Cathedral Prep senior Felix Manus-Schell is one of the premier returning defensive backs in the state.
Senior Billy Fessler could be Prep's starting quarterback this season.
Cathedral Prep Ramblers
Coach: Mike Mischler (15th season, 123-51)
2012 overall record: 15-0
2012 region record: 5-0 (champion)
2012 playoff results: Defeated Warren 54-12 and General McLane 48-14 to win the District 10 Class AAA championship. Prep then defeated West Allegheny 27-13, Bishop McDevitt 38-3 and Archbishop Wood 24-14 to win the PIAA Class AAA championship.
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
Wednesday: Central Tech