By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia (CBS)—If it were up to St. Joseph’s Prep coach Gabe Infante, his first three nonleague opponents would be Alabama, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. Infante believes in having his teams play perfect, and if not perfect, pretty darn close to it. So to get there, he’s devised a national schedule that he feels will more than prepare his team for the Philadelphia Catholic League Class AAAA season and possibly beyond.
High schools across the state will kickoff this weekend. The Hawks will kickoff tonight at 7 p.m. in Dallas, Texas, against the Dallas Jesuit Rangers, who play at the 5A level in Texas.
“I think we play the toughest schedule in the area, and the purpose behind it is to grow as a team,” Infante said. “I’ll play anyone if makes us a better team. The goal is to prepare for later in the season and you don’t do that unless you prepare your team against the best right now. When we have to play good teams like La Salle, Roman Catholic, Archbishop Wood, we’ll be ready.”
Games of the week
St. Joseph’s Prep at Dallas Jesuit, Friday, 7 CT, at Dallas, Texas: The Rangers finished 8-3 last year and lost in their regional round of the state playoffs. Prep is considered by many the best team in the area, and by CBS MaxPreps, as the best team in the state. The Hawks are looking to make history this season and make the state playoffs for the first time in school history, attempting to break the stranglehold of five-time defending Catholic League Class AAAA champion La Salle.
Prediction: St. Joe’s Prep 28, Dallas Jesuit 20
Springfield (Delco) at Interboro, Friday, 7:30 p.m., at the South Avenue Athletic Complex: Interboro is the defending District 1 Class AAA champions and Springfield is a team that could threaten a Bucs’ repeat down the line. The Bucs went 11-3 last year, while Springfield finished 7-4. The true battle comes in the trenches between behemoths Nick Apostolu, Springfield’s 6-5, 310-pound two-way lineman, and Interboro’s Matt Gould, who’s 6-6, 315. For anyone interested in a heavyweight fight, here it is.
Prediction: Interboro 24, Springfield 19
North Penn at La Salle, Saturday, 7 p.m. at Plymouth-Whitemarsh: Like St. Joe Prep’s Gabe Infante, North Penn’s Dick Beck fears no one. North Penn opens the season with the first of a three-game gauntlet that features five-time defending Catholic League champ La Salle, Class AAA state runner-up Archbishop Wood and St. Joe’s Prep, considered the best team in the area and possibly the state. La Salle junior quarterback Kyle Shurmur makes his first varsity start. He’s already receiving attention from Michigan State and Penn State—and it has nothing to do with his father, Eagles’ offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Kyle’s that good.
La Salle 45, North Penn 28