The Cathedral Prep football team reached the PIAA Class AAA semifinals in 2013, but the Ramblers lost a lot of experienced players to graduation. Learn more about the Ramblers in their video season preview.
This is first day of the Varsity Kickoff Countdown series on the Varsity blog. We’re counting down the days to the high school football season. It is 50 days until the opening night of football season on Friday, Aug. 29.
Number of the day: 50. That’s the number of touchdowns that recent Northwestern graduate Brandon Reiser scored during his career on his way to 302 career points. It’s also the number of touchdown passes that Cathedral Prep quarterback Damon Terry threw during his senior season in 2012. That’s a District 10 record.
Here’s a look at the opening weekend schedule for District 10 football:
Friday, Aug. 29
McDowell at Canton McKinley (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Cathedral Prep at Glenville (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Meadville at Fairview, 7 p.m.
Greenville at North East, 7 p.m.
Fort LeBoeuf at General McLane, 7 p.m.
Corry at Oil City, 7 p.m.
Mercer at Eisenhower, 7 p.m.
West Middlesex at Cambridge Springs, 7 p.m.
Hickory at Strong Vincent (Veterans Stadium), 7 p.m.
Saegertown at Mercyhurst Prep (Tullio Field), 7 p.m.
Iroquois at Harbor Creek, 7 p.m.
Union City at Seneca, 7 p.m.
East at Farrell, 7 p.m.
Wilmington at Grove City, 7 p.m.
Maplewood at Girard, 7 p.m.
Titusville at Franklin, 7 p.m.
DuBois at Mifflin County, 7 p.m.
Youngsville at Lakeview, 7 p.m.
Reynolds at Cochranton, 7 p.m.
Conneaut at Northwestern, 7 p.m.
Sharon at Jefferson (Ohio), 7 p.m.
St. Marys at Bradford, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 30
Slippery Rock at Perry, 1 p.m.
Sharpsville at Otto-Eldred, 1:30 p.m.
Warren at Central Tech (Veterans Stadium), 7 p.m.
Cathedral Prep Ramblers
Coach: Mike Mischler (16th season, 136-52)
2013 overall record: 13-1
2013 region record: 5-0 (champion)
2013 playoff results: Defeated Oil City 70-26 and General McLane 63-21 to win the District 10 Class AAA championship. Cathedral Prep then defeated West Allegheny 28-0 in the PIAA quarterfinals before losing to Bishop McDevitt 47-42 in the semifinals.
Top players lost: Billy Fessler, Felix Manus-Schell, Jake DeHart, Alex Greenawalt, Michael Parker, Marlon Tyree, Devonne Barnes, J.T. Joint, William Monono, Brian May, Jake Murawski
Top returning players: Charlie Fessler, James Trucilla, Tim Zieziula, Jacob Galla, DeAngelo Malone, Bryce Boyd, Stevie Crockett, Zach Bednarowicz, Mike Spizarny
Assistant coaches: Pat Czytuck, Manuel Johnson, Dan Vitale, Mike Krahe, Mark Brooks, Steve Bahny, John Campbell
Outlook: Cathedral Prep had a historic run end in the PIAA Class AAA semifinals last season as Bishop McDevitt snapped the Ramblers’ 28-game winning streak with a 47-42 comeback win. Prep rolled to its 19th District 10 championship and second straight in Class AAA. The Ramblers outscored opponents 501-101 in the regular season to easily win the Region 6 championship before outscoring opponents by an average of 43 points in the District 10 playoffs. Prep the shut out WPIAL power West Allegheny 28-0 in the quarterfinals before running into Bishop McDevitt. Coach Mike Mischler also cotninued his chase to have the most wins in Prep history. Mischler is 119-36 in his 11 years with the Ramblers and if they make a run this year, he could catch all-time winningest coach in program history, Mina George, who had 131 wins. The Ramblers have some work to do after suffering massive graduation losses. Among the losses are Billy Fessler (Walking on at Penn State), Felix Manus-Schell (Old Dominion), Jake DeHart (Yale), Alex Greenawalt (Colgate), Michael Parker (not playing in college), Marlon Tyree (Slippery Rock), Devonne Barnes (IUP), J.T. Joint (Slippery Rock), William Monono (Slippery Rock), Brian May (Mount Union) and Jake Murawski (Allegheny). Greenawalt, Fessler, DeHart, Barnes, Parker, Joint, Manus-Schell and Tyree were all named to the all-district team after impressive seasons. Fessler threw for 3,279 yards and 43 touchdowns and ran for six touchdowns to be voted to the all-region first team. Greenawalt was a first-team wide receiver after catching 43 passes for 711 yards and 10 touchdowns, and DeHart was a first-team all-purpose player as he rushed for 1,134 yards and 18 touchdowns and caught 25 passes for 418 yards and six touchdowns. Manus-Schell was voted the Region 6 player of the year and to the first team as a defensive back and second team at wide receiver. He pulled down 40 passes for 749 yards and 13 touchdowns and he hauled in five interceptions. Barnes was voted to the all-region first team on the offensive and defensive lines, while May was voted to the first team on the offensive line. Parker and Joint are big losses at the linebacker position and both were voted first team, while Tyree is a first-team defensive back. Parker was also voted to the second team at running back after rushing for 182 yards and five touchdowns. Ryan Dill was voted to the all-region second team on the offensive line, and Joint was second team as a punter. Murawski was voted to the second team as a defensive lineman, while Shyquawn Carson and Monono are gone after being voted to the second team as defensive backs.
Prep has some quick rebuilding to do at several positions. The Ramblers return wide receivers Charlie Fessler and DeAngelo Malone along with lineman Tim Zieziula at tackle and James Trucilla at guard. Malone will move to running back this season to fill in for DeHart after rushing for 201 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 395 yards and five touchdowns in 2013. Jose Casiano and Trucilla are back at defensive tackle and Jacob Galla at linebacker. Galla led the Ramblers in tackled as a junior. Trucilla committed to Virginia after racking up offers and was voted to the all-region second team at offensive and defensive line as a junior. Fessler verbally committed to Northwestern and had 20 Division I offers after hauling in 41 passes for 626 yards and six touchdowns as a junior. He was voted to the all-region first team at wide receiver. Prep will need reserves from last year to step up in big way. Billy Norfolk gets the nod at quarterback as a senior and spent the past few years learning from Damion Terry and Billy Fessler. Corey Fisher and Mitchell Gresh could step in as starting linemen as Prep lost three OL to graduation. With the entire backfield, linebacker corps and most of the secondary gone, Mischler could receive contributions from Bryce Boyd, Dan Maloney, Stevie Crockett, Mike Cizmek, Sean Harris, Alex Kissell, Troy Woodard, Sullivan Johnson, Ta’Nauz Gregory and Koran Williams. Zach Bednarowicz and Mike Spizarny are both back at kicker and Bednarowicz was voted to the all-region second team at his position. Boyd, Maloney, Kissell and Johnson could all start at linebacker, while Crockett, Cizmek, Gregory, Williams and Norfolk could see time at defensive back.
The biggest change Prep goes through is players adapting to new coordinators. Brad Orlando, Prep’s offensive coordinator, left to become the head coach at McDowell, while defensive coordinator Matt Melle is now the defensive coordinator at McDowell. Mischler will take over as offensive coordinator and will call plays, and Mike Krahe steps in to run the defense. Norfolk developed as a quarterback over the past few years and will need to step up to be a leader on offense this season to help take the pressure off Charlie Fessler. The Ramblers are almost starting over from scratch with their massive graduation losses, but the program is strong enough to reload instead of rebuild. Prep will start the season with a brutal game at Cleveland powerhouse Glenville before two important region games against Strong Vincent and rival McDowell. The Ramblers end the season with four road games (three outside of Erie) to test themselves for the D-10 playoffs. If new players can adapt to the varsity level and new coordinators this fall, Prep should be the favorite in D-10 Class AAA, once again.
29 at Glenville (Ohio) 7
5 Strong Vincent* 7
12 McDowell* 7
19 DuBois 7
26 Aquinas Institute (N.Y.) 7
3 Central Tech* 7
10 at St. Francis (N.Y.) 7
17 at General McLane* 7
25 at St. Joe’s (N.Y.) 2
31 at East* 7
*Region 6 games
Wednesday: Central Tech
Two of the eastern Pennsylvania powers that Cathedral Prep beat on the way to the 2012 PIAA Class AAA football championship won Friday night in impressive fashion.
Andre Robinson rushed for 287 yards and three touchdowns as Bishop McDevitt won its fourth consecutive District 3 title Friday night with a 48-7 rout of previously unbeaten Manheim Central. The Crusaders’ win gives them a rematch with Prep in the PIAA semifinals. Prep beat Bishop McDevitt 38-3 in 2012.
The site, date and time of next week’s game has not been announced.
Prep beat Archbishop Wood 24-14 in the 2012 PIAA title game.
West Allegheny coach Bob Palko watched his team’s hopes for an unbeaten season end Friday in a 28-0 loss to Cathedral Prep in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals at North Allegheny High School in Wexford.
It was the second consecutive year that the Indians saw their season end against Prep. Afterward, Palko praised Prep, noting that the Ramblers had fully recovered from the offseason loss of Michigan State recruits Damion Terry and Delton Williams.
“You couldn’t shut [Terry and Williams] down last year,” Palko told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Now their defense is good and they’re just not a good matchup for us. They run well, they’re fast at all places and they’ve got good size. They’re really good.”
Read the entire Post-Gazette game story.
“I think there’s a reason they won the state championship last year,” Palko told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “They had more than two good players.”
Check out the Tribune-Review story.
Two District 10 football championship games will be played tonight, so it’s time for the Our Call predictions. Here are beat reporter Tom Reisenweber’s predicted outcomes for tonight’s games:
Class A championship
Lakeview 24, Sharpsville 21
Class AAA championship
Cathedral Prep 38, General McLane 7
The Our Call picks for Saturday’s Girard-Hickory and McDowell-Mifflin County games will be posted Saturday morning. Have you voted in our Varsity poll on the Varsity home page? Here’s the question:
Will the Girard football team upset Hickory to end Erie County’s District 10 Class AA title drought at 19 years?
More than 400 people already have voted. Vote now on the Varsity home page.
The Pennsylvania Cable Network will broadcast the Cathedral Prep-McDowell football game during Week 6 of the upcoming season as it was selected as the game of the week. Details of the broadcast will announced in early September, but it appears PCN will re-air the MSTD broadcast. Below is a schedule of each game of the week this season. PCN will start with a live broadcast of the Wilson at Governor Mifflin game on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.
August 30 @ 7:00 p.m.: Wilson @ Governor Mifflin (PCN Sports production)
Week 2: Parkland @ Easton (Service Electric TV2 Sports)
Week 3: Clairton @ California (California University)
Week 4: Elizabethtown @ Manheim Central (Blue Ridge Cable 11 – Ephrata)
Week 5: Selinsgrove @ Berwick (Fox 56)
Week 6: Cathedral Prep @ McDowell (MTSD Productions)
Week 7: Pen Argyl @ Catasaqua (RCN)
Week 8: Muncy @ South Williamsport (Cable Sports Productions)
Week 9: Woodland Hills @ Penn Hills (Comcast – Pittsburgh)
Week 10: TBD (Blue Ridge TV13 – Lehighton)
Top players lost: Damion Terry, Delton Williams, Jake Plonski, Nick Dubowski, John Chereson, Erik Swanson, Joe Hampy, Brendan Klemensic, Nate Carlin, Andrew Arrowsmith, Eli Martinez, Troy Kelly
Top returning players: Felix Manus-Schell, Jake DeHart, Marlon Tyree, Alex Greenawalt, Devonne Barnes, James Trucilla, Mike Parker, Charlie Fessler, J.T. Joint, William Monono, Jake Murawski, Brian May, Matt Wolf, Billy Fessler, Ryan Dill
Assistant coaches: Brad Orlando, Matt Melle, Pat Czytuck, Mark Brooks, Dan Vitale, Manny Johnson, Brad Chase, Jim Skindell, Don Bown, Vinnie Mezzacapo, Kyle Gathers
Outlook: Cathedral Prep coach Mike Mischler might have to go through the biggest rebuilding effort in District 10 this year. Mischler loses a talented group that led the Ramblers to the PIAA Class AAA championship last fall. Among the players gone to graduation are Damion Terry, Delton Williams, Jake Plonski, Nick Dubowski, John Chereson, Erik Swanson, Joe Hampy, Brendan Klemensic, Nate Carlin, Andrew Arrowsmith, Eli Martinez and Troy Kelly. Terry finished with almost every District 10 passing record throughout his career and will head to Michigan State this fall. He was named the District 10 player of the year, to the all-district team, to the all-region first and the Region 6 player of the year. As a senior, Terry threw for 3,599 yards and 50 touchdowns, while rushing for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns. Williams will join Terry in East Lansing after an impressive career with Prep. Williams was named all-district at all-purpose, and was voted to the all-region first team at defensive back and all-purpose. Williams ran for 697 yards and 13 TDs, and 59 catches for 838 yards and 11 TDs. Williams also had four interceptions, two for TDs, and returned three punts for TDs this past fall. Chereson, Swanson, Hampy and Plonski were also voted to the all-district team and will play in college. Chereson set a school record with 82 extra points and connected on five field goals. Swanson and Hampy each had eight sacks as seniors, while Plonski led the Ramblers with 118 tackles.
The Ramblers have several experienced players back, such as Felix Manus-Schell, Jake DeHart, Marlon Tyree, Alex Greenawalt, Devonne Barnes, James Trucilla, Mike Parker, Charlie Fessler, J.T. Joint, William Monono, Jake Murawski, Brian May, Matt Wolf, Billy Fessler and Ryan Dill. Manus-Schell and Tyree are collecting Division I offers at a fast rate and DeHart is getting some D-I notice as well. Manus-Schell was named all-district at defensive back after a terrific postseason, while Tyree is one of the top defensive prospects in the western part of the state. Greenawalt was voted to the all-region first team at wide receiver, and Barnes was voted all-region on the offensive and defensive lines. Greenawalt had 43 catches for 669 yards and 10 touchdowns, while DeHart had 32 catches for 424 yards and five touchdowns. DeHart could shift to running back full time. DeAngelo Malone is also back to carry the ball after rushing for 290 yards and three touchdowns last year, and ShaQuon Thrower ran for 242 yards and five TDs.
The biggest question will be at quarterback. Billy Fessler appears to be the natural fit after backing up Terry last season. Fessler threw for 82 yards and one touchdown on 9-of-20 attempts. A big target for Billy Fessler could be his brother, Charlie, who had 24 catches for 437 yards and three touchdowns last season. Although Billy Fessler figures to be the heir at the position, Mischler stated that no player is coming in with a guaranteed starting job and that all positions are up for grabs in camp. Greenawalt, DeHart, Barnes and Charlie Fessler are returning starters on offense, while Parker, DeHart, Tyree, Barnes, Trucilla, Joint and Parker are returning starters on defense. The Ramblers have a strong receiving corps back along with several running backs that could step up. If Billy Fessler can get used to managing the offense at quarterback, the Ramblers could be the favorite to win another District 10 Class AAA championship. Fessler learned the spread offense behind Terry and was effective when he entered games as a backup. Another big issue will be the offensive and defensive lines. Barnes is back to anchor the lines and Trucilla is a potential defensive standout, but Prep will need to fill several spots. Along with the experienced players coming back, Bryce Boyd, Billy Norfolk, Troy Woodard, Alex Kissell, Jacob Galla, Tim Evans, Sullivan Johnson, Adam Figurski and Malano Jones could all make the jump from the lower levels to contribute on varsity this year.
Prep has a solid schedule, and it helps that the Ramblers will leave Erie only twice this season. The Ramblers will travel to Perry in Pittsburgh to open the season and will also travel to Ursuline in Youngstown, Ohio. The only other “road” games are at McDowell and to Veterans Stadium to take on East and Central Tech. Prep won’t take on Aquinas Institute this year but instead added St. Joe’s from Buffalo. One of the most intriguing games on the schedule could come before the regular season. Prep will travel to Cleveland St. Ignatius’ field to take on Toledo Central Catholic in a scrimmage. Toledo C.C. features quarterback DeShone Kizer, who committed to Notre Dame earlier this year. Prep’s showdown at McDowell on Oct. 4 is always important and if the Ramblers survive, they will likely play for the region title on Nov. 1 against General McLane. Prep has experience and potential in its younger players. The Ramblers look like the favorite in Class AAA, once again, to win D-10 and could be a dangerous team in the PIAA playoffs.
30 at Perry 7
6 Strong Vincent* 7
13 Lake Catholic (Ohio) 7
20 St. Francis (N.Y.) 7
27 at Ursuline (Ohio) 7
4 at McDowell* 7
11 St. Joe’s (N.Y.) 7
18 at Central Tech* 7
25 at East* 7
1 General McLane* 7
*Region 6 games
Here is a look at the Cathedral Prep football schedule this fall. We will publish schedules as we receive them from schools.
All times p.m. unless otherwise noted.
|Cathedral Prep Ramblers|
|Aug. 30||at Perry||7|
|Sept. 6||Strong Vincent*||7|
|Sept. 13||Lake Catholic (Ohio)||7|
|Sept. 20||St. Francis (N.Y.)||7|
|Sept. 27||at Ursuline (Ohio)||7|
|Oct. 4||at McDowell*||7|
|Oct. 11||St. Joe’s (N.Y.)||7|
|Oct. 18||at Central Tech*||7|
|Oct. 25||at East*||7|
|Nov. 1||General McLane*||7|
*Region 6 games
A pair of WPIAL standouts, Central Valley’s Robert Foster and Clairton’s Tyler Boyd, claimed the Mr. PA Football awards for the 2012 season Saturday night at a banquet in Hershey.
Foster, a wide receiver who recently signed with national champion Alabama, claimed the Class AAA-AAAA award. Cathedral Prep quarterback Damion Terry had been one of five finalists for the honor. North Allegheny’s Mack Leftwich and Patrick Kugler, and Pennridge’s Michael Class were the other finalists.
Boyd, a running back/defensive back who signed with Pitt last week, won the Class A-AA Mr. PA Football award. Port Allegany’s Matt Bodamer, Old Forge’s Brian Tomasetti, Williams Valley’s Owen Daniel and Imhotep Charter’s David Williams were the other finalists.
The website, footballscoop.com, has posted a video featuring a look at the Michigan State coaching staff during National Letter of Intent Day. Erie fans and Cathedral Prep followers, in particular, might find this intriguing.
The end of the video features MSU head coach Mark Dantonio talking via conference call with Cathedral Prep’s Damion Terry and Delton Williams, who signed with the Spartans. Williams shared an extra message of thanks with Dantonio. It’s an interesting inside look at the day.