­forms.” Iron­ic­ally, Banas claims that the Sub­urb­an One re­align­ment worked in the Pan­thers’ fa­vor. They traded North Penn, Pen­nridge and the three Cent­ral Bucks teams for Nor­ris­town, Tru­man, Wil­li­am Tennent and Hat­boro-Hor­sham. “That be­ne­fits us,” he says.

Jon Craig re­places Ed Cub­bage as head coach at Harry S. Tru­man. RB/LB Trysten Hunt (5-9, 200, Sr.), RB/SS Brandon Hill (5-9, 190, Sr.), OL/DL Con­nor McAdams (6-1, 275, Jr.) and OL/LB Tim Kenny-Schwartz (6-1, 195, Jr.) are among sev­en re­turn­ing starters on de­fense and six on of­fense. Hunt and Hill are four-year starters. Hunt rushed for more than 550 yards on 70 car­ries for 7.9 yards per carry and was the lead­ing tack­ler with 51 tackles. Craig says the Ti­gers have a strong de­fens­ive unit and of­fens­ive line, where there’s four re­turn­ing starters. But skill po­s­i­tion play­ers, in­clud­ing QB, will be first-year starters. Jr. Mark Lopez (5-10, 170) and Soph. Jorden Free­men (5-10, 170) are in the mix at QB. Tru­man has nev­er played in the dis­trict play­offs but Craig be­lieves the Ti­gers are in a bet­ter po­s­i­tion than they have been now that they are in the Con­tin­ent­al Con­fer­en­ce and no longer have the Na­tion­al heavy­weights on the sched­ule. “Fair shot, bet­ter than in the past,” he says. “I feel very good about the dir­ec­tion we’ve moved in the last four years.”

Wil­li­am Tennent head coach ex­pects the Pan­thers to be much im­proved on both sides of the ball. QB Nik Banks (5-11, 185, Sr.), WR/QB John Ry­an (6-4, 180, Jr.), OL/DL Corey Schriver (6-2, 310, Sr.), TE/DE George Frog­gatt (6-1,190, Sr.) and RB/DB Macho Men­dez (5-7, 180, Jr.) are the top play­ers for Tennent which es­caped the gruel­ing Na­tion­al Con­fer­en­ce in re­align­ment.

Jason Pow­el re­places E. J. Smith as head coach of Nor­ris­town, which moves from the Amer­ic­an to the Con­tin­ent­al Con­fer­en­ce. QB Des­mond Gor­ski (6-0, 185, Jr.), LB Isai­ah Samuel (6-0, 210, Sr.), LB Joe Cross (5-8, 220, Sr.), the lead­ing tack­ler last sea­son, WR Ras­hon Wig­gins (6-1, 180, Sr.), OL Josh Heath (6-0, 265, Sr.) and RB Corey Dav­en­port (5-11, 175, Jr.) are the top play­ers for the Eagles, who have a 1-21 re­cord the last two sea­sons. Re­align­ment only made the chal­lenge to turn it around more dif­fi­cult. “The di­vi­sion does not bode well,” says Pow­el. “It will be a new day for us with a new style, new ap­proach, new of­fense and de­fense. Our work is cut out for us to lay a good found­a­tion for the fu­ture.”

Amer­ic­an Con­fer­en­ce

In the past 10 years, only North Penn (64-6) and Ne­sham­iny (56-14) have bet­ter win­ning per­cent­ages in Sub­urb­an One Con­fer­en­ce play than Ply­mouth White­m­arsh, which has won the last three Amer­ic­an Con­fer­en­ce cham­pi­on­ships and 22 straight con­fer­en­ce games. There’s no reas­on to be­lieve that any con­fer­en­ce rivals have closed the gap. OL/DL Ry­an Bis­choff (6-5, 310, Sr.) has com­mit­ted to Vir­gin­ia. RB/DB Nafeese Nas­ir (5-8, 160, Jr.), RB/LB Jake Win­ter­bot­tom (5-11, 190, Jr.) and OG/DT Steve Ko­vacic (6-2, 285, Sr.) also re­turn. There’s four starters re­turn­ing on the of­fens­ive line, led by Bis­choff and Ko­vacic. Head coach Dan Chang says the Co­lo­ni­als have ex­plos­ive ath­letes who only lack play­ing time. “The bull­seye is on our back from his­tory,” says Chang.

Up­per Dub­lin head coach Brett Stover de­clares that the Car­din­als will have a say about who wins the Amer­ic­an Con­fer­en­ce. FB/LB  John Lee (5-11, 200, Sr.), WR/DB Matt Thompson (5-9, 165, Sr.) and OL/LB Henry Wineb­rake (6-0, 215, Jr.) are re­turn­ing starters who made an im­pact last sea­son. Lee had more than 600 yards rush­ing and scored 12 TDs last sea­son. Thompson caught three TD passes. Wineb­rake was the lead­ing tack­ler. Ry­an Stover (6-4, 195, Jr.) is a first-year starter at QB/FS. Only eight seni­ors are on the roster so how quickly the un­der­class­men is crit­ic­al. “This group will be ex­tremely young and will have to grow up in a hurry,” says Stover.

Chel­ten­ham has the look of a dark­horse con­tender. Brandon Mack (6-4, 195) moves to QB from WR, where he star­ted last sea­son. RB/S Greg Mor­ris (6-0,185, Sr.), a four-year starter who had 1,075 yards rush­ing and scored 14 TDs last sea­son, is the cen­ter­piece on of­fense. OL/DE Jack Gor­don (5-10, 215, Sr.) is a three-way starter. OG/DT Jared Ap­ple­baum (6-0, 225, Sr.) was a two-way starter last sea­son. Vet­er­an head coach Joe Gro says there’s an “in­or­din­ate amount” of skill po­s­i­tion play­ers which has him count­ing “ifs” and think­ing that the Pan­thers are ready to spring a sur­prise on fa­vor­ites P-W and Up­per Dub­lin. “If we can go in­jury free,” he says. “If we can find line­men to give us some bal­ance.”

An im­pact play­maker on of­fense and de­fense for Up­per Mo­re­land, RB/DB Tyler Whit­more (5-10, 185, Sr. ) re­turns after more than 1,600 yards rush­ing, 400 yards re­ceiv­ing and scor­ing 23 TDs last sea­son. He also in­ter­cep­ted four passes, re­turn­ing three of them for TDs. OL/DE Colin Tice (5-10, 220, Sr.), OL/DL Shane Tice (5-10, 220, Sr.), TE/LB Colton Hook­er (6-2, 215, Sr.) also re­turn for the Bears who are bank­ing on speed and ex­per­i­en­ce of their vet­er­ans to stay in cham­pi­on­ship con­ten­tion. Josh Ab­rams (5-10, 180, Sr.) is a first-year starter at QB, who, says head coach Adam Beach, has tre­mend­ous prom­ise and lead­er­ship abil­it­ies.

Hat­boro-Hor­sham has vet­er­an fire­power and what head coach Mike Kapusta calls “a wealth of ex­per­i­en­ce in the skill po­s­i­tions” to chal­lenge the tra­di­tion­al fron­trun­ners in its first sea­son in the Amer­ic­an Con­fer­en­ce. QB Ca­sey Walsh (5-10, 155, Jr.) had 1,389 passing yards and nine TD passes last sea­son. WR/S John O’Mal­ley (6-1, 180, Sr.) had 60 re­cep­tions for 1,169 yards and 10 TDs. RB/DB  Kings­ley Nworu (5-7, 175, Jr.) had 565 yards rush­ing and scored six TDs.  OL/DE Luke Kwon (5-11, 250, Sr.) is also a re­turn­ing starter for the Hat­ters, who need of­fens­ive line­men.

Wis­sahick­on has strung to­geth­er three win­ning sea­sons un­der head coach Jeff Cappa. “We want to take the fourth year of the pro­gram and try to de­vel­op us as a con­sist­ent win­ning team,” says Cappa.  Looks like that’s in the cards with eight starters re­turn­ing on de­fense and play­makers re­turn­ing on of­fense. QB Mi­chael Marino (5-9, 160, Jr.), RB/DB Josh Smith (5-9, 170, Sr.), DL/OL Kyle Stein (5-11, 185, Sr.) and SS Colin Wil­li­ams (5-11, 195, Sr.) are re­turn­ing starters. Smith rushed for more than 600 yards and scored four TDs and ad­ded 184 yards passing and four TD passes last sea­son. Marino had 823 yards passing and sev­en TD passes. Stein was in on 42 tackles and Wil­li­ams had 33 tackles. Stein and Wil­li­ams each had two sacks.

QB/DB  Chris Stone (6-2, 175, Sr.), RB/LB Marten Wor­gan  (6-0, 185, Sr.), OL/DL Mar­tin Vido (6-1, 240, Sr.), OL/DL Louis Haase (6-3, 225, Sr.) and OL/DL Adam Hock­en­berry (6-2, 250, Sr.) are the top play­ers for Spring­field Town­ship, which is a AA team in a AAAA-dom­in­ated con­fer­en­ce. Head coach Chris Shelly ex­pects un­der­class­men will make an im­pact for the Spartans. “We have a lot of speed and po­ten­tial in skill po­s­i­tions,” says Shelly. “It’s a young and prom­ising sopho­more class who can have an im­me­di­ate im­pact.” The Spartans face a tough chal­lenge in the Amer­ic­an Con­fer­en­ce but should be a factor in the PI­AA Dis­trict 1-12 AA Sub­re­gion­al play­offs. Stone, who Shelly calls “dy­nam­ic”, re­turns after sit­ting out last sea­son.

QB/S Isai­ah Gra­ham-Mob­ley  (6-1, 200, Jr.), WR/DB Tyler Thornton (6-0, 170, Sr.), TE/LB Ry­an Thornton (6-4, 225, Sr.) and OL/DL Zach Lane (6-3, 295, Sr.) are the top play­ers for Up­per Merion. Head coach Har­old Smith says the skill po­s­i­tion play­ers are a strength for the Vik­ings.

PREP SCHOOLS

2013 Stand­ings

Mid-At­lant­ic Prep League

Team  League  Over­all

Blair Academy  5-0  6-2

Ped­die School  4-1  5-3

Lawrenceville School  3-2  5-3

Hun School  2-3  2-6

The Hill School  1-4  1-7

Mer­cers­burg Academy  0-5  2-6

After four years as head coach at Cent­ral Bucks South, Dave Rack­ovan re­places Grey Simpson as head coach at The Hill School, which com­petes in the Mid-At­lant­ic Prep League. OL/DL Tom Sivick (6-3, 240, Sr.), RB/DB Trey Humes (5-10, 180, Sr.) and RB/LB Kirk Cherneskie (5-10, 190, Pg.) are the top play­ers for the Blues. Rack­ovan says the Blues’ strength is skill po­s­i­tion play­ers but there is a lack of depth on the of­fens­ive and de­fens­ive lines. Lawrenceville School (N.J.) is the fa­vor­ite to win the league.

Perkio­men School plays as an in­de­pend­ent and is not a mem­ber of the PI­AA.  RB/DE Thomas Aaron (6-0, 205, Sr.), Ja’Ren Hamp­ton (6-4, 185, Jr.), OL/DL Quinn Kas­ner (6-3, 265, Jr.) and OL/DL Isai­ah Arm­strong (6-5, 350, Jr.) re­turn for the In­di­ans. Head coach Tom Cal­vario says the of­fens­ive line and line­back­ers should be a strength. “We’ll have some ex­per­i­en­ce re­turn­ing,” he says. “But over­all, we will be very young and in­ex­per­i­en­ced.”

George School did not re­spond to re­quests for in­form­a­tion.

PLAY­ER SPOT­LIGHT: Ry­an Bates

Arch­bish­op Wood OL Ry­an Bates (6-5, 285) is one of the top re­cruits na­tion­ally.

He is rated by the four prom­in­ent re­cruit­ing pub­lic­a­tions (Rivals.com, Scout.com, 247s­ports.com, ES­PN) among the top 180 re­cruits in the na­tion and among the top three re­cruits in Pennsylvania.

A con­sensus of those four pub­lic­a­tions rate him second only to St. Joseph’s Prep DB John Re­id among the top ma­jor col­lege foot­ball re­cruits in South­east Pennsylvania. Des­pite 16 schol­ar­ship of­fers in­clud­ing ones from Au­burn, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State and South Car­o­lina, Bates wasted no time mak­ing his de­cision in Feb­ru­ary to play for Penn State.

Bates is a power­ful, ten­a­cious block­er both on the line of scrim­mage and down field in Wood’s po­tent rush­ing at­tack.

Wood head coach Steve Devlin: “Ry­an has im­proved every year. He’s so ath­let­ic. He moves. He has a mean streak. He has great tech­nique. He’s a smart kid. He’s got all of the tools. He’s taken the own­er­ship of our of­fens­ive line. He’s got­ten the oth­er line­men to im­prove with him. They take pride in the quar­ter­back, run­ning backs and wide re­ceiv­ers get­ting all of the ac­col­ades.”

Bates took a break to have a con­ver­sa­tion about his de­cision to play for Penn State and the up­com­ing sea­son.

When and how did you reach the de­cision to ac­cept the schol­ar­ship of­fer from Penn State?

I at­ten­ded the Blue-White game in my sopho­more year (2013). The second or third time up there I fell in love with the place. It’s close to home—only about three hours from home. My par­ents can come see me play and sup­port me. It’s great aca­dem­ics. It’s one of the largest alumni as­so­ci­ations. It’s the second biggest sta­di­um. The fans. What’s not to like about Penn State?

What oth­er schools did you give ser­i­ous con­sid­er­a­tion?

For a while I knew I was go­ing to Penn State. There was South Car­o­lina. But there was no real com­pet­i­tion.

How much did play­ing for Coach Bill O’Bri­en or Coach James Frank­lin mean to you?

Not at all. I looked at the uni­versity. Coaches come and go. God for­bid I get hurt and can’t play. I have the uni­versity.

What about your im­pres­sions of Coach Frank­lin?

He’s a great guy. High tempo. High en­ergy. Great sense of hu­mor. I like be­ing around him.

Any sense you will have a chance to see play­ing time in your fresh­man year?

I’ll be play­ing against 22 and 23 year olds and they’ve been lift­ing. It would be awe­some. That’s every­one’s dream. They’re so low on depth on the of­fens­ive line with only 12 schol­ar­ship guys.

You’ve been part of Wood’s three straight PI­AA State AAA cham­pi­on­ship games and you’re de­fend­ing state cham­pi­ons. Wood’s pro­file is statewide. Every­one has ex­pect­a­tions of Wood win­ning the state cham­pi­on­ship again.

We play for the people around us. My team­mates and my coaches. There’s such a high level of tal­ent but we don’t look at state or na­tion­al rank­ings. They mean noth­ing to us.

Is the only meas­ure of suc­cess for this sea­son win­ning the state cham­pi­on­ship?

I feel like it kind of does. Our goal every year is to get to the state cham­pi­on­ship. We have good coaches who put in the time and ef­fort. Every­body else puts in the time and ef­fort. We’re there every day. It’s hard work. We may have taken two and one-half weeks off after the state cham­pi­on­ship game last year and we were right back in the weight room again work­ing to get stronger, try­ing to get bet­ter for this sea­son. It’s all the men­tal as­pect of the game. In your head, you have to be in­to it. Hope­fully, I will play the best foot­ball I have ever played.

- Gorden Blain

PLAY­ER SPOT­LIGHT: John Re­id

St. Joseph’s Prep DB/WR John Re­id (5-10, 180) is one of the top re­cruits na­tion­ally.

He is rated by the four prom­in­ent re­cruit­ing pub­lic­a­tions (Rivals.com, Scout.com, 247s­ports.com, ES­PN) among the top 125 re­cruits in the na­tion and among the top two or four re­cruits in Pennsylvania.

A con­sensus of those four pub­lic­a­tions rate him as the top re­cruit in South­east Pennsylvania. He has 17 schol­ar­ship of­fers in­clud­ing of­fers from Penn State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan and Miami (Fla.). He ex­pects to play de­fens­ive back in col­lege.

A four-year starter for The Prep, Re­id is a fast, smart and ver­sat­ile play­maker. He has a “nose” for the ball and a “knack” of mak­ing the play. His keen an­ti­cip­a­tion as an op­pon­ent’s play de­vel­ops is the res­ult of his dy­nam­ic com­bin­a­tion of ath­let­ic abil­ity and men­tal pre­par­a­tion.

In 2013, Re­id had 41 re­cep­tions for 698 yards and eight TDs. For his ca­reer, he has 13 in­ter­cep­tions, has re­turned two INTs for TDs, has two kick­off re­turns for TDs.

While watch­ing from the side­lines Re­id and St. Joseph’s Prep dom­in­ate Pitt­s­burgh Cent­ral Cath­ol­ic 35-10 to win the PI­AA State AAAA cham­pi­on­ship game last Decem­ber in Her­shey, then Penn State head coach Bill O’Bri­en was asked, “What do you think of John Re­id?” Without hes­it­a­tion, O’Bri­en answered: “He can play for us right now—to­mor­row.”

St. Joseph’s Prep as­sist­ant coach Bill Mor­ris: “John’s a stu­dent of the game. He’s al­ways watch­ing film, try­ing to im­prove his craft. He’s def­in­itely go­ing to take it very ser­i­ously. I’ve coached teams where the great play­ers know it and act like it. John’s very humble. He doesn’t act that way and doesn’t play that way. He’s a lead­er and does it in a humble way.”

Re­id took a break to have a con­ver­sa­tion about the re­cruit­ing and the up­com­ing sea­son.

When will you nar­row down your list of schools un­der con­sid­er­a­tion?

“I’m pretty open. I want to take my of­fi­cial vis­its. I haven’t set up the vis­its.”

What are the pri­or­it­ies that are part of your de­cision?

“The biggest thing is edu­ca­tion. The coaches I’ll be work­ing with. The en­vir­on­ment.”

How im­port­ant is the chance for im­me­di­ate play­ing time?

“Ob­vi­ously it means a lot to me. I’m not ne­ces­sar­ily wor­ried about play­ing time. I know my abil­it­ies, the know­ledge I have. We play a col­lege-style de­fense and even bey­ond. I’m not wor­ried about the trans­ition. Maybe the speed of the game I’m not sure about. “

Re­cruit­ing pub­lic­a­tions, the me­dia, foot­ball people have been talk­ing about you since the eighth-ninth grade…How much is the re­cruit­ing at­ten­tion try­ing your pa­tience?

“It gets rough some­times. Not talk­ing to the coaches but all of the oth­er phone calls. I like it when it’s con­stant foot­ball. I hap­pen to be blessed and I thank­ful for that. I love the learn­ing as­pect of foot­ball. It’s very ad­dict­ing for me.”

The Prep is now the de­fend­ing state cham­pi­on. With that comes ex­pect­a­tions. You’ve got to win it again. What’s the mind­set of you and your team­mates?

“Sure that’s our biggest goal. But we ex­pect to be­come the best play­ers and the best team we can be. If we do that, the rest will come. We hope that will mean a state cham­pi­on­ship. We’re bring­ing a lot more ex­per­i­en­ce this sea­son.

In the play­offs last sea­son, your team seemed to make big im­prove­ments each week. How did it come to­geth­er like that?

When we’ve had losses, we cor­rec­ted the mis­takes. Each week we got closer and closer as a team. We got bet­ter and bet­ter in some as­pect.

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