Cathedral Prep Ramblers
Coach (season, record): Mike Mischler (13th season overall, 10th at Prep, 98-49 overall, 81-33 at Prep)
2010 overall record: 9-5
2010 region record (place): 6-0 (champion)
2010 playoff results: Won the District 10 Class AAA championship. Lost 24-21 to Bishop McDevitt in the PIAA Class AAA semifinals.
Top players lost: Luke Trucilla, Jake Geanous, Steven Fatica, Mario Sanders, Noah Ackerman, Markel Keys, Dearis Williams, Justin Wiley, Anthony Jordan, Craig Heidelberg
Top returning players: Damion Terry, Kimani Smith, Delton Williams, Jake Plonski, Anthony Ernst, Paul Moyak, Joe Oduho, Michael Amendola, Chris Bleggi, Jimmy Malone, Lars Baumann, Denzel Keith, Anthony Gianoni, Nick Dubowski
Assistant coaches: Matt Melle, Brad Orlando, Pat Czytuck, Jim Skindell, Aaron Slocum, Brian Ras, John Csir, Jeff Bomba, Ryan Drabina, Chris Szustak
Outlook: Anytime a Prep team might have a “hole or two” to fill in after graduation, the Ramblers find a solution. Prep’s improbable run to the PIAA semifinals last season gained several underclassmen some valuable experience. Prep managed to win nine games, including the District 10 Class AAA championship without Division I running back Justin Wiley and despite having a sophomore quarterback in Damion Terry. The Ramblers overcame all of it to come within four points of a berth in the state championship.
The Ramblers have Terry back under center as he chases each Prep passing record this season. Terry set the school record with 1,936 passing yards in one season and is third all-time in career passing behind Pat Steenberge (2,827 yards) and Eric Carlson (3,159). Terry threw for 21 touchdowns to move into sixth place all-time and have the third-best season in school history.
His backfield might look a little different, however. Wiley had graduated and Anthony Jordan and Craig Heidelberg have transferred. Jordan was a big-time running back last season while Heidelberg had explosive speed out of the backfield. With those two gone, the Ramblers will search for a new running back.
Delton Williams, Joe Oduho and Jake Plonski are candidates to see some carries this fall. Williams was part of an impressive scoring duo with Terry when they played on the freshman team together. Both saw time at quarterback and running back. Oduho has plenty of size and leaping ability as the third-best long jumper in the state and Plonski was named a “Hot 50 rising sophomore” in Pennsylvania by the Big 33 Committee. Plonski made the list along with Terry and Williams. The Ramblers can also turn to offensive weapons Kimani Smith, Jimmy Malone, Denzel Keith and Nick Dubowski. Smith already has offers from Buffalo and Eastern Michigan with Northwestern and Syracuse showing interest.
Prep’s biggest concern in camp might be the offensive and defensive lines. The Ramblers don’t have as much size as they normally do, but that can be made up for with skill and technique. Prep had a strong offseason in the weight room and there could be intense competition in camp among lineman for the starting spots. Anthony Ernst, Paul Moyak, Michael Amendola, Chris Bleggi, Lars Baumann and Anthony Gianoni will all be in the mix for spots.
The final piece to Prep’s puzzle will be replacing one of the best kickers in school history, Noah Ackerman. Junior John Chereson could be the answer for the Ramblers and has some big shoes to fill.
A positive for Prep will not necessarily be the schedule but the traveling distances this season. The Ramblers leave Erie County one time to go to Warren, but otherwise will be in the City of Erie for most of the season. Prep has home games with New York powers Canisius and Aquinas, while scheduling another showdown with Ohio-power St. Ignatius on Oct. 7.
2 at McDowell 7
9 at Central Tech* 7
16 Strong Vincent* 7
23 Canisius (N.Y.) 7
30 Bradford* 7
7 St. Ignatius (Ohio) 7
14 Aquinas Institute (N.Y.) 7
21 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7
28 at Warren* 7
4 East* 7
Thursday: Central Tech
– Tom Reisenweber