Area football continues opening phase Thursday; St. Frances gets rare home challenge


After collecting the Lambert Trophy in Leonardtown last weekend, Mount St. Joseph, with Tony Atkins (left), Tyler Leavy, Jordan Oliver and Marlowe Wax, is headed to Atlantic City Friday for a non-league match against Holy Spirit.

by Derek Toney

After a couple of opening matches last weekend, the Baltimore-area football schedule expands this weekend with several private schools hitting the gridiron for season kickoffs.

Two-time defending MIAA B Conference champ St. Mary’s debuts along with perennial local powers Archbishop Spalding and McDonogh School. Nationally-ranked St. Frances Academy plays its first home game of the season.

It’s full blast next weekend as public schools begin play.

WEEKEND PREVIEWS

St. John Paul the Great (VA) at Concordia Prep

When: Thursday, 4 p.m.

Overview: The Saints begin the weekend slate. After reaching the MIAA C final last season, the Towson school has moved up to the B Conference.

Senior defensive back Deonte Ferguson, a Baltimore Touchdown Club Super 22 selection and all-MIAA C linebacker Jarren Terry will try to put the Saints (9-3 last season) into contention in the B in 2019.

St. John Paul the Great finished 4-5 last season, closing the campaign with two straight victories. The Wolves defeated Concordia Prep, 19-8, in 2017.

 

Bishop O’Connell (VA) at Archbishop Curley

When: Friday, 4 p.m.

Overview: The Friars hope they can continue on build on last season’s momentum in their 2019 debut. Curley defeated John Carroll School in the regular season finale to end 2-8 last year. The Friars will look to junior quarterback Koffi Kwaw and senior defensive back Josh Knapp, both all-MIAA B picks last fall, to try and put them into playoff contention this season.

Knapp is also a Baltimore Touchdown Club Super 22 pick.

O’Connell (3-9 last season), despite a losing record, reached the WCAC Metro Division title game last year. Kenny Lucas, who won two MIAA B titles at Annapolis Area Christian, is O’Connell’s new coach.

 

Mount St. Joseph (1-0) at Holy Spirit (0-0)

When: Friday, 4 p.m.

Overview: After a successful trip to Southern Maryland in their debut last weekend, the Gaels head north to Atlantic City. The Irvington school retained possession of the Lambert Cup with a 35-20 win over St. Mary’s Ryken.

Syracuse University commit Marlowe Wax rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns, and junior quarterback Billy Atkins threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns. DaShawn Jones had two interceptions and Tyler Leavy finished with two sacks for the Gaels’ defense.

Holy Spirit of Absecon, NJ went 8-4 last season, winning the West Jersey Football league Royal Division and reached the New Jersey Non-Public II state final. Running back Elijah Gray returns for Holy Spirit after rushing for 1,233 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, and wide receiver Ahmad Brown holds offer from Navy and Bucknell.

 

St. Albans School (DC) vs. Severn School

When: Friday, 4:30 p.m.

Overview: The Admirals make their 2019 debut, hoping for a reversal of fortunes. The Anne Arundel County squad went 2-7 last season after winning eight games in 2017.

The Admirals will look to seniors Joe Kanowski (running back/defensive back), Jayden Queen (wide receiver/defensive back) and Loukas Sotiropulus (running back/linebacker). Severn lost its final five decisions last season.

St. Albans is hoping for a fresh start after dropping its final eight games last year. Senior wide receiver/defensive back Jaden Coffren is one of the top players in the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC), and has offers from Columbia, Penn and William & Mary.

Severn defeated St. Albans, 26-22, last season.

 

Annapolis Area Christian School vs. Mount Carmel

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Eastern Regional Park

Overview: Annapolis Area Christian, the newest member of the MIAA B after winning the C title last season, opens 2019 against former C rival Mount Carmel. Senior quarterback Ryan Idleman and senior wideout Jeremiah Taylor, both all-C league performers in 2018, will lead AACS.

With AACS and Concordia Prep departing for the B, the C league was dissolved, leaving Mount Carmel (2-5 last season) and St. John’s Catholic Prep to play an independent schedule in 2019.

AACS defeated Mount Carmel, 28-14 and 7-0, last season.

 

Amir Jenkins and Calvert Hall will try for a 2-0 start Friday against St. Vincent Pallotti.

Calvert Hall College (1-0) vs. St. Vincent Pallotti (1-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Fairland Regional Park

Overview: The Cardinals and Panthers meet in the first MIAA non-conference match after successful road debuts last weekend.

The Cardinals defeated Woodland Hills (PA), 44-20, near Pittsburgh. Raymond Glass rushed for two touchdowns and junior quarterback Amir Jenkins ran for a score and threw for another. Calvert Hall, which is expected to contend for the MIAA A title in 2019, extended its winning streak to eight since last season.

Pallotti made history in its 20-0 victory over West Toronto Prep, in the first high school football game played in the Canadian city. Mehki McDaniels rushed for two scores, and Connor Maloney returned a blocked punt 77 yards for another score.

Emani Alford rushed for 107 yards for Pallotti, which is expected to contend for the MIAA B crown after losing to St. Mary’s in the final last season. Calvert Hall defeated Pallotti, 37-7, last season.

 

Spalding, with Matt Pellicano, Jalin Justine and Jahmeer Carter, makes its 2019 debut at home against Pennsylvania’s Bishop McDevitt.

Bishop McDevitt (1-0) at Archbishop Spalding (0-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Overview: The Cavaliers make their 2019 debut. After a 7-3 showing last season, the Severn school is looking to contend for the MIAA A Conference title with junior quarterback Austin Tutas (quarterback), Delaware State University commit Jalin Justice (linebacker), Virginia commit and Baltimore Touchdown Club Super 22 pick Jahmeer Carter (offensive/defensive line), linemen Wyatt Pellicano (BTC Super 22 selection) and junior running back/defensive back Jayon Venerable, who’s committed to Maryland.

McDevitt opened its season with a 35-21 victory over Philadelphia’s Central. Quarterback Lonnie Rice, who’s committed to Buffalo, accounted for all five McDevitt scores while accumulating more than 300 yards of total offense.

 

Curtis Jacobs and McDonogh are ready to atone for a subpar 2018 campaign as the Eagles take on defending Philadelphia Inter-Ac League champ Malvern Prep Friday evening.

McDonogh School at Malvern Prep (PA) 

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Overview:  The Eagles make their 2019 debut. The Owings Mills school is looking to rebound from a 3-6 showing last season with Penn State commit Curtis Jacobs (linebacker/wide receiver), senior quarterback Kris Jenner (Columbia), senior Giovanni Procaccini  (defensive back/wide receiver), senior Jackson Bonitz (running back/linebacker) and senior linemen Chase Kirol and Beau Bedard.

Last season, Malvern Prep became first team in more than a century to post an 11-0 mark in Philadelphia’s Inter-Ac league. Quarterback Lonnie White, who’s committed to Clemson for baseball, will lead Malvern Prep, ranked No. 7 in the Philadelphia area by the Philadelphia Inquirer, along with seniors William Redden (offensive/defensive line), Brendan Flynn (offensive/defensive line, Issac White (wide receiver/defensive back) and junior Steven Rose (running back/defensive back).

 

Defending MIAA B Conference champ St. Mary’s, with Will Berzins (left), Alex Wicks and Tommie McKoy, begins its campaign Friday evening at Episcopal Academy in Pennsylvania.

St. Mary’s at Episcopal Academy (PA)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Overview: The Saints, the two-time defending MIAA B champs, take to the field for the first time in 2019. The Annapolis school will be led by center Will Berzins, a 2019 Baltimore Touchdown Club Super 22 pick after earning all-league honors last fall along with returning all-league performers Alex Wicks (running back) and Dhane Blair (defensive back) and BTC Super 22 linemen Keith Day.

Episcopal Academy went 7-3 last season (3-2 in Philadelphia’s Inter-Ac League). Senior quarterback Marcus McDaniel accounted for more than 1,700 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. Running back/middle linebacker Matt Bush, offensive lineman Paul McLaughlin, two-way lineman Dom Minicozzi will be starting for the third straight year.

Episcopal won 20-0 last season over St. Mary’s. The Saints started 0-3 last season before a 7-1 close helped capture their seventh MIAA football crown.

 

Blake Corum scored four touchdowns Friday as St. Frances routed Miami’s Central in its season opener last weekend. The nationally-ranked Panthers host Chicago power Simeon at Patterson Park Friday evening.

Simeon (IL) vs. St. Frances Academy (1-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Patterson Park

Overview: It’s the “Windy City” vs. “Charm City” as St. Frances face its first major home challenge since 2017. The Panthers, ranked No. 2 nationally by MaxPreps, had another dominating performance on national tv (ESPN), burying Miami’s Central, 49-13, last weekend.

Michigan commit Blake Corum scored four touchdowns and finished with 155 total yards and sophomore quarterback John Griffith threw for two scores. The Panthers, ranked No. 6 by USA Today, have won 24 straight decisions.

Simeon (11-1 last season), ranked No. 9 in the Chicago region by the Sun-Times, reached the Illinois Class 7A state quarterfinals last season. Senior running back/defensive back Chau Smith is one of the top players in Illinois (13th by Rivals) and Simeon returns a veteran  line with Corderro Williams, Ronald Haggins and Kenyan Butler on defense, and George Robinson, Jason Shavers and Jalen Jones on offense.

Simeon will have a ginormous task against St. Frances, which has a major Division I prospect at virtually every position. The Panthers, who have a nationally-televised match with California powerhouse Mater Dei (No. 1 by MaxPreps) looming (Sept. 14), have outscored opponents, 133-30, in three national tv appearances.

 

John Carroll, with Roman Hemby (left), Malik Scott and Austin Brinkman, opens its season with a MIAA B Conference match with St. Paul’s Friday evening.

St. Paul’s School at John Carroll School

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Overview: The MIAA B Conference schedule gets underway with the Crusaders and Patriots. St. Paul’s (6-3 last season) missed the playoffs last year, but return one of league’s top two-way players in Logan Santos (running back/linebacker), who’s committed to Ohio State for lacrosse.

John Carroll (5-5 last season) should be in the hunt for a playoff spot, returning Baltimore Touchdown Club Super 22 performers Malik Scott (wide receiver/defensive back) and Austin Brinkman (tight end/long snapper). Linemen Braden Clark (6-foot-4, 290 pounds) is a Division I prospect and junior Roman Hemby is a big-play threat.

The Patriots defeated St. Paul’s, 19-14, last season in Brooklandville.

 

Ravon Lane, heading downfield for a pick-six, had a big game for Gilman in its season opening victory last Saturday.

Loyola Blakefield (0-0) at Gilman School (1-0)

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Overview: Two teams pointing upward after a rough stretch meet in Roland Park. The Dons are playing an independent schedule for the second straight season after leaving the MIAA A after the 2017 season (finished 2-9).

The Dons won six games last season, and return 12 starters, led by junior defensive back/wide receiver Jordan Moore. Moore holds early scholarship offers from Boston College and Syracuse.

Gilman started its 2019 campaign with a 47-18 rout of Prince George’s County’s Riverdale Baptist to match its 2018 win total. Sophomore running Ke’Yon Torain rushed for 200 yards and scored four touchdowns for the Greyhounds, and Ravon Lane returned an interception for a score and caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Matthew Parker (two touchdowns).

The Dons won, 7-6, last season, ending a streak of nine straight losses to Gilman.