Back in early January, in the moments following a 29-point home loss to eventual Catholic League champion Roman Catholic, Sean Tait hoped for two things.
The next step: On Feb. 5, the Archbishop Ryan community celebrated three football players signing National Letters of Intent to continue their football careers in college. From left: school president Michael McArdle, Joe Hansbury (Mercyhurst College), Connor Golden (Bucknell University), Sean Boylan (West Chester University) and head coach Frank McArdle. The trio helped the Raiders to one of their most successful seasons in recent memory; though they did not qualify for the Catholic League playoffs, Ryan went 8-3 overall, including impressive wins over powerhouse programs St. Joseph’s Prep and Archbishop Wood. It was the second straight winning season at Ryan, as the football program is in the midst of an impressive turnaround. Golden played safety and wideout (10 interceptions, five receiving TDs in his senior season); Boylan was a captain and played tight end and defensive end; Hansbury was also a captain and a big part of an offensive line that helped junior running back Samir Bullock rush for 2,055 yards and 21 touchdowns.
For the Archbishop Ryan girls basketball team, it was a good news/bad news type of scenario.
Playing in the Public League’s top basketball division offers a varying list of pros and cons.
On the road to victory: On Feb. 7, it was a day of celebration at Father Judge, as four student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent. From left: Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs Jim Green; All-American soccer player Joey Hansen (La Salle University); standout soccer midfielder Ryan Nork (also La Salle University); defensive lineman Eric Drains (Villanova University); offensive/defensive lineman Kevin Lang (Millersville University); and Father Jack Kolodziej, Assistant Principal for Student Affairs. Hansen led the Crusaders with 13 assists, and Nork was an integral part of bringing Judge a Catholic League soccer championship. Drains was Second-Team All-Catholic as a defensive tackle and shined as a leader since transferring from Franklin Learning Center as a junior. Lang, a force on both sides of the ball for the football team, also participates in indoor and outdoor track for Judge.
On paper, an 18-4 basketball team playing one with an 8-15 record seems like a tremendous mismatch.
Last season, in his first as George Washington’s boys basketball coach, John Creighton got the Eagles to the playoffs before suffering a first-round exit. This year, he got them back there again, only this time, G.W. knocked off Olney on the road in the first round, advancing to play the imposing Lancers of Central in Tuesday’s Class AAAA semifinals.
Caroline Price had been carrying the scars for more than a year.
George Washington’s junior basketball class had never played in a Public League playoff game prior to Thursday. The postseason newcomers sure had a funny way of showing it.
Editor’s note: Northeast was eliminated from postseason play by Southern on Tuesday after this story went to press.