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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts tagged "Strong Vincent football"
Posted: July 31st, 2013

Strong Vincent quarterback Chris Starocci passed for 905 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior in 2012. GREG WOHLFORD/Erie Times-News

Jayson Curry

Jared Carlson

Scott White

Strong Vincent Colonels

Coach: Scott White (4th season, 15-16)
2012 overall record: 3-7
2012 region record: 2-3 (fourth)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.

Top players lost: Corey Henry, Hassam Farooq, Kyle Mathis, Chris Kirkland, Anthony Twillie, Tashan Mitchell-Jordan, Deshawn Salter, Donnie Tatum, Donald Bender

Top returning players: Chris Starocci, Jared Carlson, Jayson Curry, Kyle Pointer, Dajhere Pacely, Xzavier Warner, Thomas King, Myles Simmons

Assistant coaches: Dan Olson, Chris Spooner, John Ferraro, Shawn Carlson, Jeff Gibbens, Kevin Boxer, Bob Helsley, Jeremy O’Toole, Brian Bires, Jim Fuller, Will Lyons

Outlook: Strong Vincent seems to always come up with a contending team no matter how bad the graduation losses are. A slow start cost the Colonels last fall after losing three straight games to open the season. Vincent recovered to win three in a row, including a 21-14 win over Brashear, but losses to General McLane and McDowell knocked them out of the region race and out of the postseason. Vincent has its quarterback and a strong running back in Jared Carlson. The Colonels have experience on the offensive and defensive line but filling in the skill positions and developing new linebackers will be important this season. The Colonels open the season with Class AA power Hickory before back-to-back weeks with Cathedral Prep and Cleveland powerhouse St. Ignatius. Although an 0-3 start might not kill Vincent this season, avoiding it would certainly set the tone for the rest of the year. Strong Vincent has some holes to fill from graduation but the Colonels have experience as well. Vincent will need to replace several running backs, including Hassam Farooq, who ran for 415 yards and three touchdowns, as well as Chris Kirkland (240 yards, 1 touchdown) and Corey Henry (198 yards, 2 touchdowns). All three are gone to graduation, but the Colonels can turn to Carlson, their leading rusher, who had 443 yards and four touchdowns on 78 carries. Vincent also has its quarterback returning in Chris Starocci, who ran for three touchdowns and threw for 905 yards and seven touchdowns. Kyle Mathis, Anthony Twillie, Tashan Mitchell-Jordan, Deshawn Salter, Donnie Tatum and Donald Bender are also gone to graduation. Salter was voted to the all-region second team at offensive line. Mathis led Vincent in receiving with 12 catches for 131 yards, while Troy Honard graduated after hauling in 10 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Tyreek Green caught nine passes for 146 yards and one touchdown, but graduated, and Carlson had nine catches for 197 yards and one touchdown. Jayson Curry, Kyle Pointer, Thomas King and Myles Simmons are back on the offensive line, while Dajhere Pacely and Xzavier Warren could contribute at the skill positions. Vincent certainly has some work to do on defense. The Colonels lost eight of their top nine tacklers to graduation. Mark Akerly is the only top tackler back and he finished eighth in tackles for Vincent last fall. Donald Bender Jr. is a big loss after collecting six sacks last year, while Jordan-Mitchell and Divone Jones each had two. Jason Miller had two sacks as a sophomore and could step up this fall as a key member of the defense. The Colonels were hit hard by graduation, losing most of their speed and linebackers. Vincent will need several players to step up right away this year as the Colonels play in one of the toughest regions in District 10. Vincent allowed 72 points to Cathedral Prep and General McLane last year, which might have cost the Colonels a playoff spot. If Vincent can hold down the speedy and powerful offenses in region play, the Colonels could return to the postseason.

30 Hickory 7
6 at Cathedral Prep* 7
14 at St. Ignatius (Ohio) 7
21 East* 1
26 Brashear 7
5 Central Tech* 1
11 at Ursuline (Ohio) 7
18 at General McLane* 7
25 at McDowell* 7
1 North East 7
*Region 6 games

–Tom Reisenweber
Posted: September 27th, 2012

Strong Vincent 21, Brashear 14

No. 10
Corey Henry falls on a fumble after Page is sacked. Vincent wins 21-14 and D-10 remains perfect against District 8.

No. 9
McAdory hauls in a huge 35-yard touchdown pass from Starocci with 46 seconds left! Vincent leads 21-14.

No. 8
2:33 left and Vincent turns the ball over on downs. Brashear leads 14-13 and Vincent has three timeouts left.

No. 7
Vincent blocks a punt with 4:30 left and will start on its 48 yard line. Brashear leads 14-13.

No. 6
Vincent tries a fake punt but is not successful. 14-13 Brashear with the ball and 6:33 left.

No. 5
Strong Vincent turns it over on downs. On the next play, quarterback Russell Page runs 76 yards for a touchdown. Brashear leads 14-13 with 10:32 left.

No. 4
Strong Vincent leads 13-7 after three quarters. The Colonels stop Brashear on downs inside Vincent’s 20. Vincent is driving to start the fourth quarter.

No. 3
Xzavier Warner with a 13-yard touchdown run. PAT is blocked. Strong Vincent leads Brashear 13-7 with 7:37 left in the third.

No. 2
Chris Starocci’s pass to the end zone is dropped as time runs out. At halftime, Brashear and Strong Vincent are tied 7-7.

Update No. 1
Brashear scores early in the second quarter to tie the game up at 7-7.

Posted in: Football
Posted: September 15th, 2012

Final update
Meadville beats East 41-30.

Update No. 23
Prep defeats Lake Catholic 37-6.

Update No. 22
Meadville in control 35-15 in the fourth quarter, while Prep is leading 37-0 over Lake Catholic in the fourth.

Update No. 21
Midway through the third, Meadville leads East 28-15. Late third, Prep leads Lake Catholic 37-0.

Update No. 20
Terry with his third touchdown pass and the rout is on. 34-0 Prep over Lake Catholic with less than one minute left in the half.

Update No. 19
Damion Terry keeps it for a 10-yard touchdown. Prep jumps out to a 27-0 lead with three minutes left in the first half.

Update No. 18
Damion Terry finds Jake Plonski from 10 yards out. 20-0 Prep after the PAT was blocked. 5:30 left in the first half.

Update No. 17
East leads Meadville 9-7 after the first quarter.

Update No. 16
Delton Williams returns a punt 55 yards for a touchdown. He also had a 90-yarder against Strong Vincent. 14-0 Prep in the first.

For earlier updates, click below.

–Tom Reisenweber
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in: Football
Posted: August 26th, 2012

McDowell and Strong Vincent beware: St. Ignatius is as good as ever. The longtime Ohio power and defending Division I state champion opened its season Saturday night with a 31-7 victory over defending Division III state champion Cardinal Mooney at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Senior quarterback Michael LaManna passed for 225 yards and completed two first-quarter touchdown passes as St. Ignatius stormed to a 21-0 halftime lead. Tim McVey rushed 11 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns and had four receptions for 50 yards and a score.

Mooney avoided a shutout when Mark Handel scored on a 60-yard run in the fourth quarter.

St. Ignatius is an 11-time Ohio state champion, while Mooney is an eight-time state champ. McDowell will play St. Ignatius Sept. 21 at Gus Anderson Field and will visit Cardinal Mooney Oct. 12. Strong Vincent will host St. Ignatius Sept. 15.

In another Ohio score of interest to District 10 teams, Youngstown Ursuline rallied from an 18-0 halftime deficit to beat Youngstown East 41-24 Saturday. Cathedral Prep will host Ursuline Sept. 28 and Vincent will visit Ursuline Oct. 12.

Finally, St. Edward rolled to a 42-14 victory over another longtime Cleveland power, Glenville, Saturday. St. Edward, which forced five first-half turnovers, recovered from an early 14-7 deficit to score 35 unanswered points. St. Edward will visit McDowell Sept. 28.

McDowell fans can get an idea of what their team is up against this season by looking at this weekend’s scores. The Trojans will face the Cleveland area’s No. 1 (St. Ignatius), No. 3 (Mentor) and No. 4 (St. Edward) teams, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer poll. Those teams won their season openers by scores of 31-7, 33-13 and 42-14, respectively against quality competition.


Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: August 25th, 2012

McDowell will open the season against Mentor (Ohio) and 3,800-yard passer Mitch Trubisky on Friday at Gus Anderson Field. Mentor opened the season Friday with a 33-13 victory over Euclid.

Mentor and Trubisky had a rough start, but he recovered to pass for 197 yards and two TDs. He also rushed for 45 yards and a score.

Three games of area interest will be played today in Ohio.

Youngstown Ursuline was scheduled to open at home against Youngstown East at 2 p.m. Both Strong Vincent and Cathedral Prep will play Ursuline this season.

Cleveland power Glenville will visit St. Edward at 7  p.m while St. Ignatius meets Cardinal Mooney at 7 p.m. at Cleveland Browns Stadium. McDowell is scheduled to play St. Edward, St. Ignatius and Cardinal Mooney this season. Vincent will play St. Ignatius.


Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: August 23rd, 2012

Cathedral Prep, McDowell and Strong Vincent will face quite a challenge when they play several Ohio powers this year.

For instance, Cathedral Prep’s Sept. 15 opponent is Lake Catholic (Mentor). On Thursday, the Cougars routed Strongsville 49-21 in their season opener. Lake Catholic senior quarterback Mark Baniewicz rushed 17 times for 227 yards and five touchdowns and also passed for a TD. He did almost all of that damage in the first half, as he accounted for 194 rushing yards, four running TDs and his passing TD.

Lake Catholic was ranked No. 10 in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s opening poll of Cleveland-area teams.

However, if the Plain Dealer rankings are any indication, McDowell will face an even rougher task. The Trojans will meet three of the Cleveland area’s top four teams in the Plain Dealer poll.

McDowell will open against the No. 3 team, Mentor, next week. The Trjoans will face the No. 1 team, St. Ignatius, on Sept. 21, and No. 4-ranked St. Edward a week later. Strong Vincent also will play St. Ignatius (Sept. 15).

Another future McDowell foe, Cardinal Mooney, isn’t in the Cleveland area, so it isn’t included in the Plain Dealer poll. However, like St. Ignatius, Mooney is a defending Ohio state champion. Mooney and St. Ignatius will meet Saturday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: August 23rd, 2012

The PIAA football season is more than a week away, but several area football teams will watch the scoreboard with interest when the Ohio season opens this week.

Region 6 rivals McDowell, Cathedral Prep and Strong Vincent each will play powerhouse Ohio teams this year.

McDowell will face Mentor in next Friday’s opener followed by St. Ignatius (Sept. 21), St. Edward (Sept. 28) and Cardinal Mooney (Oct. 12).

Cathedral Prep will play Lake Catholic (Sept. 15) and Youngstown Ursuline (Sept. 28).

Strong Vincent will meet St. Ignatius (Sept. 15) and Youngstown Ursuline (Oct. 12).

Lake Catholic will open early, when it hosts Strongsville today at 7 p.m.

Mentor will host Euclid Friday at 7 p.m., and Cleveland power Glenville will visit St. Edward Saturday at 7 p.m. Youngstown Ursuline will open at home against Youngstown East on Saturday at 2 p.m. (The game’s date was changed.)

McDowell coaches will be able to double the impact of their scouting Saturday at 7 p.m. when St. Ignatius meets Cardinal Mooney at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Both teams are defending Ohio state champions – St. Ignatius in Division I (big schools) and Mooney in Division III.

Online coverage of the game can be found on the website.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: August 19th, 2012

Strong Vincent runs an offensive play Saturday against Fairview at Keck Field at Jack Bestwick Stadium.

Strong Vincent’s starters looked strong against Fairview on Saturday during the first day for scrimmages for PIAA teams.

The Colonels dropped to Class AAA from AAAA in the offseason. Fairview, playing on its new turf at Keck Field at Jack Bestwick Stadium, is Class AA.

“We did well,” Vincent coach Scott White said of the scrimmage. “Going against ourselves the first week of practice we don’t get a good look. For the first time, we went against an opponent, and we looked good. We’re not there yet, but we’re making progress.”

The Colonels looked particularly solid on the line, where they have all but one starter returning. Center Kyle Bogle (5 feet 11, 230 pounds) and tackle Tashan Jordan-Mitchell (6-1, 290) lead the big group of returnees.

“That seems to be where our strong point is,” White said. “We only graduated one lineman last year, so we’re going to lean on the line more. That’s where our experience is.”

However, the Colonels also have key players back in fullback Corey Henry (741 yards in 2011) and halfback Chris Kirkland (745). Kirkland showed his big-play ability by breaking a 60-yard touchdown run Saturday on a sweep with Henry leading the way. Henry, meanwhile, displayed his bruising, physical running style on several runs up the middle.

Vincent position battles: Two places where Vincent’s White is looking for starters to emerge are the right halfback and quarterback positions.

Seniors Craig Heidelberg and Kyle Mathis are competing to replace 1,200-yard back Mike Neavins. Both players had their moments Saturday. Heidelberg, a former Cathedral Prep player, had several tough runs up the middle.

Meanwhile, there’s a three-way battle for the starting quarterback spot. Chris Starocci, a junior who transferred from Prep, has been getting the most repetitions in practice, but seniors Anthony Twillie and Tyreek Green also are competing for the starting job. The winner of that competition will replace standout Denzel Jones, who ran for 1,085 yards and passed for 890 yards.

Fairview runner shows promise: One Fairview player who might have caught fans’ attention at Saturday’s scrimmage against Strong Vincent is senior Tanner Tregaskis.

Tregaskis is a former wide receiver who led the Tigers with 16 catches for 135 yards in 2011. However, he was running out the tailback spot Saturday with junior Shannon Jackson.

Tregaskis exhibited some solid moves and good vision, and he ran tough inside.

Jackson is Fairview’s leading returning rusher with 474 yards on just 88 carries in 2011. Tregaskis’ emergence could give the Tigers a solid one-two punch at tailback.

Jarrett Koper

Bad news for McDowell, Koper: McDowell is dealing with a tough blow after starting quarterback Jarrett Koper suffered a broken leg in practice. Koper’s father confirmed that he has a broken tibia. It’s not certain if Koper will be able to return in 2012.

Koper is McDowell’s leading returning rusher after running for 681 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011.

There’s no word yet on who is in line to start at quarterback in Koper’s absence.

It’s always rough when a high school athlete suffers an injury. But it’s particularly devastating when that player is a key contributor who had big plans for a senior season. The Varsity blog wishes Koper a speedy recovery.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: August 18th, 2012

Four District 10 football teams are ranked in the top 10 in their class in the Pennsylvania Football News preseason rankings, which were released today. Cathedral Prep (Class AAA), Grove City (AA) and Sharpsville (A) are ranked No. 5 in their respective classes. Hickory, meanwhile, is ranked No. 6 in Class AA.

McDowell (Class AAAA), Strong Vincent (AAA), Wilmington (AA), Mercyhurst Prep (A) and West Middlesex (A) are listed among Others to Watch.


Rank – School – District
1. Central Dauphin (3)
2. North Allegheny (7)
3. Wilson (West Lawn) (3)
4. Easton Area (11)
5. North Penn (1)
6. LaSalle College (12)
7. Gateway (7)
8. Downingtown East (1)
9. Upper St. Clair (7)
10. Ridley (1)

Others to Watch: Abington (1), Bethlehem Freedom (11), Council Rock North (1), Cumberland Valley (3), Delaware Valley (2), Garnet Valley (1), McDowell (10), McKeesport (7), Parkland (11), Pennridge (1), Pennsbury (1), Pittsburgh Central Catholic (7), Roman Catholic (12), Scranton (2), Seneca Valley (7), St. Joseph’s Prep (12), State College (6), Whitehall (11), Woodland Hills (7)


Rank – School – District
1. Archbishop Wood (12)
2. Bishop McDevitt (3)
3. Franklin Regional (7)
4. Central Valley (7)
5. Cathedral Prep (10)
6. Manheim Central (3)
7. Cardinal O’Hara (12)
8. Pottsgrove (1)
9. Berwick Area (2)
10. West Allegheny (7)

Others to Watch: Blackhawk (7),  Clearfield (9),  Cocalico (3),  Knoch (7),  Lampeter-Strasburg (3),  Lancaster Catholic (3),  Mars Area (7),  Montour (7),  Pottsville (11),  Scranton Prep (2),  Shippensburg (3),  Strath Haven (1),  Strong Vincent (10),  Valley View (2),  West Chester Henderson (1),  West York (3)


Rank – School – District
1. Aliquippa (7)
2. Wyomissing (3)
3. Mount Carmel (4)
4. Jeannette (7)
5. Grove City (10)
Hickory (10)
7. Pen Argyl (11)
8. GAR Memorial (2)
9. South Fayette (7)
10. Washington (7)

Others to Watch: Beaver Falls (7),  Bermudian Springs (3),  Danville (4),  Delone Catholic (3),  Forest Hills (6),  Imhotep Charter (12),  Karns City (9),  Mifflinburg (4),  Montoursville (4),  Northern Lehigh (11),  Richland (6),  Seton-LaSalle (7),  Towanda (4),  Trinity (3),  Tyrone Area (6),  West Catholic (12),  Wilmington (10),  Wyoming Area (2),


Rank – School – District
1. Clairton (7)
2. Southern Columbia (4)
3. Dunmore (2)
4. Rochester Area (7)
5. Sharpsville (10)
6. Brentwood (7)
7. Penns Manor (6)
8. Bellwood-Antis (6)
9. Old Forge (2)
10. Port Allegany (9)

Others to Watch: Avonworth (7),  Bethlehem-Center (7),  Bishop Canevin (7),  Clarion Area (9),  Coudersport (9),  Elk County Catholic (9),  Line Mountain (4),  Mercyhurst Prep (10),  Minersville (11),  North Star (5),  Pius X (11),  Riverside (2),  Schuylkill Haven (11),  Shenandoah Valley (11),  Sto-Rox (7),  West Middlesex (11)


Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: August 1st, 2012

Strong Vincent Colonels
Coach (season, record): Scott White (3rd season, 12-9)
2011 overall record: 8-3
2011 region record (place): 5-1 (second)
2011 playoff results: Defeated Mifflin County 42-21 and lost to State College 42-31 in a PIAA subregion tournament.
Top players lost: Denzel Jones, Shikeal Page, Mike Neavins, DeAndrye Henderson, Matt Rodgers, Blake Quirk, Robert Jones
Top returning players: Corey Henry, Chris Kirkland, Anthony Twillie, Kyle Mathis, Tashan Jordon-Mitchell, Hassam Farooq, Donald Bender, Antonio DeBerry, Troy Honard, Donny Tatum, Divon Jones, Kyle Bogel
Assistant coaches: Dan Olson, Chris Spooner, John Ferraro, Kevin Boxer, Allan Kavelish, Joe Gabbard, Shawn Carlson, Bob Helsely, Jim Fuller, Eric Jones, Brian Bires
Outlook: Strong Vincent had a fairly successful run in Class AAAA. The Colonels participated in the PIAA playoffs both years and won a state-playoff game last fall. The Colonels are back down into Class AAA this season and will need to win the District 10 championship to get to the state playoffs. Vincent has some holes to fill, especially at quarterback and running back. Denzel Jones was named to the all-district team at defensive back and was an all-region first-team defensive back and second-team quarterback. Jones threw for 890 yards and 12 touchdowns and ran for 1,085 yards and 16 touchdowns on 102 carries. He also had 49 tackles and two interceptions. Vincent also graduated running back Mike Neavins and wide receiver DeAndrye Henderson. Neavins ran for 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns on 106 carries and caught 10 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown. Henderson led the Colonels with 12 catches for 395 yards and five touchdowns. He was voted to the all-region first team at wide receiver. Vincent has most of its line back but the Colonels have to replace first-team offensive lineman Blake Quirk and second-team defensive lineman Robert Jones. Shikeal Page, Matt Rodgers and Robert Jones also leave big holes for the Colonels. Page was a first-team defensive back and Rodgers and Jones provided depth on both lines.

With all of the standout players Vincent lost, the Colonels have a solid group back. The offensive line is strong, including second-team lineman Tashan Jordan-Mitchell. Second-team tight end Donnie Tatum returns along with second-team defensive lineman Antonio DeBerry. Tatum caught four passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns last fall. In the backfield, Chris Kirkland and Corey Henry return for their senior seasons. Kirkland ran for 745 yards and nine touchdowns last year on his way to being voted to the second team at running back and at defensive back. He also caught 10 passes for 88 yards and one touchdown. Henry ran for 741 yards and five touchdowns and was voted to the first team at running back and linebacker. He finished with 44 tackles, including two sacks. Hassam Farooq, a first-team linebacker, returns after recording 43 tackles in 2011. Mark Akerly, Chris Strocci and Craig Heidelberg are new players this season that could make an impact right away.

Vincent has an experience group back this year but finding a new quarterback and a few running backs to add depth will be important. Vincent loaded its non-region schedule with talented teams that could get the Colonels ready for the D-10 playoffs. Vincent opens with defending D-10 Class AA champion Hickory before back-to-back brutal games with Cathedral Prep and St. Ignatius (Ohio). Vincent also has Youngstown Ursuline, Brashear and North East on the non-region schedule along with General McLane and McDowell on its Region 6 schedule. The Colonels have some holes to fill but their schedule is loaded and the program is strong. There might be a rematch between Prep and Vincent in the D-10 AAA championship in late November.

31 at Hickory 7
7 Cathedral Prep* 7
15 St. Ignatius (Ohio) 2
21 at East* 7
27 at Brashear 7
6 at Central Tech* 7
12 at Youngstown Ursuline (Ohio) 7
19 General McLane* 7
26 McDowell* 7
2 at North East 7
*Region 6 games

Thursday: Titusville

– Tom Reisenweber

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