The Father Judge junior was hesitant to switch positions to wide receiver and cornerback, but he’s become one of the team’s best.
At first, Katob Joseph looked at it as a demotion.
It turned out to be the greatest move he could have made.
Joseph, a junior wide receiver and cornerback on the Father Judge High School football team, came into his sophomore year as the Crusaders’ running back. He didn’t do too bad, but after a few games, the team made some lineup changes. One of them was moving him from the backfield to wideout.
“I was kind of upset because everyone in the Philly area knew me as a running back,” Joseph said. “I played that position my whole life. I loved playing running back, and I was a little nervous and a little scared about changing positions. I didn’t want to do it.”
It turned out to be a great move for Joseph, who this year was one of the best receivers in the Catholic League.
Joseph was named second-team All-Catholic at wideout, and was also a second-team defensive back for the Crusaders, and had the team enjoyed more success he may have nudged his way onto the first team.
He would have enjoyed the first-team accolades if it meant more success in the standings. His goal is wins, not individual success.
“Making All-Catholic is great, but I was way more worried about winning as a team,” said Joseph, who has more than 600 yards and five receiving touchdowns along with two kickoff return touchdowns on the year.
“When my coach called me, I got a call from my head coach and my receivers coach to tell me I got it. It’s a huge honor, but it would have been nice if we won a few more games.”
Judge is 3–8 on the year, including a lopsided loss to St. Joe’s Prep in the first round of the Catholic League AAAAAA playoffs in its last game. But Joseph and the Crusaders will look to end the season on a winning note when they travel to Abraham Lincoln for the annual Thanksgiving Day contest.
The Railsplitters haven’t won this game since 1989, but this year won’t be a cakewalk for the Crusaders because Lincoln has talented tailback Sam Karr, who has caused opposing defenses fits all year.
“Lincoln is a good team, they have some players who are very good and we know how good their running back is,” said Joseph, who notched two interceptions on the season. “I think our defense is up to the challenge. It’s always fun to play them because everybody comes out and watches. It’s a fun game and I think it will be a good game, but I’m confident in our team.”
Joseph is looking at the game as a chance to send his senior teammates off on the right foot, but he’s also looking at is as a preview of the 2018 team.
Judge came into the year with question marks at many positions, but its biggest unknown was the offensive line, which entered the year with very little experience.
The Catholic League Red Division doesn’t offer a whole lot of time to get comfortable with teams like St. Joe’s Prep, La Salle and Archbishop Wood, all of which are nationally ranked among Catholic school programs.
Learning time is officially over.
“We were inexperienced, but we’re not now, so I’m looking at Thanksgiving as the first game of next year,” Joseph said. “We had all year to get ready, now we’re playing for next year. But it’s also a chance for the seniors to have a great game before they leave. It’s a chance for everyone to end the year on a great game.”
The good news for the Crusaders is next year they’ll return a strong passing combination of Shane Dooley and Joseph.
The pair have been working together since the team started playing in a 7-on-7 summer league, and the chemistry has been getting better every time they take the field.
“Our offense was good because we had good players like Timmy Weldon at running back and the other receiver, Steve Arrington, is very good,” Joseph said. “And I love playing with Shane. He’s a great quarterback by the way, it’s not because he has good players around him, but together, we know what we’re going to do. I’ll just look at him and he knows when to get it to me.
“He’s great when we run jet sweep, too, because he knows exactly when to get me the ball so I can get to the sidelines and take it up. He’s such a good player. I’m really excited about what we can do next year.”
But before he can worry about 2018, he has to worry about the Railsplitters.
“Everyone loves this game because it’s the last one of the season,” Joseph said. “I think we’re all hoping to end the year on a good note and give us some good feelings about next year.”