Rick O'Brien: No varsity football for Calvary Christian

Posted: September 06, 2012

The Calvary Christian football squad shined at the Class A level in the last three seasons. The bid to achieve similar success in 2012 has ended.

Citing the team's overall inexperience and lack of size, especially up front, school administrators have canceled the varsity season.

"We were worried about the safety of our student-athletes," Calvary Christian athletic director Michael Cardinal said. "It's disappointing, but it's something we felt we needed to do."

The Cougars forfeited Friday night's scheduled opener at Kutztown, a Class AA program. It had notified the PIAA District 3 school about a week in advance that it would not be playing.

"We are dropping down to a JV program this year," Cardinal said. "We came to that decision over the weekend."

Calvary Christian had 26 varsity players. Last year's team had between 27 and 30.

"The number isn't the issue," Cardinal said. "It's more the makeup of the team. We were so small and inexperienced. A lot of the kids were freshmen and sophomores, and some of them had never played organized football before."

Cardinal said the Northeast Philadelphia school has an enrollment of about 320 students (boys and girls) in grades 9-12. It had only six seniors on the varsity. That's half of last year's total.

The Cougars, who began playing varsity football in 1999, are scheduled to host Bicentennial Athletic League rival Bristol in a JV game at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Bristol's varsity, like other scheduled opponents, will be awarded a forfeit victory.

Will Calvary Christian's seniors be able to suit up?

"In our league, we don't have a rule that seniors can't play JV ball," Cardinal said. "We'll leave that up to the schools we play. Just as we were concerned about our kids' safety, we don't want to put other teams at risk."

The Cougars, coached by former Eagles linebacker Mike Reichenbach, went 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the BAL last season. They beat Delaware County Christian for their second consecutive District 1 title. They were eliminated by District 11's Pius X in the first round of states.

"The plan definitely is to have a varsity program next year," Cardinal said. "We're going to do everything we can, especially when it comes to helping our younger players progress, to get back on the field."

Moving on. Father Judge returned home Sunday night from Ireland, where it lost to Notre Dame Prep (Ariz.), 20-6, in Navan.

"I thought the trip was a fantastic experience," Crusaders coach Tommy Coyle said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we were able to take advantage of it."

Connor Foley accounted for all of Judge's scoring, hitting a pair of field goals.

"I knew, going into it, that Notre Dame was a good football team," Coyle said.

The Crusaders, hurt by turnovers against the Saints, have since turned their attention to Friday night's nonleague game at Council Rock South. Last year, in a scorcher at Lincoln High, the Golden Hawks eked out a 35-34 win.

Coyle said the Crusaders "have to get healthy." Marquis Seamon, a junior tailback and cornerback, suffered a broken wrist in the third quarter against Notre Dame.

Alex Jur, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound senior offensive tackle, is out with concussion symptoms. Trent Turpin, a 6-0, 240-pound senior guard, injured a shoulder in training camp. Both could miss the season.

Rick O'Brien: Inquirer State Football Rankings

Last week's ranking in parentheses. Area teams in bold.

Class AAAA

1. North Allegheny (1) 1-0

2. La Salle (2) 1-0

3. Central Dauphin (3) 1-0

4. Easton (4) 1-0

5. Downingtown East (5) 1-0

6. Gateway (7) 1-0

7. Upper St. Clair (9) 1-0

8. Wilson-W. Lawn (6) 1-0

9. North Penn (8) 0-1

10. Cumberland Val. (NR) 1-0

Class AAA

1. Archbishop Wood (1) 1-0

2. Bishop McDevitt (3) 1-0

3. Central Valley (4) 1-0

4. Erie Cathed. Prep (6) 1-0

5. Montour (8) 1-0

6. Berwick (5) 1-0

7. Manheim Central (7) 1-0

8. Mars (NR) 1-0

9. Thomas Jefferson (9) 1-0

10. Lancaster Cath. (NR) 1-0

Class AA

1. Aliquippa (1) 1-0

2. Mount Carmel (2) 1-0

3. Jeannette (3) 1-0

4. Imhotep Charter (4) 1-0

5. Hickory (7) 1-0

6. Wyomissing (5) 1-0

7. Grove City (9) 1-0

8. Seton-La Salle (6) 1-0

9. West Catholic (8) 0-0

10. South Fayette (NR) 1-0

Class A

1. Clairton (1) 1-0

2. So. Columbia (2) 1-0

3. Rochester (3) 1-0

4. Dunmore (4) 1-0

5. Bishop Canevin (5) 1-0

6. Brentwood (8) 1-0

7. Line Mountain (9) 1-0

8. Chart.-Houston (NR) 0-1

9. Sto-Rox (6) 1-0

10. Sharpsville (NR) 1-0

- Rick O'Brien

Contact Rick O'Brien

at 610-313-8019, robrien@phillynews.com,

or on Twitter @ozoneinq.

Contact Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019 or robrien@phillynews.com. Follow @ozoneinq on Twitter.

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