John Knebels
Special to The CS&T

Although they now play in different spanisions in the Catholic League, there are numerous football players from Archbishop Wood who remain quite familiar with peer performers from West Catholic.

Last year, both Wood and West engaged in a PIAA state championship final for their respective spanisions; Wood lost at the AAA level, and West did likewise at AA.

Days afterward, several players from both programs acknowledged that they were fortunate to be associated with such a successful and revered tradition as the Catholic League, and despite what some may have thought, actually rooted for their CL kin to emerge in triumph, albeit miles apart.

On Oct. 3 at Wood, the two teams, that throughout most of the past decade constantly battled each other for bragging rights in the since-imploded Blue spanision met in a jam-packed, mid-season tilt. Although it would not influence the Catholic League standings, it was certainly a game that meant a lot more than just a typical football weekend.

In what truly resembled a see-saw ride, West scored the first seven points, then Wood, then West, then Wood, then West, and then Wood. Finally, the Vikings broke the pattern with 23 seconds left by producing their second touchdown in less than three minutes and stunned the Burrs, 28-21.

The Burrs (3-2) had taken a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter after Erik Harper’s sack induced a fumble, which junior Anthony McDonnaugh picked up and rumbled 77 yards to the end zone. Quarterback Jerry Rahill, who replaced injured sophomore QB Joey Monaghan in the fourth quarter, brought the Vikings back to a tie with a pretty 27-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Colin Thompson late in the quarter, and overtime seemed imminent.

Incredibly, the Vikings (3-2) got the ball back inside the final minute and scored the game winner on a 61-yard hook-up from Rahill to Kevin Shaw with only 23 seconds left in regulation.

In other Catholic League football action:

* St. Joseph’s Prep 28, Father Judge 21 – At one point, a game that had all the inklings of being an entertaining and memorable event was heading toward a blowout. But before it ended, Father Judge came very close to handing the Prep a mind-numbing defeat.

After the Hawks (4-1 overall, 2-0 in spanision AAAA) meticulously forged a seemingly insurmountable 28-0 lead behind two touchdown runs by sophomore Desmon Peoples (279 yards rushing on 22 carries) and two more via a Skyler Mornhinweg scoring pass of four yards and run of 43, the Crusaders (4-1, 1-1) stormed back.

A 12-yard touchdown pass from junior Tony Smith to Curt Wortham broke the shutout in the third quarter. After a 10-yard touchdown interception return by junior Connor Reilly cut Judge’s deficit in half, the Crusaders fans whipped into frenzy.

When Smith tossed a three-yard score to Kevin Leneghan to make it 28-21 with 6:49 left in the fourth, a comeback for the ages was close to fruition. But the Prep defense prevented what could have been a devastating defeat by denying the Crusaders past midfield the rest of the way.

* La Salle 38, Archbishop Ryan 0 – Coming off a heartbreaking loss the week before to rival St. Joseph’s Prep, the Explorers were in no mood to play around.

In other words, it was a rather unfortunate time for anyone to be the next challenge on La Salle’s schedule. Just ask Archbishop Ryan.

The Explorers (4-1, 1-1 AAAA) scored early and often. Junior Jamal Abdur-Rahham (127 yards from scrimmage), sophomore Tim Wade and junior Nick Sabia each rushed for one touchdown while senior tight end Steve Jones caught two TD passes from senior quarterback Drew Loughery.

Although the Raiders (0-5, 0-2) received 77 yards rushing from junior Brian Murphy, the La Salle defense surrendered less than 200 yards and seniors Vince Migliarese and Mike Holland each contributed an interception.

* Roman Catholic 24, Monsignor Bonner 20 – The Roman Catholic defense held the Friars (2-3, 0-2 AAAA) to 96 yards passing and 77 rushing. The Cahillite offense was ignited by the Regan brothers. Kevin, a senior quarterback, completed 11 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns, one of them a 17-yard strike to brother Dennis, a junior.

On the ground, Dennis collected 110 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. His two-yard scoring run was set up by his own interception and 25-yard return to the Bonner two-yard line.

The Cahillites (2-3, 1-0) were also aided by junior Kawaun Chavis, who caught four passes for 96 yards, and junior teammate Christian Seagrave, who grabbed four for 48.

* North Catholic 33, Lansdale Catholic 18 – Eugene Byrd’s 193 yards rushing and two touchdown runs propelled the Falcons (2-3, 1-0 spanision AAA) past the Crusaders (0-5, 0-1). Junior Devon Barrett gained a career-best 133 yards rushing on 20 carries for Lansdale Catholic.

* Conwell-Egan 44, Neumann-Goretti 21 – A sensational effort by quarterback Anthony Singlar lifted the Eagles (3-2, 1-0 AAA) over the Saints (1-4, 0-1). Singlar rushed for three scores and threw for two others, and junior teammate John Clark scored twice. Pat Balmores, Eric Neil and Antoine Powers each found the end zone for the Saints.

* Bishop McDevitt 6, Archbishop Carroll 0 – With both defenses doing their best to send the crowd into a collective pajama party thanks to a scoreless first half, the undefeated Lancers (5-0, 2-0 in spanision AA) finally awakened the scoreboard on a two-yard touchdown run by Drew Siegfried in the third quarter and then held on the rest of the way.

The upset-minded Patriots (1-4, 0-2) received 50 yards on 11 carries by Bryant Moritz but were unable to solve a McDevitt squad that has now outscored its opposition by a composite 135-26.

* Cardinal Dougherty 14, Kennedy-Kenrick 12 – The Cardinals continued to build on an already-impressive season. Coming off two winless campaigns, the Dougherty coaching staff warned anyone who would listen that a more-than-respectable performance would not surprise them in the slightest.

Through five games, the Cards are 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the spanision thanks to a hard-fought victory over the Wolverines (1-4, 0-2).

After Tarek Morris (95 yards rushing) opened the scoring on an eight-yard jaunt in the second quarter, quarterback Trevor Pendleton connected with sophomore Nick Newman for a 40-yard touchdown strike in the third for a 14-0 Dougherty lead.

Although it seemed like an afterthought, Dougherty kicker Joe Bozzelli’s ability to nail two extra points proved to be the difference. Kennedy-Kenrick stormed to within two points late in the fourth quarter after quarterback Noah Mascio fired a pair of touchdown passes to Cullen Rota from distances of 54 and 11 yards, respectively. Rota finished with six catches and 109 yards receiving.

John Knebels can be reached at