by Jonathan Vander Lugt
On the heels of a 2018 season that was as good as any in recent memory, Penn Charter football is off to rolling start in 2019. The Quakers have played three games and have won each by at least three touchdowns, with a total point differential of +80.
Not too shabby.
“Our record is 3-0 and we’re really proud of that,” said PC head coach Tom Coyle. “We beat a good Lansdale Catholic team, avenged a loss from last year against Conwell-Egan Catholic and played pretty well against Central.”
The team has acheieved this early success despite injuries to some key players. PC is currently missing starting center Ryan Wreath and tight end and linebacker Andre O’Neal – two of the team’s better players by Coyle’s estimation.
“The kids that have stepped up to replace them have done a great job,” he said.
PC routed the Lancers, 44-8, on the strength of a great all-around performance. They ran 36 times for 226 yards, passed for another 186, notched a safety and kept penalties to a minimum. It’s hard to imagine a better result.
“We haven’t hurt ourselves,” Coyle said. “I don’t know what the formula is other than to just pay attention and stay disciplined.
“These kids get to school and are willing to do a lot of work,” he went on. “Football is just one aspect, and they take a lot of pride in what they do.”
Senior QB Kyle Jones led the way with all 186 of his team’s passing yards, and a score on 11-of-14 passing to go with 101 yards and another touchdown on seven carries.
“In high school football, it’s imperative that you have a good quarterback because he’s got his hands on the ball every snap,” Coyle said. “You need a kid who’s bright, athletic and can make good decisions.”
So far, Jones has been exactly that for the Quakers. In PC’s three games, he has accounted for nine total touchdowns (five rushing and four passing), 319 rushing yards and 340 passing yards.
“Our team really goes as Kyle goes,” Coyle said. “He’s a great football player and a great kid. He’s got a lot of respect from his teammates, coaches and classmates. He’s a great leader.
“Quarterback is a position where all eyes are on you,” he went on. “No moment’s too big for Kyle. He’s someone we can count on when we need a big play, and he’s done that repeatedly.”
Flanking him on offense is junior Matthew Marshall. In his first season getting full-time snaps at running back, Marshall has run for at least 100 yards in all three games, totaling 484 on just 49 carries while scoring seven touchdowns in that span.
“Matthew’s a playmaker,” Coyle said. “Even though he didn’t make a ton of plays on offense prior to this year, he was still able to deliver when we needed it. He’s a lockdown corner and makes a lot of great plays on defense too. He defends the other team’s best receiver and he does a great job.
“He’s a threat to make a big play regardless of whether he’s on offense, defense or special teams,” Coyle said. “We expect a lot out of him for the next two years.”
Elsewhere, Coyle is relying on junior receiver Aaron Maione and sophomore tight end (and first-time football player) Isaiah Grimes to facilitate the offense. Senior Gavin Zavorski is filling in for Wreath at center – his third position change in as many seasons.
Most of the main guys on offense play on both sides of the ball, with just as much responsibility. Coyle also singled out his special teams unit as particularly talented between kicker Ryan Bradby and punter Ryan Holmes.
In all, this is a team that, despite being only three games into the year, is already in midseason form.
“It’s always our goal to get better throughout the year,” Coyle said. “We don’t want to be playing our best football during 7-on-7s in June, or even on Labor Day weekend. I know it’s coach speak, but our guys are really focused on playing Upper Dublin.”
The Quakers (3-0, 0-0) will head to Fort Washington to take on the Cardinals Friday night before finishing the non-conference season at Blair Academy in New Jersey the following week.
Around the Area:
Local teams fared well for another weekend. Springside Chestnut Hill won against Roman Catholic, 44-7, Germantown Academy beat Father Judge, 42-30, and La Salle toppled the Haverford School, 48-27.
The Blue Devil (3-0, 0-0) offense kept rolling with its second straight game of over 40 points and third of at least 35. Junior QB A.J. Graham continued his game-over-game improvement with 11-for-16 passing for 206 yards and three touchdowns – all to Ke’Shawn Williams, who turned in another dynamic performance. The Kent State commit finished with five catches for 135 yards, and also took an interception back for six. SCH will face Archbishop Ryan at home next week before heading to The Hill School the following week to wrap its non-conference season.
Junior QB Jordan Longino picked up right where he left off last week in GA’s (3-0, 0-0) win. The dual-threat passer notched 282 yards and three touchdowns on 16-of-20 passing, in addition to 38 rushing yards on six carries. Jerry Griffen-Batchler and Lacey Snowden each had monster days – the former with 157 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions, the latter with 147 rushing yards and three scores on 27 carries. GA has a bye week before finishing its non-conference schedule against The Lawrenceville School and Hatboro-Horsham.
The Explorers (4-0, 0-0) faced a tough Ford team and came out with a blowout victory. Their next matchup against archrival St. Joe’s Prep promises to be their toughest test yet, and perhaps of the entire season.