Episcopal Academy out to defend title

Posted: September 05, 2013

AYEAR AGO, the Daily News tabbed Episcopal's football team as one trying to create a stir as the season approached. In hindsight, it's likely that description was much too tame. How about uproar? All the Churchmen did was race to their best record (10-0, 5-0) in school history, winning their first outright Inter-Ac crown since 1982.

Sparked by the talents of Daily News Inter-Ac Player of the Year Adam Strouss (now at Penn), the team leader at quarterback, and a suffocating defense that allowed a paltry 35 points (six shutouts) in 10 games, the Churchmen became the toast of the Inter-Ac.

Reflecting back, Episcopal coach Todd Fairlie said: "Last year was a great year for our program and our school. We accomplished something that had not been done in 30 years at EA."

Alas, that was 2012. And now it's on to this season, where, at the moment, we see a tight, three-team race among Malvern, Haverford School and the Churchmen.

The defending champs did graduate 18 seniors, but Fairlie doesn't see them going quietly.

"If we stay healthy and bring along our young players, we hope to be competing for another league championship," he said.

Senior two-way end Evan Butts (6-4, 225 pounds) is ticketed to Virginia and is arguably the league's top player. Junior John Minicozzi is a returning all-league selection and a force on both sides of the lines.

Remarkably, Malvern has not gone 2 consecutive years without at least a share of an Inter-Ac title since the '92 and '93 seasons. Furthermore, they have claimed at least a part of 13 of the last 19 titles. The swift Troy Gallen (Delaware commit), a multipurpose threat, should lead a balanced offense. Safety Jordan Majors (six interceptions in '12) will provide the last line of defense in the secondary.

Good vibes are coming from Haverford School, where the Fords have strong title hopes. Much of the optimism surrounds the hope of getting a healthy campaign from junior running back Philip Poquie, who was injured his first two seasons, but oozes potential.

Springside Chestnut Hill coach Rick Knox likes promising sophomore offensive lineman Darian Bryant (6-6, 335 pounds).

Penn Charter boasts the only new head coach in the league, as Tommy Coyle takes over after spending the last 13 years at Father Judge.

Germantown Academy hopes that the pass-catching duo of Hayes Nolte (1,600 yards passing) and Kyle Donahue (513 receiving) will keep opposing defenses honest.

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