Shane Dooley didn’t win any championships during his senior year.
But it would be hard to find a player who was more of a winner.
Dooley was a do-everything on the Father Judge High School basketball team this year, but he got a late start because during the fall, he was leading the Crusaders on the football field.
In football, his team finished 3-8, but Dooley was one of the most exciting players in the city. While going up against the best competition in the state for most of the season, Dooley rushed for 12 touchdowns and threw for 18 more. According to tedsilary.com, Dooley was involved in 30 of Judge’s 36 offensive touchdowns.
He also piled up the yardage, rushing for more nearly 600 yards while throwing for 1,800 more.
The record wasn’t what he wanted it to be, but the season couldn’t have been any better in any other way.
“We battled, it was tough some games,” said Dooley, who lives in Fox Chase.
Basketball season was a mirror image.
The swingman started for the Crusaders and did everything he could to help Judge compete in the balanced Catholic League, and as the season went on, the better the team did.
Dooley helped Judge win four of its last six games to help the Crusaders get into the playoffs. There, Judge fell to Archbishop Carroll in a first-round game, but it was a much better showing than last year, when Judge lost so many close games that they missed the playoffs.
“Last year was really hard because we were good, but we lost a lot of games that we could have won,” Dooley said. “Making the playoffs is so much better. This year, we had a chance to win games and get to the Palestra. We lost, but we still had a good year.”
It’s a good thing Dooley had a fun season during the winter because it’s almost a certain that the lifelong basketball player has played his final game, at least for his school.
Next year, Dooley is headed to West Chester, where he will continue his football career. He’s looking at red-shirting his freshman year at the college, where he’ll likely learn from the starter, a guy he knows pretty well.
Dooley’s brother, Paul, is the starting signal-caller for the Golden Rams. It will be a reversal of roles for Shane, who this year played with his younger brother Aidan, a sophomore who also played both football and basketball at Judge.
But Paul better not get too complacent in his spot at West Chester because baby brother is coming in to play.
“I know I’ll learn a lot from him, but I want to start, too,” Dooley said with a laugh. “I’m going to red-shirt a year, so that will give me time to learn from him. He’s really good, so it will help me to have him around.
“I liked everything about the school, and it is fun to play with him. I played with him before when I was in eighth grade, I practiced with the (Springside Chestnut Hill Academy) team. He helped me then, too.”
Dooley spent this year helping Aidan get up to speed in both sports. Shane started since he was a sophomore in both basketball and football. This year, he made sure to pass on whatever he could to his brother, but he insists his brother didn’t need a lot of mentoring.
“He’s really good at both sports, I don’t know what he’s going to do in the future,” Dooley said of his younger brother. “I kind of knew when I was a freshman or sophomore that I was going to play football. I just always loved it. I’m not saying I didn’t love basketball, but I’ve always loved football more. He could do either, I think.”
While Dooley’s senior season didn’t produce a championship in basketball, he did play well, earning Second-Team All-Catholic for his role on the young team.
But Dooley wasn’t the only star on the team, and the strange thing was there were only four seniors on the roster. Most of the players on the team will be back to the mix, including a strong sophomore class that includes his brother.
Next year, he’ll be a spectator but he’s expecting big things.
“We were so young this year, and it’s hard to play in the league when you’re young,” Dooley said. “They were good and they got better. Next year, I’ll go to a lot of games, especially when I’m home over winter break.”
But for now, he is looking forward to graduation and playing for West Chester.
The competition is strong in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, but that’s nothing new for Dooley. He was playing against the best players in the area for almost all of his high school career.
“The teams you play in the Red Division definitely have you ready,” said Dooley, who also played linebacker. “La Salle, Wood, St. Joe’s Prep, they all have Division I players. They’re really good teams. All of the teams make you better. They have great athletes. If you can play with them, I think you can play with anyone.”
Dooley is ready to get back on the football field, but he is going to miss his days at Judge.
“I love it here,” Dooley said. “This was a great year. Football was tough, but we had a good year, and basketball, we got back to the playoffs. I’m going to miss it a lot.”