Passing all the tests

Fox Chase resident Paul Dooley decided to play football at West Chester after almost committing to another school, and it’s the best decision he could have made.

Eyes down field: Paul Dooley (right) enjoyed a fantastic career at Springside Chestnut Hill, and now he’s putting up massive numbers at West Chester University. PHOTO: SCOTT ROWAN

Paul Dooley is never afraid to call an audible.

After all, it’s what put him on the path to a great college career.

When he was a senior at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, he had full intentions of going to the University of Pittsburgh to continue his football career. Before he made it official, he got a phone call from West Chester that changed everything.

“Pittsburgh runs a pro-style offense, and I got a call from West Chester and they were more of a spread offense, which is what we ran at Chestnut Hill,” said Dooley, a 2015 graduate of SCH. “That phone call was the best call I could get. It’s such a perfect fit for me. When I was in high school, we threw 30 or 35 times a game. I love the spread offense.”

In high school, Dooley put up crazy numbers as a senior. According to tedsilary.com, he set Inter-Ac records for career touchdown passes with 50 and scoring passes in a season with 27, and his 2,325 yards during his final year were also a league record.

He’s now doing the same in college.

After redshirting his first year, the Fox Chase resident saw some time last year, though mostly in wildcat sets, meaning he was more of a runner than a passer.

This year, he’s back doing what he does best.

Dooley leads a Golden Rams offense that is putting up 39 points per game. And the offense runs through his arm. He is throwing for 218 yards per game and thus far has 14 touchdowns in six games. The Rams are 5–2 on the season, but Dooley missed a game with a high-ankle sprain. They’re also 3–1 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

“I wanted to play, but they said if you don’t take care of it and get it better, it’s something that could bother you all year,” Dooley said. “So I sat out. We have good players, so it was OK, but it is hard watching. You’ll see a play and think maybe you could have helped it go a different way. But we won the game, and the other guys did great.”

Dooley is just as quick to throw out praise as he does hit receivers in stride.

In fact, he’s a lot more comfortable talking about the success of his teammates than he is about his own triumphs.

“We sling the rock around, and there are so many playmakers,” Dooley said. “Last year, I just ran it, but this year, every play there are guys who can make plays. Whether it’s a checkdown or a long pass, the guys make plays. There are so many good players on this team, and the line does a good job, too. We have everything we need.

“We have a top offense, and it’s because every guy on the field can make plays. Receivers, running backs, a great tight end. Everybody on the team can play.”

Dooley has learned over the years that while he might be a key cog in the offense, he isn’t the entire unit.

During his days at Chestnut Hill, his team squared off against fellow Inter-Ac schools, and many of those squads were among the best in the city.

Brothers in arms: Paul Dooley (left) has worked with his brother Shane, who is the starting quarterback at Father Judge. PHOTO: SCOTT ROWAN

“I think there were times when I tried to do too much, and you can’t do that,” Dooley said. “You can only play your position and do that. You can’t worry about everything. We had 32 guys on the team and were playing great teams. I had to learn you can’t get mad, you just go out and try to do whatever you can, and the biggest thing is be a great teammate to everyone. That’s the best thing you can do.”

He’s now sharing that advice with his younger brother, Shane, who is a junior quarterback at Father Judge.

“I’ve done a lot of the things he’s doing now, so I try to help him,” Dooley said. “He’s good. He’s learning like I did. I just try to help him. Even when they played Chestnut Hill, I was telling him everything I could. You have to take care of your brother.”

He’s also taking care of business in the classroom.

The 21-year-old is a business-finance major, and the numbers he’s putting up in his classes rival the statistics he’s posting on the football field.

“School is very important to me because I’m going to be one of the first Dooleys to graduate college,” he said. “My dad was a great athlete, and he was playing basketball at Philly (University) but he had me so he had to work. I’m happy I have a chance to get a college degree because of all my parents did for us.”

Now he’s trying to follow in his father’s footsteps to be the leader the Golden Rams need.

So far, it’s going great.

“We have 11 guys on offense and 11 guys on defense doing the job together,” Dooley said. “I’m trying to be a leader because when you’re the quarterback, it’s a leadership position, but we’re lucky, we have a lot of good players.

“We want to win the PSAC. It’s a tough league, but we can do it. We are playing well and we’re getting better.” ••