CHA head coach Rick Knox (in CHA t-shirt) leads his team in practice before beating Father Judge last weekend, 36 – 35. (Photo by Pete Mazzaccaro)

CHA head coach Rick Knox (in CHA t-shirt) leads his team in practice before beating Father Judge last weekend, 36 – 35. (Photo by Pete Mazzaccaro)

by Pete Mazzaccaro

A year ago, Father Judge scored 35 points en route to a shutout performance against the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Blue Devils varsity football team. SCH’s star quarterback Paul Dooley was injured early in the game, taking away a key element of the Blue Devil’s high scoring offense.

This past Saturday, Father Judge again scored 35, but couldn’t stop the Blue Devils from scoring 36 in a win that has the team off to a 4-0 start.

The dramatic win, which required a touchdown and a two-point conversion with less than a minute on the clock, has the team looking as good as it ever has. It was Dooley’s best performance – 22 completions out of 45 attempts for 362 yards. Four passes were for touchdowns.

“We have a lot of experienced players back, especially on offense,” said Blue Devil’s head coach Rick Knox in explaining the Blue Devil’s unbeaten form. “We only lost one skill player from last year and we have a Sophomore running back, Syaire Madden, who’s playing like a senior.”

Returning receivers for SCH include seniors Jordan Johnson, Dylan Parsons and Sameir Madden – Syaire’s older brother.

“We’re pretty explosive on offense,” Knox said.” Our quarterback is one of the best in the area. The kid can throw. He can also run the ball really well. When you add that dynamic, it’s tough to defend against.”

Knox said that while offense looks as good as it did last year, the defense is better.

“Last year, defense was our Achilles’ heel,” he said. “We’re stopping the run this year – we weren’t doing that last year. Defensive line-wise, we’re rotating guys. All linebackers playing only one way which is a big part of it.”

The great start to the year is something to be optimistic about for the team, which last year finished 5-5 overall and 1-4 in InterAc league play. In next week’s homecoming game, SCH faces the Hill School Rams, which have lost two in a row to both Germantown Academy and Episcopal Academy.

Knox noted that the Hill School has a new coach, but is preparing to play the team like any other despite its lackluster start.

“They start their season later, so it takes them a little longer,” he said.

The team is excited to get on the field at the school’s newly completed Maguire Stadium for what is always one of the best-attended athletic events at the school.

“We’re really psyched about the turnout,” Knox said. “It’s always our best crowd of the year.”

That game will take place at the school’s Landreth Field at 2:30 p.m., Saturday Sept. 27.