Northeast Times

Are you ready for some football?

With Week 1 of the high school foot­ball sea­son kick­ing off this week­end, here’s a closer look at the sev­en North­east-area pro­grams:

Cath­ol­ic League:

Class AAAA

Fath­er Judge Cru­saders

Head coach: Mike McKay, second sea­son (Ca­reer: 7-4)

Last sea­son: 7-4 over­all, 2-2 league

Post­season: Lost in AAAA semis (35-0 to La Salle)

Key losses: RB/DB Mar­quis Sea­mon; LB Joe Nig­ro; TE Jim Galasso; OL Tom Bay­er; OL Kev­in Lang; OL Jeff Mills; DL Eric Drains; WR Ar­ren Mon­tele­one; K Con­nor Fo­ley

Play­ers to keep an eye on: Jr. WR/S Yeedee Thaen­rat; Sr. OL Tim Breslin; Sr. OL Dan Sipps; Sr. QB Zach Car­roll; Sr. WR/DB Prince Smith

2014 sched­ule: at Ry­an; at North­east; vs. St. An­thony (NY); vs. SCH Academy; vs. Wash­ing­ton; at Fels; at Ro­man; vs. St. Joseph’s Prep; vs. La Salle; at Lin­coln

Coach says: “I like our speed at skill po­s­i­tions, re­ceiv­ers and sec­ond­ary, as well as the amount of re­turn­ing guys that got good, valu­able ex­per­i­ence last year. Also, I like our size on the of­fens­ive line. It’s not proven yet, but if we can stay healthy and keep that group work­ing to­geth­er, it could be a nice unit. We’re not deep yet, and our backups are young, so stay­ing healthy can make a dif­fer­ence.”

Class AAA

Arch­bish­op Ry­an Raid­ers (note: Ry­an dropped from AAAA to AAA this sea­son)

Head coach: Frank McArdle, sixth sea­son (Ca­reer: 22-33)

Last sea­son: 8-3 over­all, 1-3 league

Post­season: None

Key losses: QB Mark Os­taszewski; LB Jesse Wire­man; DB/WR Jason Dones; LB Con­nor Rooney; DB/WR Bobby Ro­mano; DE/TE Sean Boylan; FS/WR Con­nor Golden; OL/DL Joe Hans­bury; OL/DL Nick Werez; OL/DL An­drew Voro­s­cak

Play­ers to keep an eye on: Sr. RB/DB Samir Bul­lock; Soph. QB/FS Matt Ro­mano; Sr. WR/DB Seneca Wil­li­ams; Soph. WR/DB Jeremy Smith; FS/LB Jason Wa­gh­er; DE Dylan Dop­kin

2014 sched­ule: vs. Fath­er Judge; at Haver­ford School; at Ben­s­alem; vs. Ro­man; at Wood; vs. Bon­ner-Pren­die; at Car­roll; vs. O’Hara; at West Cath­ol­ic; at Wash­ing­ton

Coach says: “We lost a lot of ex­per­i­ence, as far as tal­ent goes, but we’re very ath­let­ic. We’ll go through some grow­ing pains, but it won’t be as big a hit as every­one thinks. The kids we have had a very ded­ic­ated off­season, and they be­lieve in the pro­gram. We want to build off last year, which is about get­ting to the play­offs and win­ning a few games. You can nev­er really tell how things are go­ing to go, but this is my fa­vor­ite group that I’ve ever coached. They’ve done everything right: show up on time, work hard and do all the little things. We’ll make some mis­takes, but we think we’ve got something spe­cial go­ing on. Where it shakes out, we’ll see.”

Pub­lic League (All teams Class AAAA):

Liberty Di­vi­sion

Frank­ford Pi­on­eers

Head coach: Will Dog­gett, fourth sea­son (Ca­reer: 25-10)

Last sea­son: 8-4 over­all, 5-0 league

Post­season: Won Pub­lic League cham­pi­on­ship (30-3 over Wash­ing­ton)

Key losses: RB/DB Quin­ton El­lis; RB/DB Dami­on Samuels; WR/DB Juwan Man­ning; QB Mar­quise Po­ston; DE Shareef Miller; WR/LB Wydell Compton; DE/TE Rob Sim­mons; OL/DL Unique Dav­is; OL/DL Kadar Jones; OL/DL Car­los Saldana; OL/DL Javez Baker-Hall; RB/DB Alex Can­delario; WR Rene Her­rera; RB/TE/LB Qahire Moore

Play­ers to keep an eye on: Sr. QB/WR/DB Devontae Lee; Sr. WR/DB Danny Kor­gany; DB/QB/WR Naim Frank­lin; DT/OT James Bond;

2014 sched­ule: at Down­ing­town East; at Penns­bury; at Mast­baum; at Lin­coln; vs. Gratz; vs. Cent­ral; at Bartram; vs. North­east; vs. South­ern; vs. Prep Charter

Coach says: “We are a young team that needs lots of fun­da­ment­al work, but I have a great group of coaches who love teach­ing the game of foot­ball. I think we will get bet­ter as the year goes on.”

Samuel Fels Pan­thers

Head coach: Bill Har­rigan, sev­enth sea­son (Ca­reer: 24-45)

Last sea­son: 4-8 over­all, 2-3 league

Post­season: Lost in AAAA first round (50-14 to South­ern)

Key losses: ATH/DB Jy­lil Reed­er; DL/LB Ben­nie Smith; RB/LB Joshua Ruiz; WR/LB Ken­non Whi­taker; OL/DL Jimmy Cruz

Play­ers to keep an eye on: Jr. QB/DB Aasim Camp­bell; Sr. OL/LB Quentin Bush; Sr. ATH/LB Kor­dell Robin­son; ATH/DB Ed­ward Ab­ney; Sr. OL/DL Dar­rel Robin­son

2014 sched­ule: vs. Penn Charter; at Wil­li­am Tennent; at Gratz; vs. Frank­ford; vs. South­ern; vs. Fath­er Judge; at Cent­ral; at Mast­baum; vs. Bartram

Coach says: “We have a good core of guys re­turn­ing at the start­ing po­s­i­tions, but like many teams we lack depth. On of­fense we have a lot of ver­sat­il­ity at the skill po­s­i­tions, which should al­low us to ex­cel des­pite the de­par­ture of last year’s di­vi­sion MVP Jy­lil Reed­er. The team’s no-huddle of­fense hopes to con­tin­ue to cre­ate big plays in both the run­ning and passing games. We have made a strong com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing our de­fense this year and hope that it will al­low us to be in a po­s­i­tion to win every game come the fourth quarter. If this team is able to re­main healthy and con­tin­ues to im­prove de­fens­ively, we could sur­prise a lot of people.”

In­de­pend­ence Di­vi­sion

Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln Railsplit­ters

Head coach: Ed Mc­Get­tigan, fifth sea­son (Ca­reer: 21-27)

Last sea­son: 5-7 over­all, 3-1 league

Post­season: Lost in AAAA first round (39-22 to North­east)

Key losses: RB/CB Dam­arkus Jones; WR/DB Travon Wil­li­ams; OL/DL Cody Kettyle; QB Devon Thomp­kins

Play­ers to keep an eye on: Jr. QB Hosea Mc­Clam; Sr. OL/DE Theodore Tootle; Sr. OL/DE Yusef Robertson; Sr. WR/LB Aaron John­son; Sr. C/DL Ma­lik Pitts

2014 sched­ule: vs. South­ern; at Dob­bins; vs. King; vs. Mast­baum; vs. Ol­ney; vs. Frank­lin; at North­east; at Wash­ing­ton; at Roxbor­ough; vs. Fath­er Judge

Coach says: “We’re young and in­ex­per­i­enced on both sides of the ball and need to re­place a lot of key guys. That said, our goal is the same as it’s been in the five years I’ve been here, and that’s to make the play­offs, something we’ve done the last three years. Of­fens­ively, it will be our second year run­ning the spread of­fense, so hope­fully we can go faster and a bit more up-tempo, which would help us a great deal. De­fens­ively, we have two of our line­men back, but we’re re­pla­cing all of the line­back­ers and sec­ond­ary. We don’t have a lot of depth, which is one of my con­cerns. We’re go­ing to have to coach them up and teach them the right ways to do things. To reach our goal, we’re go­ing to have to work really hard.We want to start out right and get to the play­offs … that’s what we’re striv­ing for.”

George Wash­ing­ton Eagles

Head coach: Ron Co­hen, 30th sea­son (Ca­reer: 255-78-2)

Last sea­son: 5-6 over­all, 4-1 league

Post­season: Lost in Pub­lic League cham­pi­on­ship (30-3 to Frank­ford)

Key losses: QB Cedric Wright; RB Ken Ever­age; WR/DB Has­san Brock­man; WR/DB Rasheed Black; OL/DL Zaire Holler­way; OL/DE Tyr­one McNeil

Play­ers to keep an eye on: Sr. DE Shareef Miller; Sr. FB/LB Shawn Hende­r­son; Sr. DE/C Brandon Brown; Sr. RB/DB Terry Hall; Sr. OL/DL Kev­in Ab­rok­wah; Jr. K Chris Schle­gel; Sr. RB/DB Bruce Smal­ley; Jr. RB/LB George Hub­bard

2014 sched­ule: vs. SCH Academy; vs. O’Hara; at Roxbor­ough; at North­east; vs. Fath­er Judge; vs. Ol­ney; vs. Frank­lin; vs. Lin­coln; at King; vs. Ry­an

Coach says: “Last sea­son humbled me. The at­mo­sphere at prac­tice is dif­fer­ent now, and we’re not an ‘I’ team as we had been the last two years. These kids real­ize they’re nev­er as good or bad as they think they are. They’re en­thused and work­ing hard, and I’ll put my 11 against any­one else’s. We have to be in shape, and we can’t get down or point fin­gers. We’ll get bet­ter as the sea­son goes on,  I know we will.”

North­east Vik­ings

Head coach: Phil Gorm­ley, second sea­son (Ca­reer: 5-7)

Last sea­son: 5-7 over­all, 3-2 league

Post­season: Lost in AAAA semis (17-13 to Wash­ing­ton)

Key losses: WR/DB Nat­wan Curtis; K/P Tyler Gorm­ley; WR/DB John Diaz; OL/DL Wil­li­am Okrafo-Smart; OL/DL An­thony Pul­li­am; RB/DB Bri­an Green

Re­turn­ing play­ers to keep an eye on: Sr. QB Asa Man­ley; Sr. DE/TE Gladi­mir Paul; Soph. RB/DB Keith Moore; Sr. OL/DB Steven Rowe; Jr. OL/DL Vince Strat­ton; Sr. OL/DL Charles An­der­son

2014 sched­ule: at Abing­ton; vs. Fath­er Judge; at Frank­lin; vs. Wash­ing­ton; vs. Roxbor­ough; at King; vs. Lin­coln; at Frank­ford; at Ol­ney; vs. Cent­ral

Coach says: “Last year we were ex­tremely young, so we know bet­ter what to ex­pect this time around. I’m real happy at the dir­ec­tion of the pro­gram. People should ex­pect to see a Pub­lic League team as good as there is with kids that work hard. They play with a lot of en­ergy, and they know their as­sign­ments. I ex­pect us to be very com­pet­it­ive and dis­cip­lined, and hope­fully at the end of the sea­son we have an op­por­tun­ity to get in­to the play­offs and play deep. Every­one is su­per ex­cited, but we don’t want to push them too far over the edge. We want them to work hard, but at the same time re­mem­ber they’re kids who are here to have fun.”

You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

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