Ramblers defeat Berks Catholic, advance to Hershey

The Cathedral Prep football team faced off against Berks Catholic in semifinals of the Pennsylvania Class 4A playoffs. The winner of the game would advance to the state championship game. Both teams came into this game with undefeated records. The Ramblers were 12-0, and the Saints were 13-0. Berks Catholic was looking to get revenge against Cathedral Prep because of their loss in the semifinals last year.

On the first drive of the game Berks Catholic drove down the field and scored on a Cooper Lutz touchdown. The Ramblers immediately responded when Joe Mischler threw a 59-yard bomb to Terry Roberts. The Saints offense continued to have their way with Ramblers defense and scored again to make it 14-7. When the Ramblers got the ball back they drove down the field, and their drive was capped off with a phenomenal Billy Lucas touchdown run. The Berks Catholic offense picked up right where they left off and made it 21-14 with 1:33 left until the half. The Ramblers then had one of their biggest drives of the game when they drove down the field right before half to score the game tying touchdown on another Lucas touchdown run.

It was 21-21 at the half, and the game seemed like it could go either way. Cathedral Prep came out energized in the second half as they took the lead on a huge Billy Lucas touchdown run on their first offensive play. The Ramblers defense then came up huge the next drive to hold Berks Catholic to a field goal. It was now 28-24 Prep. Lucas continued his great performance and rushed for his 4th touchdown of the game and gave the Ramblers some breathing room. It was now 35-24 Prep, and things were looking bright. Cathedral Prep’s defense played great in the second half and didn’t let up a touchdown. Billy Lucas wrapped the game up with a long 89-yard touchdown run. Lucas finished his outstanding performances with 14 carries for 268 yards and 5 touchdowns.

The Ramblers will face off against Imhotep Charter in the state championship for the third straight year Thursday night at 7 p.m.




2017 Midseason NFL Awards

Through 9 weeks of the 2017-18 NFL regular season, here are my picks for the midseason NFL awards:

Offensive Player Of The Year: The best offensive player through the first half of the season has undoubtedly been Carson Wentz. The one-year pro out of FCS North Dakota State is absolutely lighting the NFL on fire and quickly wiping away any remaining doubts due to his lackluster collegiate competition. Wentz has propelled the 8-1 Eagles atop the NFL. Although he withstands a below average rushing attack, inconsistent offensive line play, the absence of an elite receiver, and a lack of depth in his receiving corps every week, he has still found a way to get it done. He leads the NFL in passing touchdowns, is fourth in passing yards, and fourth in quarterback rating despite being sacked the eighth most of all passers in the league. He is able to beat teams through the air with his unique blend of poise, leadership, and accuracy, and he also can beat teams on the ground with his speed and athleticism. He is the future of not only the Eagles but the entire NFL.

Defensive Player Of The Year: Arguably the best free agent signing of the 2017 NFL offseason has been the Jacksonville Jaguars taking a gamble on the 31-year-old Calais Campbell. The longtime Cardinal hit the free agent market, and the Jaguars reeled him in. I’m sure they’re fairly happy looking back on that decision. Campbell has been a nightmare on the interior of the Jaguars defensive line. This is the defense the front office has been building for years and fans have been eagerly awaiting. Campbell leads the NFL with 11.0 sacks including a 4-sack performance against Houston. There seems to be no shortage of gas left in the tank for veteran. He still helps plenty in the run game and has been a handful for offensive lines and quarterbacks alike. He is so effective in every facet of the game no matter where he is lined up at. Campbell has been nothing short of dominant during the first half of the season and it finally looks like that ferocious Jacksonville defense is coming to fruition.

Defensive Comeback Player Of The Year: After registering only a single sack, dealing with injuries, sustaining a 4-game suspension, and only appearing in 9 games last year, DeMarcus Lawrence has completely changed the identity of the Dallas pass rush this year. He sits at the number two spot in sacks, trailing only Calais Campbell by 0.5, with 10.5. Lawrence has always been a talented athlete, evidenced by his 8.0 sacks back in 2015. If Dallas can keep him motivated, he could be the future of a scary front seven. The Cowboys have been in desperate search of a defensive player to build that side of the ball around, and it seems they are finally forming a solid young nucleus led by Lawrence. He has been an unstoppable force on the outside and has regularly sought special attention by offenses. Although early, it looks as though the Cowboys finally found their long-awaited bookend on the defensive line, which makes everyone’s job a little easier.

Offensive Rookie Of The Year: No rookie has had a more remarkable impact on the game than Deshaun Watson in 2017. Watson has had an undeniable role in bringing the Texans to their current win total. The Texans began the season hoping that Tom Savage could manage his way to low scoring victories thanks to Houston’s dominant defense. Well, neither of those assumptions turned out to be true. Savage was replaced by Watson opening day, and the defense has dealt with constant injuries. So, how did Watson handle the pressure? He took charge and single-handedly transformed his unit into the number one offense in the league with him under center. Despite only starting in seven games, he has thrown for the second most touchdowns and holds the sixth best QBR in the NFL. He has been a pure gunslinger and has even produced monster games against top defenses (Tennessee, Kansas City, Seattle). Watson also dominated games on the ground and was the ultimate dual threat before suffering a torn ACL during practice before Week 9.

Defensive Rookie Of The Year: Although T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers seems to be the popular pick for DROY and looks the best on paper, Tre’Davious White has quietly been the best defensive rookie through the first 9 weeks. After losing Stephon Gilmore in free agency and Ronald Darby in a trade with Philadelphia, the team was forced to put their hope in the rookie LSU product handling number one cornerback duties. White has quickly become a staple of the surprisingly good defense. He is emerging as a legitimate shutdown cover corner. White has recorded 12 pass breakups to go along with an interception, 26 tackles, a forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries in the first half of the season. As if his defensive contributions weren’t enough, White also has the ability to handle punt return duties as well. Because he was relied upon so heavily from the start in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Buffalo, he has risen above all initial expectations. He is largely to thank for Buffalo’s under the radar defense and should further develop into a true star on the outside.

Coach Of The Year: Perhaps no team has truly done a 180 quite like the Los Angeles Rams have in 2017. After dragging through another dreadful offensive campaign last year, it looks like the Rams finally have something to work with. Thank you, Sean McVay. McVay worked as the offensive coordinator in Washington, guiding Kirk Cousins through the best years of his career. Somehow, someway, McVay turned what many thought to be a bust (Jared Goff) into an above average NFL starter. He is the youngest head coach in NFL history but continues to prove himself week in and week out. Todd Gurley is experiencing a breakthrough year that reminds fans of his jaw-dropping rookie season. This Rams offense is firing on all cylinders, averaging an NFL best 32.9 point per game, up from an NFL worst 14.0 last season. They are competing for the top spot in the NFC West along with the Seattle Seahawks. The defense is still the defense, but McVay’s offensive system is flourishing among the players and new look team. McVay looks to have completely transformed this team into a perennial contender for years to come.




Cyclones upset Sooners in Big 12 shocker

The Oklahoma Sooners hosted the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday. The game turned out to be the biggest upset of the year thus far. Oklahoma was a whopping 31-point favorite coming into this game. They were the number 3 ranked team in the country and had a pretty impressive resume with a win against Ohio State on the road by double digits. Oklahoma’s quarterback, Baker Mayfield, was getting a lot of Heisman talk this year, too. 

Iowa State came into this game without their starting quarterback, Jacob Park, who took a leave of absence. Kyle Kempt, a redshirt senior, had to take over for Park. To no one’s surprise, Oklahoma fired out of the gate and took a 14-0 lead. At the half score was 24-13 Oklahoma. Iowa State had kept themselves in the game up to this point, but they didn’t look in control. 

Iowa State started the second half off with a field goal to make it a one possession game. Halfway through the third quarter a huge momentum change happened. Oklahoma’s freshmen running back, Trey Sermon, fumbled at the ISU 6-yard line. Kempt took advantage of this and drove the ISU offense down the field. Marchie Murdock caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Kempt to put them within two points. Iowa State converted the two point conversion, and the game was tied at the end of the third. 

Oklahoma got into field goal position the very next drive, but it did not work out as junior kicker Austin Seibert missed a field goal. Kempt and the Iowa State offense put together an electric touchdown drive on a 57-yard pass to Trever Ryen. Oklahoma managed to respond with a touchdown to tie the game at 31. With less than 3 minutes left in the game Kempt threw the soon to be game-winning to touchdown pass to Allen Lazard. Oklahoma turned it over on downs the next drive, which sealed the game for the Cyclones. 

Baker Mayfield finished 24/33 for 306 yards and threw for 2 touchdowns. This loss will definitely hurt Mayfield’s chances at the Heisman this year. The winning quarterback Kyle Kempt finished the game 18/24 for 343 yards and 2 touchdowns. This ended Iowa State’s 18-game losing streak against the Sooners. Oklahoma’s playoff chances have shrunk as this loss dropped them all the way down to #12.




NFL players’ protests during national anthem spark outrage and support, debate and discussion

Although the specific tradition of NFL players standing for the anthem dates back to only 2009, it has been a longstanding tradition in the United States to play the “Star Spangled Banner” (the national anthem) before sporting events. It is customary for anyone present at the game, including players, coaches, and spectators, to at least stand. In 2016, then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback player Colin Kaepernick sat and later kneeled during the playing of the national anthem to protest against police brutality and structural racism. This quiet symbolic action generated a loud discussion discrediting Kaepernick’s behavior, with some calling it “disrespectful.”

Among this animosity, some other players throughout the National Football League chose to follow suit. Although more athletes were doing it, the action was not described as a “movement.” It was more the act of individual players who believed in what Kaepernick’s message. However, these actions caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who took to Twitter to display his disapproval. 

On September 23, Donald Trump tweeted “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect to our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

President Trump’s tweet sparked strong reactions from various players and teams throughout the NFL. Teams used their own methods to protest the anthem, almost as a form of resistance towards Donald Trump. A day after the tweet, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had his team skip the anthem altogether, choosing to remain in the locker room until the game actually started. The Chicago Bears chose to remain standing but locked arms while the anthem played. Players on the Dolphins wore Kaepernick T-shirts during their pregame warm-up. Before Trump’s tweet, protesting the anthem was only done by individual players scattered throughout the league. After the tweet, entire teams made it their prerogative to express their resistance. 

These different types of protests along with President Trump’s reaction have garnered nationwide discussion. Media outlets have blown this story up to its fullest extent, and the controversy has been a topic of discussion across the country, even making its way into the halls of Cathedral Prep.

Mr. Pituch, a social studies teacher at Prep, weighed in on the issue. “This has become a very polarizing issue. Both sides present a clear argument on its relevance today.”

Jack Matthews, senior at Cathedral Prep, stated his opinion, “I feel that kneeling in protest of the flag is un-American. Our first amendment right is not only the freedom of speech but the freedom to not say anything at all.” Matthews’ opinion is against the players’ actions; however, there is always another side to the issue.

Mr. Hubert, an English and journalism teacher at Prep, used the issue as a teachable moment in his sports journalism class. “What I was reading on social media and what I was hearing in conversation was a lot of divisive, polarizing rhetoric,” he said. “I try to teach my students that it is important to be willing to engage in respectful dialogue and to listen to different perspectives on tough issues.”

Mr. Hubert assigned his sports journalism students to read a variety of articles analyzing and reporting on the protests. The articles, which came from a variety of sources, spanned the political spectrum and included columns with low-to-high levels of bias as well as objective news reports. “I was pleased with how well my students handled the follow-up conversation in a civilized manner. “Too many people resort to name-calling, seeking their mic-drop moment to shut down and ‘win’ the debate,” he said. “I challenged my students to be open-minded and empathetic—to push themselves to try to understand how the other side feels, and as a result we had a very productive, healthy classroom discussion.”

Clearly, this is an issue that ignites passion both from those people who support the protesters and those people who oppose them. The debate also leaves room for both sides to make well-reasoned points supporting their arguments. The beautiful part of this nation is that the first amendment allows them to disagree and voice their respective opinions. 




Co-Athlete(s) of the Week: Joe Mischler and Tyler Oedekoven

In a game where the Cathedral Prep offense recorded a school record 714 yards, there was much recognition to go around. Senior quarterback, Joe Mischler, set a school and District 10 record with 507 passing yards while senior wideout Tyler Oedekove, also shattered the school record for receiving yards in a single game with 279. Not only is this an incredible feat in and of itself, but it came against the #5 ranked Division II team in the state of Ohio, St. Benedictine. The final score was 62-28, and the Ramblers were firing on all cylinders in their home opener at Dollinger Field last Friday night.

Mischler was extremely efficient, going 21-26, throwing for 5 touchdowns and also rushing for 28 yards. He finished with a 145.0 QBR, only turning the ball over once. Pencil in his performance for the record books as he threw for the 5th most yards in a single game in state history. The Ohio commit humbly spoke on his achievement saying, “Breaking the school record is really a great honor. However, it’s not an individual accomplishment, rather an offensive unit accomplishment,” Joe said. “We have some really great skill players who have big play ability every time they touch the ball. They make my job extremely easy and are really fun to play with. They come in every week and work hard to be able to perform on Friday nights. More importantly, the big fellas up front played great as they always do. They are always in the shadows of all the touchdowns and scoring drives, but without them, we can’t do anything”.

Time after time, Mischler praised his teammates and talked of how vital each element of the offense is and how they come together as one collective unit to form something special.

“This is just a great honor to have [sur]passed the school record, especially after watching Billy Fessler and Damion Terry play as I was growing up,” Joe added. “It is something I will always remember, but I couldn’t have done it without the other 10 guys on the field. That’s what makes football so great; it’s a team game.”

Much is the same with wide receiver, Tyler Oedekoven. Despite only being at Prep for two seasons, Oedekoven has surely made his mark. He was an integral part of Prep’s state championship team last year, lining up wide and consistently beating teams with his speed. He is picking up right where he left off and looked good as ever last week. Similar to Mischler, Oedekoven stressed the importance of his teammates and the role they play in his individual success. “It is a great honor to be able to break those records,” Tyler said. “But it not me breaking those records; it’s the whole team.  I wouldn’t be anywhere without any of my teammates.”

Both teammates have made it very clear that there are many factors that apply in order for the game to go the way they intend it to. Tyler’s big game places him 8th in state history in single game receiving yards and second in D-10. Oedekoven concluded with, “It’s a great honor just to be on the list with some of those great names. I’m just going to keep having fun with my brothers on that field and enjoy every second of my senior year.”




Preview for Week 2 of the NFL

Last night Week 2 of the NFL season began, as the Texans defeated the Bengals 13-9. The next game on Sunday will be the classic rivalry between the Browns and Ravens. While the Browns have had a very poor record for as long as anyone can remember, one can be optimistic by noticing that they have the youngest roster in the NFL. Playing at the same time are the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This game will surely mean a lot to the players and fans of Tampa, seeing as they are rebounding from Hurricane Irma.

Up in Pittsburgh, the Vikings will be taking on the Steelers. This clash between the best offense and one of the best defenses in the league will surely be a highlight of the weekend. In New Orleans, the Patriots will be battling with the Saints. After an embarrassing loss against the Chiefs, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are hoping to assert their wrath on the struggling Saints. Speaking of the Chiefs, their next matchup will be against the promising roster found in the Philadelphia Eagles. As Carson Wentz enters his second year in the NFL, fans can already see that he has the potential to become a phenomenal quarterback in the league.

In Jacksonville, Florida, the Jags will be hosting the Tennessee Titans. With one of the worst offenses in the league after losing their star receiver Allen Robinson, the Jaguars will definitely struggle not only this weekend, but for the whole season. While this is happening, the Arizona Cardinals will be playing against the Colts. Hoping to come back after an unexpected loss at the hands of Matt Stafford and the Lions, Arizona will be jumping out the gate to defeat their opponent. In North Carolina, the Bills will be playing against the Panthers. After a very outlandish, lackluster season last year, Cam Newton hopes to lead his team back to where they were two years ago. All of these games will be played at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Starting at 4:05 p.m. Eastern, the Jets will be playing the Raiders. Somehow taking the Browns’ spot as the worst team in the NFL, the Jets will most likely get carved up by Derek Carr and returning NFL legend Marshawn Lynch. Traveling all the way from Florida to California, the Miami Dolphins will be facing off against the Chargers. Before this game, there has been chatter from Chargers player Melvin Ingram stating that new Miami addition Jay Cutler is “not a problem for us.” Hopefully this fire will continue onto Sunday and provide an intense game between the teams.

Simultaneously, the 49ers will be playing against the Seahawks. Already in talks for MVP, Russell Wilson has the potential to have a star-studded performance against a sub-par team found in California. Another team from California playing on Sunday is the Rams. They will be hosting the Redskins, which will produce a most likely low-scoring game between two defensive minded teams. Also on Sunday, the Cowboys will be going toe-to-toe with the Denver Broncos.

With the Cowboys already being surrounded in controversy with Ezekiel Elliott, this game will definitely be watched by most Americans. To wrap up Sunday, there are exciting matchup between two elite quarterbacks. With Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers already being mentioned for the title of league MVP, the game will be projected to be a high scoring face-off. To finish Week 2 on Monday, the Lions will be playing against their NFC North rival in New York. While the Giants have a very potent offense, the Lions are coming off a surprising season last year and are looking like they will continue this success after their win against the Cardinals.




Prep football rolls past McDowell

The Cathedral Prep Ramblers faced off against the McDowell Trojans on Friday, Sept. 8. Kickoff was at 7 p.m. at Gus Anderson Field. The Ramblers started off strong when they forced a Trojans 3-and-out to start the game. After getting the ball, Prep drove down the field and scored a touchdown on a pass from senior quarterback Joe Mischler to running back Matt Lupo. The Ramblers did not look back after that and dominated the rest of the half.

Prep went on to score two more touchdowns in the first quarter. Joe Mischler threw both of those touchdowns to senior Henry Fessler. The Trojans scored their only touchdown of the game at the beginning of the second quarter. After gaining some momentum the Trojans picked off Mischler on the next drive. Prep’s defense held strong and the Ramblers blew the game open.

The Ramblers came down and scored a touchdown on a 99-yard drive putting them up 28-7. McDowell looked to bounce back after that, but instead Anthony Bolden made it even worse for the Trojans by getting a pick six to put Prep up 35-7. Prep was not finished. Tyler Odekoven scored on a 17-yard reception. Billy Lucas scored the last touchdown of the half for the Ramblers giving them a whopping 49-7 lead at the half.

At this point, the game was virtually over. To make matter worse Prep managed to add two more touchdowns in the second half. The final score was a 63-7 win for the Ramblers. Cathedral Prep hasn’t lost any momentum from their state championship run last season. They are outscoring their opponents this season 141-14 through three games.

Prep outgained the Trojans 521-188. Junior running back Billy Lucas finished the game with 60 yards on 11 carries, senior Joe Campbell had 57 yards on 5 carries, and Mischler finished the game 10-14 for 141 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Ramblers will look to continue their dominant season at home next week against 3-0 Benedictine from Cleveland, Ohio. The Trojans will attempt to bounce back at home next week against Football North from Ontario.




CP football returns many players from 2016 state championship team

As players and fans alike were driving home from the dreaded 2015 PIAA 4A state championship football game, questions began to arise as to whether or not Cathedral Prep was nothing more than a big fish in a small pond, if they could compete with next-level talent, if they were overrated, and ultimately, if they were nothing but a fluke. Less than a year later, starting linebacker/fullback Ian Malesiewski suffered his devastating neck injury that left him paralyzed. No one can truly describe what had happened after that and what it unleashed of the team, but there was no denying the change of intensity, attitude, and results the following year.

The Ramblers returned to Hershey, but this time, it was just different. Saying they had a chip on their shoulder is extremely underwhelming, but something special had changed. Guys were playing for each other, had a tenacious mindset, had a little more hop in their step, got up a little bit quicker after each hit, and asked themselves, “What would Ian do if he had one more play?” It was an emotional, historic 4th quarter comeback victory that no one will soon forget.

Now, the Ramblers enter the 2017 season with something they didn’t have at the beginning of last, reassurance. Reassurance that they can get it done when it counts the most. Reassurance that they can put public criticisms aside and stay together and focused as a unit to accomplish their ultimate goal. Reassurance that Erie can produce big time players and compete with the best of them. Reassurance that the heart, soul, and identify of the team—Ian—will be on the sideline this year.

The Cathedral Prep football team has been the class of District 10 for quite some time now and judging off their impressive blowout victory to open the season against Pittsburgh powerhouse, Central Catholic, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. The Ramblers are loaded with returning talent and are preparing for another special season with the one goal in mind- hoisting the heralded PIAA 4A Championship trophy above their heads at Hershey Park- and believe me, they have every intention of doing so.

OFFENSE

The Ramblers return co-2016 Big School Player of the Year and Ohio commit, quarterback Joe Mischler. He is highly regarded for his intangibles and leadership qualities, along with obvious talent and an unmatched Football IQ. Mischler is the prototypical dual-threat QB, throwing for 2,924 yards and 38 touchdowns while also adding another 341 rushing yards along with 3 additional touchdowns on the ground in 2016. He can make every throw and is extremely mobile and elusive in the pocket.

Experience returns at virtually every position and that is no different at running back. Matt Lupo is back after finding the end zone 17 times as a junior. He offers elite lower body strength and is a hard worker, never backing down from the defense. Lupo has earned high praise and was said to have had an impressive offseason. The second part to the two-headed monster in the backfield will be rising junior Billy Lucas. Having already received an offer from Bowling Green, Lucas possesses the rare blend of speed and power that coaches covet. He offers supreme athleticism and if healthy, should greatly contribute to this high powered offense. Joe Campbell also is a tireless worker, getting the first nod at the fullback position, replacing former Allegheny commit, Kyle Mitchell. Mike Lupo also figures to be in the mix.

At wideout, Tyler Oedekoven is back. He was a sensation lining up on the outside and beating opposing defensive backs with his sub 4.5 speed and quickness at the line of scrimmage. Oedekoven has one standing offer from Albany. He and Mischler hooked up on 51 occasions with 17 of those going for scores last year. Their chemistry and timing should only improve in their second year. Prep also has some complementary pieces that carry major potential in the passing game at receiver (due to their lack of tight end usage) with Henry Fessler and Adam Malesiewski figuring to get consistent playing time as seniors this year. Fessler has had college buzz around him for quite a while and it’s only a matter of time before the offers come pouring in while Malesiewski also has an offer from Edinboro currently. Look for a breakout year for Fessler, as he embodies more of a typical receiver’s skill set while Malesiewski specializes in making plays in open space with the ball in his hands. Anthony Bolden also will be a reliable, possession receiver. Terry Roberts is also assumed to rotate into the mix, but the hope is that the first 3 can hold the position down, leaving Roberts and Bolden to focus on defense.

The largest feat to overcome will be the in the trenches with the losses of University of Pennsylvania-bound Cam Landis, college recruits Dave Nies and Ben Furhman, along with fill-in, Nick Carneval. However, there are still remnants of the dominant line and glimpses of hope that it could become the centerpiece of the team once more. Penn State commit, Juicy Scruggs, returns as the anchor at left tackle and also is ranked inside ESPN’s top 100 for the 2018 recruiting class (#99). Also returning is college prospect, Matt Carr. The young, big bodied Chris Oliver may get his first opportunity to start and has big time physical tools to work with. Junior Jordan Covatto could also find himself a starting spot. His attitude along with his grit-and-grind playing style overcomes his height deficiency. Will Burns, Chris Smith, Kawaun DeBoe, Andrew Samuels, and Adam Olszewski could also contribute.

DEFENSE

The Ramblers take pride in their defense and the havoc they cause for opposing offenses. The defensive line brings plenty of depth with Harvard recruit, Will Burns, along with the productive Chris Smith at defensive end. Burns needs to have a big year, as he has all the looks of becoming a breakout candidate. Juicy Scruggs is likely to man the interior of the defensive line also. This is a steady group that looks to stuff the run and be the first line of this ferocious defense. As a unit, they need to step up, however, having to deal with the graduation of Delaware commit, Dom Covatto.

Matty “Bo” Bauer is the motor that drives this team. The 6’3” 215-pound Notre Dame commit is just a complete monster. At times, it seems he is literally unstoppable. He blitzes routinely and offenses are aware he’s coming, but there’s simply nothing they can do sometimes. He is relentless in his pass rushes and finishes with power but also can get to the quarterback with his unique blend of lateral quickness, speed, and an opportunistic knowledge of the game. Coach Mike Mischler always finds different ways to get Bo involved in different blitz packages, coverage schemes, and even in the running game, making it nearly impossible to gameplay for him. Regardless of where he lines up, he is a player that needs to be accounted for at all times. Look for seniors Ryan Sargent, Joe Campbell, Hunter Orlando, Nick Maloney, and Dyjheir Norman, along with junior Billy Lucas, to get time alongside Bauer at LB this year, as it will take a collective effort to replace Bowling Green commit Jerry Roberts.

The Ramblers also have a star-studded secondary highlighted by Iowa commit Terry Roberts. Lining opposite Roberts will be Navy commit Anthony Bolden. Roberts is more of a speed, lockdown/ball hawk corner while Bolden is a big, physical, quality number 2. Look for senior Amory Coleman-Reeves to make an impact when healthy with his speed in the secondary and for Fessler to get some time covering the slot. Jaelen Carson offers additional depth. At safety, the Ramblers have plenty of options to choose from. Hunter Orlando shined down the stretch last season and looks to be off to a nice start while Matt Lupo is another capable, physical safety. Adam Malesiewski also should get time after starting some games there last year.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Anthony Lupo is still firmly entrenched as the placekicker while the strong-legged Junior, Colin Kelly, took over on kickoffs last year. Kelly will most likely handle punting duties as well. Terry Roberts and Oedekoven are the primary kick returners while Roberts and senior Robert Bannister handle the punt returning duties. Look for Adam Malesiewski to take over as the return specialist sometime this season. Senior John MacKenzie takes care of the long snaps while senior Nick Wisinski is a reliable holder.

Cathedral Prep has all the looks of a championship team. MaxPreps currently has them as a top-16 national squad as well as ranking them #1 in the state. The sky is the limit for this group of kids, and they know that. One thing that is also abundantly clear is the overwhelming support and excitement that surrounds this team, through their school, community, friends, and family.

The Ramblers are 1-0 on the season after defeating Pittsburgh Central Catholic 40-7 in the season opener last Friday night. With the longterm goal of winning back-to-back state championships in mind, the Ramblers focus their attention next on the brand new Erie High School Royals as the teams prepare for their inaugural game tonight at 7 p.m. at Veterans Stadium.




Recent NFL Draft pick James Conner represents Erie well

Fight. That’s all James Conner does is fight. A McDowell High school graduate, Conner has never let anyone tell him he can’t do something. Coming out of high school as a non-recruit, Conner decided his senior year that he would continue his football career at the University of Pittsburgh.

How did this non-recruit end up at the University of Pittsburgh? The summer of his junior year, Conner attended the University of Pittsburgh prospect camp. When he got there, all he did was play his game. His game of blowing past defensemen, sacking the quarterbacks, and recovering any loose ball on the field showcased his hustle, heart, and confidence that day.

That’s only a little bit about the young, talented James Conner. His sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh, James was honored as the 2014 ACC Offensive Player of the Year as well as ACC Player of the Year. Conner’s momentum would only carry into next season, but only one game into the 2015 season, he was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a rare cancer that affects the lymphatic system found in one’s immune system.

Conner was scared, but he was going to fight. And fight he did. Over the course of the year, he would receive chemotherapy in the mornings and then attend practices or workouts in the afternoon. Conner fought and fought with all his heart, and one morning after many chemotherapy treatment sessions, he got a call saying that he was free of Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Conner was relieved, as were his family, friends, teammates, and coaches. He went back to training, but in the spring of 2016, Cathedral Prep student Ian Malesiewski was injured severely during a wrestling match. Ian was taken to the hospital and spent months in the hospital receiving treatment and different medicine to help his body recover. The news about Ian spread and the Erie community, especially the community of Cathedral Prep, came together to pray for Ian.

Getting ready for the 2016 NCAA football season, James Conner had heard the news about Ian. At the time, Ian was staying at the Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital, which isn’t too far from the University of Pittsburgh campus. One day, James appeared in Ian’s hospital room to visit and to see how he was doing. James began to come regularly to visit his friend Ian.

Towards the end of summer into the fall and through the winter, Ian slowly started to heal and is still healing. With the 2016 NCAA football season, James continued to perform for the University of Pittsburgh. James had a big junior season for Pitt, after redshirting in 2015.

On April 28, 2017, James Conner’s dreams were going to become true. In the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected James Conner. James was staying in Pittsburgh, and his friend Ian Malesiewski was there to witness it all. Conner’s family, friends, and the Erie community stood behind James Conner and let him know how proud they were of his success.

A McDowell graduate, a non-recruit, raised in Erie, PA, University of Pittsburgh running-back, Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor, and drafted third round NFL draft pick was now going to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. James Conner is the next big thing in the National Football League. Not only will James be the next big thing in football, but he will continue to make a positive impact on others’ lives around him.




Mike Vick retires from NFL

Mike Vick was the number one overall pick in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech. He brought a unique style to the game with insane speed and pinpoint throwing accuracy. His pro day combine speed in 2001 was 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which is a Madden speed rating of 97, in more understandable terms.

Picking the Falcons in any of the early 2000s Madden games meant an elite scrambling offense driven by the abilities of Vick. He threw for 22,464 yards and rushed for 6,109 yards in his career. He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times. Vick is also the only QB in NFL history to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. Mike Vick made some spectacular plays that will go down in history.

Vick noticed his career coming to end after small talks with the Vikings to play QB fell through last season. At this point he was a 36-year-old 2nd string QB quickly approaching the end. Teddy Bridgewater, the starter, was injured and no call came. Instead the Vikings signed Sam Bradford. Vick saw this as a good point to retire from football after 15 years.

In my mind, Mike Vick revolutionized the mobile QB role in the modern NFL era. Thank you, Mike Vick for entertaining me on TV for many awesome years. You will be missed.