Last Week: 53–0 win over Bensalem
This Week: vs. Chichester, at Northeast High School (Saturday, 7 p.m.)
Outlook: The suddenly resurgent and supremely high-flying Raiders of Archbishop Ryan made it three convincing wins in a row after last Thursday’s 53–0 rout of Bensalem. In three games so far this season, head coach Frank McArdle’s bunch has outscored opponents 132–27, thoroughly dominating both sides of the ball. This Saturday evening’s contest against Chichester will be the Raiders’ final non-league tune-up before mighty La Salle comes knocking the following week. Chichester, of suburban Boothwyn, Delaware County, will make the trip to the Northeast following Saturday’s 44–36 loss to Delco Christian. The defeat was Chichester’s first of the season, winning its first two contests 21–14 and 24–7, respectively.
The Eagles will certainly have their hands full with the white-hot Raiders, who displayed another dominant performance against Bensalem. Tailbacks Samir Bullock and Sean O’Donnell combined for 232 yards rushing and five touchdowns, while quarterback Mark Ostaszewski was efficient in completing 5 of 8 passes for 152 yards and a TD (he added 63 yards rushing on just five carries). A veteran, stout offensive line is creating time and space for Ryan’s offensive playmakers, as Bullock has already racked up 609 rushing yards and seven TDs in just three games. WR/DB Bobby Romano has tallied five touchdowns himself (three receiving, one kickoff return and a punt return), while safety/wideout Connor Golden hauled in three catches for 117 yards and a score in the win over Bensalem. The Raiders are off to one of the program’s best starts in recent memory, and hope they can continue rolling over Chichester heading into the titanic clash with La Salle.
Last Week: 37–0 win over Northeast
This Week: at SCH Academy (Saturday, 1 p.m.)
Outlook: After getting off to a rocky first half that saw his team trail 30–3 in the season-opener at Episcopal, rookie head coach Mike McKay’s Crusaders have responded with 10 consecutive excellent quarters. After fighting back against Episcopal (Judge ultimately fell 30–22), the Crusaders blanked their next two opponents, first dispatching Council Rock South, 31–0, before steamrolling Northeast, 37–0, on Friday. Judge has used a two-headed rushing attack of senior Marquis Seamon (280 yards, five TDs) and sophomore Yeedee Thaenrat (299 yards, three scores), while junior QB Zach Carroll has thrown for 222 yards and two TDs. Just as in the case of Archbishop Ryan, Judge has used a formidable offensive line, led by center Tom Bayer, to put up crooked numbers on offense. On defense, Thaenrat also has two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. Judge will face a strong test in SCH Academy, which plays in the Inter-Ac League, same as Episcopal. So far, SCH Academy is a perfect 3–0, including wins over Washington and a 27–26 overtime win at Central. The Blue Devils are led on offense by running back Kyle Lawlor (335 yards, 4 TDs), quarterback Paul Dooley (352 all-purpose yards, 8 TDs) and wideout Dylan Parsons (148 yards on eight catches, four of which were touchdowns), so it will be a tall road task for a Judge defense that hasn’t allowed a point in 10 quarters.
Last week: 42–14 loss vs. Archbishop Wood
This week: at Northeast (Friday, 6:30 p.m.)
Outlook: After three straight lopsided losses against strong opponents (Downingtown East, Pennsbury and Archbishop Wood), the reigning Public League champions hope to open Public AAAA Gold Division play on the right foot against Northeast, which is also 0–3 on the season. Head coach Will Doggett’s team has struggled on both sides of the ball thus far, as well as with turnovers and penalties that the Pioneers are hoping to clean up now that league/division play has arrived. After watching former quarterback Tim DiGiorgio set records in his two seasons under center, senior Marquise Poston is still getting acclimated to the position, completing just 18 of 69 passes thus far; however, he did have his best showing against Wood, tossing his first two touchdown passes of the season (despite going just 4-for-19) and rushing nine times for 72 yards. The Pioneers boast two running backs capable of having big games in seniors Quinton Ellis (118 yards) and Damion Samuels (120 yards) against a Northeast team that is banged up and had difficulty stopping the run against Judge. Samuels, who had just one yard on 10 carries against Wood, is still looking for a breakout performance to build on his junior year numbers of 692 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Last week: 37–0 loss vs. Father Judge
This week: vs. Frankford (Friday, 6:30 p.m.)
Outlook: Through three games, first-year head coach Phil Gormley’s Vikings are just as young as they were when the season opened; now, Northeast is dealing with a rash of injuries, so much so that senior John Diaz, listed as a WR/DB on the roster, had to suit up at quarterback against Judge as starter Teddy Fils-Aime did not play. And despite his young team’s 0–3 start, Gormley has seen signs of improvement, and he told the Northeast Times before the season that the Vikings wouldn’t measure the progress of the first three games (against three very tough opponents) solely on wins and losses. Gormley, a Northeast assistant from 1998–2008 who spent the last two seasons as head coach of Jenkintown High School, figured his team would take its lumps early on. But the Vikings showed flashes of putting things together in a tight 15–13 Week 2 loss to Council Rock North, led by freshman running back Keith Moore’s 153 yards rushing. Now that division play has arrived, Gormley and the Vikings are hoping to catch familiar foe Frankford off guard, especially with the Pioneers reeling a bit themselves after an 0–3 start.
Last week: 34–14 loss vs. West Chester Henderson
This week: at Furness (Saturday, noon), at South Philadelphia (10th & Bigler streets)
Outlook: Head coach Ron Cohen, who has had so much success at Washington in his 29 seasons at the helm of the Eagles program, is in unfamiliar territory after an uncharacteristic 0–3 start. The Eagles opened the season with a 28–13 loss at SCH Academy, followed it up with a 38–17 loss against West Catholic and concluded with last week’s 34–14 loss at the hands of West Chester Henderson. Cohen is hoping his usually vaunted defense can clean things up against Furness, which has moved up from the Silver Division and will face the Eagles in the team’s first Gold Division contest. Furness, like every other team in the Gold not named Central, is also off to an 0–3 start, but lost its last two games against Roxborough and Chester by just a combined 10 points. Furness is led by running back Kharee Ruley (292 yards, 3 TDs) and QB Khaliq Shuler (425 all-purpose yards, 3 total TDs), so the Washington defense will need a much better showing in order to help the team get its first win. Against WC Henderson, running back Akinyeli “Ken” Everage had his best game of the season, amassing 102 yards on 18 carries, and while QB Cedric Wright’s numbers regressed, he did have a 14-for-25 performance for 158 yards against West Catholic in Week 2. If Washington is to win, the Eagles will likely need big performances and then some from its high-flying wide receiver duo in seniors Rasheed Black (9 catches, 153 yards) and Hassan Brockman (13 catches, 164 yards). Despite having two big-time playmakers at wideout, Eagles QBs (Wright and John Santos) have combined for just one TD pass in three games thus far this season.
Last week: 52–22 loss vs. Truman
This week: at Central (Friday, 3 p.m.)
Outlook: Unfortunately for Bill Harrigan’s defense, which has allowed 153 points in three losses thus far, the 2–1 Central Lancers come knocking on Friday afternoon. Central is the only team in the Gold Division to win a game in 2013, as the other five have combined to go 0–15. The Lancers’ only blemish is a 27–26 overtime loss to SCH Academy; in the other two games, they throttled their opponents, first School of the Future, 54–22, and then Mastbaum, 35–0. Even worse news for Fels is that Central has three backs who have already eclipsed 100 yards rushing in Walter Pegues (358 yards, 4 TDs), Ralph Hyland (138 yards) and Quinn Burke (132 yards), bad news for a defense that has had trouble keeping teams out of the end zone early on in the season. Luckily for Harrigan, the Panthers still have senior Jylil Reeder, who followed up his school record-breaking 208 yards receiving day against Penn Charter with 119 more on eight catches against Truman. In fact, Reeder has scored seven of Fels’ nine total TDs in 2013, five through the air, one on the ground and a pick-six in the season-opener against Abington, so the Panthers will need every bit of his all-around production to be able to knock off Central, which also happens to be his head coach’s alma mater. Reeder’s otherworldly play has also helped in the emergence of QB Aasim Campbell, who in his two games under center has completed 23 of 40 passes for 378 yards and five TDs (Reeder has all five TD catches, as well as 327 of the yards).
Last week: 31–0 loss vs. Upper Dublin
This week: at South Philadelphia (Thursday, 6 p.m.)
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.