“Life is much better as a state champion,” said senior linebacker Jerry Roberts. The Cathedral Prep football team had a very successful football season this year, going undefeated and winning a state title. The Cathedral Prep football team went through a lot between losing the 2015 state championship and winning it in 2016. This didn’t just happen overnight. A lot of hard work and dedication had to go into winning football games.
The Ramblers were defeated in the state championship game by Imhotep Charter in 2015. Not only were they defeated, but a mercy rule was inflicted upon the Ramblers for the first time since Coach Mischler has been at Cathedral Prep. That is not meant as a shot at the 2015 team because that was an amazing season and they should be proud, but coming up one win short made all of the juniors and sophomores “hungry” to come back and win the state championship this year.
That game took place in December of 2015, and that’s when it all started for the 2016 football team. A good majority of the team was in the weight room in January. “When I saw the work ethic, and all of the players in the weight room, I knew we had something going for us,” said Prep junior Nicholas Wisinski.
Not only were the ramblers in the weight room, but some of the wide receivers and the quarterback Joseph Mischler decided to get together and throw some routes. Then the football team had camp. That was when the football team really “clicked” said Joseph Mischler. “The team bonding that happened there along with the long hard days was amazing,” said senior Trey Deitrick.
After a long preseason, and a lot of preparation, the Cathedral Prep Ramblers were ready. In the first game, Prep took on the Strong Vincent Colonels. They started off their season strong with a 77-8 win. They also went on to win there next game against the Central Tech Falcons. Then came the moment people had been waiting for. Cathedral Prep vs. McDowell. With everyone saying that this was “McDowell’s year” and that they were going to beat Prep by 20, the Ramblers were fired up, especially after seeing Ian Malesiewski walk into their locker for the first time that year. Not only did Cathedral Prep win the game that night, but Ian brought a community together that day. That day Prep and McDowell came together as both student sections had a “green out” to honor him and spinal cord injury awareness. It was truly a game for the books and will be remembered forever by many.
Following the win over McDowell, the games flew by for Prep. They had an amazing regular season, which included a nailbiting 28-24 win against Canisius High School. Then came playoffs. But before that the Ramblers had two weeks of no games. The first round of playoffs was Prep’s last game at Veteran’s Stadium. Next, they took on Thomas Jefferson. After being favored to lose, Prep took off with the win. Then came the semifinals against Berks- Catholic. The Ramblers won that game as well in a nailbiting fashion. They were back. Finally, after a whole year they were going back to Hershey for a rematch in the state championship.
This was a whole new level for Prep. They knew that Imhotep team they were playing was good. They knew they couldn’t make mistakes. They knew that their opponents were big and fast, but they also knew they were beatable. They also knew they could defeat them with the proper preparation and the right mindset. The game will go down in the history of Cathedral Prep football as an all-time classic. The game started off, and Prep took a three and out. As minutes went by Imhotep scored and converted a two-point conversion to go up 8-0.
The Ramblers responded with a drive down the field next, and Matt Lupo ran it in to the end zone. The extra point from Anthony Lupo made it 8-7 in favor of Imhotep. Then, all of the sudden a couple minutes later the Ramblers took the lead with a Matt Bauer safety. Suddenly, it was 9-8 Prep. Going into half Prep was down 14-9. Imhotep added to their lead in the third quarter to make it 20-9, a lead they still held with 8 minutes left.
The Ramblers kicked a field goal to make it a one-score game at 20-12. Then, next thing you know, boom, Terry Roberts intercepted an Imhotep pass and returned it to the end zone for a pick-6. Joseph Mischler ran in the 2-point conversion to tie the game 20-20. After a tough stop from the defense, Joe Mischler connected with Tyler Oedekoven for the go-ahead touchdown that would win the game for Prep along with a couple of stops from the defense.
The brothers and bonds formed on and off the field for this football team were awesome. When asked what he thought of the season, Ben Fuhrman said, “This was honestly the most fun I ever had playing on a team.” Many of his teammates would agree. It was a season for the books and another chapter for many. The Prep community will always remember the Rambler football team of 2016. The seniors will miss it, but they went out in the best way possible.