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FOOTBALL: St. Joseph's Prep Cinches PCL Red Division; Postseason Begins for Numerous PIAA Hopefuls

By John Knebels, 11/03/23, 1:15PM EDT



PHILADELPHIA – With the regular season having ended this past weekend, the postseason commences for several PCL squads that will try to qualify for a district championship contest. First, however, they need to topple familiar Catholic League foes.

Among the teams riding serious momentum into the playoffs is St. Joseph’s Prep. To little surprise, the Hawks wrapped up the Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division football title with a convincing 45-7 win over Roman Catholic Saturday night at Upper Dublin High School.

Before defeating Roman Catholic, the Prep (8-1 overall, 4-0 division) had already clinched a first-round bye in the PCL Class 6A playoffs. While Nick McGlynn returned two interceptions for touchdowns to jumpstart the Prep defense, running backs Caddy Phillips (10 carries, 115 yards) and Isaiah West (10-97, two touchdowns) fueled the Prep offense.

“It’s very important to us,” said Phillips, referring to the Prep’s 23rd all-time PCL crown, the most in league history. “It’s one of our goals. It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks. We focus on us and try to accomplish every goal that we set ahead

SJP touchdown by Junior Isaiah West in game vs. Roman Catholic. (video/ Zack Beavers for PSD)

SJP Touchdown by Senior Samaji Jones in game vs. Roman Catholic. (Video/ Zack Beavers for PSD)

“Roman was a well-coached team that wanted to win, so we knew it wasn’t gonna be easy. We just had to make some adjustments so we can come out with the win.”

Roman (7-2, 3-1) was frustrated by a Prep defense that held them to 60 yards passing and has allowed one touchdown or fewer in five of their last six games. On November 4, the Cahillites take on Archbishop Wood (1-7, 0-4) in the PCL Class 5A final. On October 6, visiting Roman overwhelmed Wood, 34-3.

The Prep’s playoff opponent will be the winner of the November 3 battle between La Salle and Father Judge. In their regular-season finale this past Friday, the Explorers defeated the host Crusaders, 43-13, as quarterback Gavin Sidwar fired a career-high five touchdowns on 23-of-30 passing for 301 yards.

A slew of productive receivers included Nick Swanson (5 catches, 110 yards, three touchdowns), Jules McFadden (6 catches, 89 yards, and his 11th touchdown of the season), and Joey O’Brien (3-32, TD). For Judge, Eric Smith gained 109 yards on 15 rushes.

In the PCL Blue Division, a huge game beckons November 3 as Bonner-Prendergast hosts Cardinal O’Hara in the PCL Class 4A championship. In their earlier bout, B-P edged the visiting Lions, 13-7. Both teams will be coming off victories.

O’Hara (7-3, 5-2) received a career-best three touchdown passes from quarterback John Welde (16 of 29, 276 yards), along with 104 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries from Keon Powell en route to an exciting 41-35 victory over visiting Lansdale Catholic (5-5, 3-4). The Crusaders stayed close behind two touchdown passes and two more rushing by quarterback Cole Meehan. The Lions have amassed their best record since 2016.

“It feels great,” O’Hara coach Mike Ewing said. “I’m happy for the kids. They put a lot of work in the off-season to turn the team around.”  

Bonner-Prendergast (7-2, 6-1) used Mick Johnson’s dominant running of 128 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries to blank West Catholic, 35-0. The Friars’ defense held the Burrs (0-9, 0-7) to 66 receiving yards and only six rushing yards.

“Winning would definitely mean a lot because every year I have been at Bonner, we have advanced to this (next) game,” Bonner center Kieran Farren said. “It has become the new standard for our program, and as a senior on the team, I feel like it is my responsibility to help lead us there. This game is even better because we are getting to play our rival O’Hara at home.”

Having clinched the Blue Division last week, Neumann-Goretti (8-1, 7-0) raised its winning streak to eight with a 23-14 win over Archbishop Ryan (2-9, 2-5).

Offsetting Ryan quarterback Frankie Mawson’s two scoring passes to Bryce Werner (six catches, 80 yards), Neumann-Goretti quarterback Mehki Wharton tossed three touchdown passes. On November 5, the Saints will host Conwell-Egan in the Class 3A PCL final. Neumann-Goretti defeated host Conwell-Egan, 28-14, on October 13.

“Me and the team feel ready for Egan,” Wharton said. “Every team tries to put their best against us because of where we went last year. We just need to get the win against Egan to keep advancing.”

Conwell-Egan (6-4, 4-3) will try to ride the momentum of it 29-0 triumph at Archbishop Carroll (3-7, 1-6). While stymying the Patriots’ rushing attack to 51 yards, the Eagles were buoyed by Tayshaun Thenor’s two touchdowns, along with a nifty interception TD return by Tim Gipli – his second this fall.


Pick 6 play by Conwell Egan Senior Tim Gipli in game vs. Carroll. (video/ Ryan Nix for PSD)