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St. Joseph’s Prep announces its schedule on the journey to threepeat

Written by: on Thursday, October 8th, 2020. Follow Joseph Santoliquito on Twitter.


The preeminent high school football program in Eastern Pennsylvania resides at St. Joseph’s Prep. The Hawks are the two-time defending PIAA 6A state champions, winners of three of the last four large-school state titles and five of the last seven years (2013, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019).

The frightening part is the 2020 version of the Hawks was supposed to be one of Prep’s greatest teams ever—with Ohio State-bound Kyle McCord and Marvin Harrison Jr., with Clemson-bound Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

For a time, it appeared the COVID-19 pandemic was going to wipe away any chances that the Hawks’ senior class would have of threepeating. But with the gradual lifting of restrictions, the Philadelphia Catholic League deciding to resume play, it enabled the Prep athletic administration to cobble together a schedule.

This is what it looks like:

10/10 – Life Christian Academy (VA), at St. Mary’s Ryken HS in Leonardville, MD

10/17 – La Salle, 7 pm at Bensalem HS

10/24 – Bishop Sycamore (OH), 7 pm TBA

10/31 – Archbishop Wood, TBA

11/7 – Roman Catholic, TBA

A month ago, even playing a season looked dire.

“It has been a rollercoaster, but the message to our staff and our guys was to take it like anything else, a day at a time,” Hawks’ coach Tim Roken said. “We controlled what we could control, and do things to make us better. We still have to take this a week at a time. The virus is still spreading and we’re taking the all the precautions we need to protect our players and staff.

“All the coaches will be wearing masks and our players will be wearing masks on the sideline. All of the steps have been taken. We wanted to give our guys an opportunity to see the fruits of their labor, and for all of the hard work that they’ve put in.”

Prep’s team made the most of social media and used Zoom calls to install offenses and defenses.

The Hawks will open this weekend with a small private school, Life Christian Academy (VA), at St. Mary’s Ryken HS in Leonardville, MD.

The following weekend Prep will play traditional Catholic League rival La Salle, at 7 p.m. at Bensalem High School, on Saturday, October 17.

“We tried to find the best teams that we could in a small window,” Roken said.

“We are confident that we can compete in a safe manner, following all of the required protocols,” Prep Athletic Director Dan DiBernardinis said. “We strongly desire to give our student-athletes the opportunity to compete, which we believe is important for their physical and emotional development. At the same time, we know how important it is for many of our student-athletes to accumulate film for college scholarships, etc.”

There will be no fans allowed in the stadium for games played in Pennsylvania at this time, but there will be video streaming available, mostly through a partnership with SFBN (Sports Fan Base Network).

“We have some new kids stepping up to play in key roles, like junior Josh Barlow, a tailback who’s our Darren Sproles,” Roken said. “This will be Josh’s opportunity to play a lead role for us, and defensively, we return the Trotter brothers, Josiah and Jeremiah, which is great.”

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been covering high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito. Follow on Twitter @EPAFootball.

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