With Week 1 of the high school football season kicking off this weekend, here’s a closer look at the seven Northeast-area programs:
For a guy who ran for 2,055 yards and 21 touchdowns a season ago, Samir Bullock has mastered the art of being humble. That, says his head coach at Archbishop Ryan, is the measure of the man.
When he was still a little-known assistant football coach at Northeastern University, Frank McArdle remembers the uneasy nervousness on one of his first recruiting trips to the Philadelphia area.
Joe Hansbury already had a college scholarship locked up, but he wanted something more.
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.
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.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Mark Ostaszewski Jr. is a two-way senior standout at Archbishop Ryan; in 1990, his father also competed for the Raiders.
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.