Week of Sept. 12, 2011
1. Archbishop Wood (Record: 1-1. Previous Week: 3. Weeks Rated: 3.)
2. Downingtown East (Record: 2-0. Previous Week: 2. Weeks Rated: 3.)
3. La Salle (Record: 1-1. Previous Week: 1. Weeks Rated: 3.)
4. Council Rock South (Record: 2-0. Previous Week: 4. Weeks Rated: 3.)
5. Neshaminy (Record: 2-0. Previous Week: 5. Weeks Rated: 3.)
6. North Penn (Record: 1-1. Previous Week: 6. Weeks Rated: 3.)
7. Ridley (Record: 2-0. Previous Week: 8. Weeks Rated: 2.)
8. St. Joseph’s Prep (Record: 2-0. Previous Week: NR. Weeks Rated: 1.)
9. Coatesville (Record: 2-0. Previous Week: 10. Weeks Rated: 2.)
10. Malvern Prep (Record: 1-1. Previous Week: NR. Weeks Rated: 2.)
Philadelphia (CBS)–There is a change about St. Joseph’s Prep this season. The Hawks are tougher, more physical, major elements that were sometimes missing last year. They are also much more familiar with second-year coach Gabe Infante’s system, possess the best quarterback and Southeastern Pennsylvania in Penn State-bound Skyler Mornhinweg, and are getting incredible production from a special freshman, John Reid.
It’s all translated into a 2-0 start—and could mean bigger things later this season. For now, Infante and Mornhinweg are moving slowly with a passion to prove something.
“There is a great difference between this year and last year,” said Mornhinweg, who led the Hawks over St. Marguerite d’Youville (Canada) and Gonzaga (D.C.) by averaging 45 points a game. “Coach Infante and his staff worked us hard in the summer and there’s an attitude there. Last year we lost some tough games and I put that on myself. In the end, it comes down to the quarterback. I had to make everyone better around me. But as a team, we have a chip on our shoulders and we’re becoming a dangerous team.”
What’s added to that is Infante’s influence. In 2010, the Hawks were learning about Infante, as he was learning about them. A year under Infante, the players know what he expects and are delivering. He built team-building—and character-building—exercises, which meant summer trips to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for disaster relief, and played in passing camps at Boston College and Rutgers.
“It was them getting to know me, and what I’m about,” Infante said. “Trust is a factor. You can tell our guys believe in each other. That’s the biggest change, they believe in each other. We believe we can win and we trust each other. We’re not big, but we’re stronger than we were last year. Once the ball gets passed,
you see the changes; you see the passion. We set off this off-season to challenge our kids. We want to reclaim some of the respect people have taken away from us last year.”
Then there is the emergence of Reid. The 6-foot, 175-pound freshman scored twice in the 49-7 victory over St. Marguerite d’Youville in the season opener and caught three passes for 83 yards in the Hawks’ 41-14 victory over Gonzaga last weekend. Reid gives the Hawks an added dimension they didn’t possess last season.
“John has blazing speed, he’s elusive, and [against Gongaza] last week, we put him in the slot, and he catches the ball well,” Infante said. “We played John on defense, and he played pass defense well. He’s very talented and his work ethic is unique. He’s really, really rare. What makes him more special is that he’s humble, he just isn’t satisfied. He’s very excited about this opportunity.”
Added Mornhinweg, “John is a special player, he’s helping out our team in so many ways this year.”
Ahead for the Hawks is traditional Southeastern Pennsylvania powerhouse North Penn this Saturday.
Game of the Week
North Penn (1-1) at St. Joseph’s Prep (2-0), Saturday 7 p.m. at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
This game may mean more to undefeated St. Joseph’s Prep than it does to the 1-1 Knights. Prep has opened the season exploding on offense with a combined 90 points against a team from Canada and a team from Washington, D.C. North Penn will pose a variety of different issues.
“This is definitely a statement game for us,” Prep quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg said. “This is the first team we’re playing in our area and we have to show what we can play like.”
Hawks’ coach Gabe Infante places great importance on the game, though his larger concern is the bigger picture ahead.
“North Penn is an important game, because it’s the next game,” Infante said. “We’re concerned with getting better each week, and working on finding ways to get better every day. North Penn is a great football team, a great football team and they’re well coached. It’s why we take an aggressive schedule. North Penn is a big, physical team with a tradition of winning. It’s going to be a great game. Their linebacker, Ralph Reeves, is a special player who you have to account for every play. They have senior leadership and experienced guys who are used to winning. They believe they’re going to win and so do we.”
Reported by Joseph Santoliquito