Joseph doing it through air and ground at Judge

Father Judge senior Katob Joseph switched over to running back this year after being one of the Catholic League’s top players last year.

Katob Joseph leads the Crusaders in receiving and is tied with Shane Dooley for team lead in rushing. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Katob Joseph didn’t think he’d have a lot to learn this year.

Joseph, a senior on the Father Judge High School football team, came into the season as one of the top players in the Catholic League.

Last year, he starred at wide receiver and defensive back, so much so that he earned All-Catholic honors at both positions.

He figured he’d come into his senior year and be the best at those two positions.

Then he was asked to make a change.

“We had some running backs, but our guy from last year was Tim Weldon and he graduated, so we didn’t have a guy coming back,” Joseph said. “I was really surprised when they asked me. And a little nervous. I knew I was good at receiver and defensive back, but I didn’t know about running back.”

Joseph wasn’t convinced it was the right move, but he has faith in Judge coach Mike McKay and he trusted his decision.

He also had faith in himself, and while it was a much different job, he was ready to try it.

“The biggest thing is you’re doing something completely different,” said Joseph, who caught 42 balls for 705 yards during his junior season. “At receiver, you just use your quickness to get off the ball and then catch it. At running back, you have to use your speed, but you have to be patient. You have to wait for things to happen and then make your move. You have to be more patient at running back.”

It didn’t take Joseph long to show the world that he can be just as good behind the quarterback as he could out wide.

After rushing for 22 yards in the Crusaders’ first game of the season, a win over Ridley, Joseph went for 241 yards in front of a packed house at Ramp Playground in Judge’s first true home game ever. Judge lost to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 56–46, but Joseph accounted for more than 350 yards of total offense and he found the end zone five times.

It wasn’t fun losing, but it was fun to put on a show in front of the Crusaders’ fans.

“Everybody knew I was a receiver, but I think a lot of people were surprised I was playing running back,” Joseph said. “It was packed, and everyone was having fun because it was a fun game to watch. It would have been more fun to win, but I did like playing in front of that kind of crowd. We didn’t get crowds like that even when we would play at Northeast. This was a home game, for real.

“I think it was exciting because we were playing there for the first time, and when we both started scoring a lot, the crowd was into it. But I wanted to win. We’re playing every game like it’s important, we’re not just worried about league games. We want to win every time we play.”

Judge lost to Germantown Academy 31–21 on Friday, but the league schedule, along with their annual affair against Abraham Lincoln, will be what determines if the Crusaders have a successful season and those games are all still coming up.

According to Joseph, the Crusaders have what it takes to hang in there against the best teams the Catholic League has to offer.

“We are much better this year because we are older,” Joseph said. “I try to be a leader and we have a great quarterback, Shane Dooley. Me and him are close on the field, off the field, in the classroom.

“We’re always texting, trying to figure out ways to get everybody hyped. We work really well together. He knows where I’m going to be, and I know where he’s going to put the ball. We worked well together last year and we’re even better this year. We just work so well together. It really helps to have him.”

It also helps that the Crusaders have an experienced line this year after starting a mostly novice squad a season ago.

That will help, but Judge still plays one of the toughest schedules in the city, so it won’t be easy.

“It’s fun playing that schedule,” Joseph said. “We play against the big three, St. Joe’s Prep, Wood and La Salle, and then we play Ryan and Roman. All of them are so tough. Every week, you’re playing against guys who are going to play in college, so that motivates you.”

Joseph hopes to play college football next year and he’s open to playing any position, but if he has his choice, he’ll move back to wideout, where he first made his name in the Catholic League.

But he also hopes this year he’s able to display his versatility that will help him in college.

“I’ll do whatever, but if they let me pick my position, it’ll be receiver because I love lining up against a great defensive back and going one on one or having good teams double team you because they know you’re tough to stop,” Joseph said. “I’m not sure what I want to major in because sometimes I like science, but I also want to do criminal justice. I have time to decide. I just want to have a chance to play in college and get an education.”

And, of course, keep putting on a show.

“This year has been a lot of fun, and I think it’s just going to get better,” Joseph said. “Our first few games have been fun, but we’re getting better every day.”