By John Knebels
Sports Columnist

Fall sports are approximately one-third finished.

Talk about time flying ….

But one team that isn’t in any particular hurry to move the football season along at a frenetic pace is Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown.

On Saturday afternoon against Ches-Mont League’s Avon Grove, the Eagles avenged a 52-0 loss one year earlier by defeating the Red Devils 32-22. The victory increased Shanahan’s best-ever start of a season to 4-0, with also-undefeated West Chester Henderson up next on Friday.

“With all of the injuries we had, it’s incredible how our guys kept fighting,” said Shanahan coach Paul Meyers, describing a halftime scene that resembled a MASH unit. “They were able to come back but we kept our heads up and got it done.”{{more}}

Up 22-6 on the strength of touchdown runs of nine yards by Mike Ibarguen and 73 yards by Keegan Lawton, and a TD connection from quarterback Ryan Egolf to Chris Corspanari, the Eagles were bulldozed by two touchdowns and two-point conversions that tied the game heading into the fourth quarter.

However, as he has done all season, Egolf emphatically answered by finding Corspanari for a 45-yard touchdown toss. The junior finished with 15 completions in 21 attempts for 206 yards and two scores.

Meanwhile, Shanahan’s defense did the rest, particularly the secondary, which intercepted four passes. Meyers was quick to praise defensive coordinator Jeff Hamson for a job well done.

And if opponents are hoping that Shanahan will suddenly grow a collective big ego, think again.

“We like where we are at,” said Corspanari, “but we just have to keep it going one game at a time.”

As for Shanahan’s early-season Most Valuable Player, Egolf probably gets the nod. That’s usually the way it is in football, with quarterbacks getting most of the credit when things go well and most of the blame when things don’t.

That said, here are some names from other area teams that could warrant early-season team MVP.

At Malvern Prep, the Friars are 2-2. Running back Shawn Wilson has amassed 314 yards and five touchdowns while QB Rommy Rumer has passed for 623 yards and four scores. At Pope John Paul II, the Golden Panthers received touchdown runs by Chris Ploskon and David Collolese in a loss last week to Boyertown that dropped them to 0-4.

In the Catholic League AAAA spanision, Raul Quinones has rushed for 483 yards and four TD’s to lead Father Judge to an overall record of 4-0. The Crusaders have outscored their opponents by 104-27 and take on St. Joseph’s Prep this weekend.

The Prep sits at an uncharacteristic 1-3, but running back Mark Castle (397 yards rushing) and quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg (five touchdowns throwing and three rushing) provide optimism moving forward.

La Salle (3-1) bounced back from a rare loss behind Jamal Abdur-Rahman (467 rushing yards and six touchdowns), who scored three TD’s and gained 126 yards in a victory over Monsignor Bonner Sept. 24.

Roman Catholic is 3-1 after losing to Cardinal O’Hara Sept. 25, which might be the toughest team in the entire league. Quarterback Michael Keir (seven TD throws) and receiver William Fuller (14 catches, 333 yards and six TD’s) appear unstoppable.

Archbishop Ryan sits at 2-2. RB’s Marcus Allen (271 yards) and Kevin Newell (185) have provided the running game; Nick LeVan (four TD’s) has led the receiving crew.

The AAA spanision includes one 2-2 team (Monsignor Bonner) and three that remain undefeated at 4-0 (Cardinal O’Hara, Archbishop Wood, and Archbishop Carroll).

Behind QB Ryan Laughlin, RB Adam Dempsey and REC’s Damiere Shaw and Tyler Gallen, Cardinal O’Hara has outscored the opposition by 151-24. In the last week of the regular season, O’Hara will take on Archbishop Wood, and all the Vikings have done so far is outscore their foes by 155-56 thanks mostly to RB Desmon Peoples and a secondary that has picked off five passes.

Speaking of Peoples, the transfer from the Prep came back to haunt his old teammates by scoring two touchdowns in Wood’s 21-20 triumph over the Hawks Sept. 24, cemented on a late point-after-touchdown blocked kick. The Prep defense actually held Peoples in check (64 yards on 17 carries) considering that for the season he is averaging more than 10 yards per attempt.

Archbishop Carroll’s perfect start has been fueled by a running game manned by Jalal Timmons, Julian Franklin and Jake Peabody. The trio has combined for 702 yards on the ground.

In the AA spanision, West Catholic (QB Anthony Reid, 387 yards and four TD’s; Jaelen Strong-Rankin, 14 receptions for 209 yards) joins Neumann-Goretti and Bishop McDevitt (Gary Postell, 639 yards rushing and a Catholic League-best 10 touchdowns) at 2-2 overall; Lansdale Catholic (receiver Matt Pinzka, 15 catches for 189 yards) is 1-3 while Conwell-Egan is still searching for its first win.