Kennedy Catholic Golden Eagles
Coach (season, record): Archie D’Onofrio (3rd season, 3-16)
2011 overall record: 2-7
2011 region record (place): 1-6 (tied for seventh)
2011 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class A playoffs.
Top players lost: Joe Stephenson, Jake McPhatter
Top returning players: Jeff Thompkins, Brandon Wassil, Logan Bernat, Blase Hudson, Sam Crow, David Cathey, Brad Nulsen
Assistant coaches: Denny Staul, Bob Lutes, Tone Retone, Frank Antuono, Larry Lee
Outlook: Kennedy Catholic has struggled over the past few years and is looking to climb out of the bottom of Region 1. The losses of Joe Stephenson and Jake McPhatter won’t help. Stephenson, a second-team all-region offensive lineman and linebacker, has graduated, while McPhatter, a second-team wide receiver, transferred to New Castle. McPahtter ran for 104 yards and three touchdowns last fall and he caught 16 passes for 360 yards and five touchdowns. Those two leave huge holes for third-year coach Archie D’Onofrio to fill in camp.
The Golden Eagles will have some experience back to lean on. Jeff Thompkins is one of the more underrated players in Mercer County. He ran for 356 yards and two touchdowns last year and caught 17 passes for 483 yards and five touchdowns. Thompkins is a solid skill position player along with quarterback Brennan Wassil. He completed 69-of-139 passes for 1,102 yards and 11 touchdowns. Logan Bernat caught 10 passes for 101 yards and is back to balance out the backfield for Kennedy. He is also a defensive standout at outside linebacker. Blase Hudson returns as a three-year starter on the line along with fellow linemen Sam Crow and Brad Nulsen. Ethan Wassil and David Cathey could be big contributors this season in an experience offensive backfield.
Kennedy has experience at the skill positions but needs to work on the offensive and defensive lines in camp. The Golden Eagles open with three games on the road against McDonald (Ohio), Farrell and Mercer. In fact, Kennedy has only three home games this season (Sharpsville, Union and Conneaut). There may not be a tougher region to rebuild in than Region 1. Sharpsville, West Middlesex, Farrell, Mercer and Lakeview seem to always have competitive teams. Region 1 is wide open this season and Kennedy will have to learn to win on the road to stay competitive.
31 at McDonald (Ohio) 7
7 at Farrell* 7
14 at Mercer* 7
22 Sharpsville* noon
28 at Lakeview* 7
6 Union noon
12 at Reynolds 7
19 at West Middlesex* 7
27 Conneaut* 1
2 at Maplewood 7
*Region 1 games
– Tom Reisenweber