Leaves are starting to fall. It’s a bit chillier than usual. Kids are shuffling around with book bags attached to their shoulders.
Must be another football season.
While the Catholic League Red and Blue Division games begin in two weeks, there has already been plenty of action. The early “game of the year” was Archbishop Carroll’s 39-38, double-overtime win over Conwell-Egan. Offsetting Egan senior Dahmir Ruffin’s 182 combined yards and career-best five touchdowns, the Patriots sent the game into overtime when Ruffin scored his third TD with 21 seconds remaining in regulation.
In the second overtime, the Patriots took a major chance when, trailing 38-37, they decided to ignore a game-tying extra point and instead went for the win.
It worked. Quarterback Kamal Gray tossed a two-point conversion pass to Carlon Brown, and the barnburner was complete.
Defending state champion St. Joseph’s Prep served notice that yet another season of excellence awaits its fans. The Hawks traveled to Florida and defeated Tampa Jesuit, 22-7.
Utilizing a staunch defense that surrendered only 46 yards and scored eight points – two on a safety and six on senior Phil O’Connor’s 61-yard touchdown return of an interception – the Prep did more than enough to cement a happy plane ride home.
Senior quarterback Marquez McCray found junior Johnny Freeman for a touchdown pass, the Hawks’ only offensive score of the contest.
Even the special teams contributed: Senior kicker Anthony Tigano added two field goals and two extra points after touchdowns.
Speaking of stingy defense, West Catholic frustrated Roman Catholic’s offense to minus yardage while sophomore Zahir Booker gained 162 yards and scored two touchdowns, leading to a 24-0 shutout.
Cardinal O’Hara whipped Mastbaum, 42-0, for its second straight shutout. Four different players scored touchdowns, two each by senior Taseer Jones and junior Chris Kirby.
Bishop McDevitt moved to 2-0 when it edged Cheltenham, 14-13, behind freshman Jon-Luke Peaker’s 165 yards and touchdown. The other touchdown came from sophomore Lonnie Rice, his fourth TD of the year.
Father Judge junior quarterback Shane Dooley fired four touchdowns to lead Father Judge past Ridley, 27-14. Senior Steve Arrington caught four passes for 100 yards, two of them for touchdowns.
Behind 90 rushing yards from senior Nasir Peoples, Archbishop Wood upended powerhouse Paramus Catholic, 34-14.
John Knebels can be reached at Jknebels@gmail.com.