When the high school football City All-Star Game rolls through town, there are no shortages of things to play for.
With the end of the regular season nearly upon us, here is a closer look at the state of some of the area’s top baseball programs on the eve of the postseason (records through Monday):
Gerry Eck rattled off plenty of adjectives to describe his ascension from Archbishop Ryan baseball player to head coach.
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.
The Archbishop Ryan coaching staff had a strong yet simple message for the Raiders’ football team after their Thanksgiving Day battle with Far Northeast rival George Washington.
They don’t award championships for winning on Thanksgiving. But for the Archbishop Ryan and George Washington football teams, victory in their annual Far Northeast showdown would be a welcome, yet bittersweet consolation prize.
As the blowout victories continued to mount in the first month of the season, so too did the confidence and expectations of Archbishop Ryan football supporters.
Outlook: The Railsplitters have sandwiched the season’s only win (a 6-2 victory in Week 2 over Overbrook) around two ugly losses, first a 47-21 defeat at Truman to open the year followed by last week’s 31-0 shutout at the hands of Upper Dublin. Lincoln hasn’t seen much develop in its rushing attack (LeRon Strothers leads the way with 56 yards on 20 carries), but QB Devon Thompkins has shown signs of improvement in taking over for the graduated Miguel Sanchez. Though he’s thrown only one TD pass so far, Thompkins has completed 28 of 60 passes for 306 yards, and is developing a nice chemistry with Ryan transfer Travon Williams, who has caught half of Thompkins’ passes for 164 yards. Head coach Ed McGettigan’s team will continue trying to get better when it opens up Class AAAA Silver Division play at South Philadelphia; after two defeats to open their season, the Rams responded last week with a 33-14 win over Valley Forge Military Academy.
No longer the down-in-the-dumps team from the past, the Raiders appear poised for a promising 2013.