Bishop Shanahan enjoying 5-0 start
Already halfway through the scholastic football scene, some things stand out on the Ches-Mont League front.
One is that this edition of Bishop Shanahan is the best football team Shanahan has had since being formed in 2001. Sticking with the Ches-Mont National Division, it appears that two old friends, Downingtown East and Coatesville, are on a collision course for the division title when they meet at Kottmeyer Stadium on October 7.
Bishop Shanahan sits at 5-0, the best start in school history. The Eagles have blown out both George Washington and Pottstown, and have solid wins over Glen Mills, West Chester East and West Chester Henderson. The Eagles have very good skill players on offense with quarterback Nick Skulski leading the way. Skulski is a real leader and is a big threat running or throwing the ball.
Another reason for the hot start is fellow senior Brendan Dearing, who may be the best two-way player in the ChesMont League. He is a receiving as well as rushing threat, and on defense, he is consistently locked up with the opposing team’s best receiver.
John Kozinski is another fine receiver, who, at 6-foot-4,
is a big target for Skulski.
But, the thing about this Shanahan team that separates it from years past is how physical the front lines are for the Eagles. Led by center Jake Colby and a strong bunch of seniors, the Eagles are not getting pushed around anymore. They ran the ball well against West Chester East and a good West Chester Henderson front wall, and have given Skulski plenty of time to throw.
Most of the credit goes to wily head coach Paul Meyers, who does so many different things with his spread offense. Meyers has been with Shanahan since its inception.
In the early years, Meyers and his teams absorbed some bad beatings at the hands of their bigger enrollment Ches-Mont League foes. But Meyers never looked for excuses and never showed any anger, when at times, some teams ran up the score at the expense of his outmanned club.
No, Shanahan and Meyers always did it with class, and when they overpowered an inferior foe, the compassionate head coach agonized over how to keep the score down and not embarrass the kids on the other side of the line. And Meyers did not go with the outcry from some to join the weaker Ches-Mont American Division. He wanted to play the best, and although, at times it was tough to watch, he never looked for excuses or sympathy.
Now, it looks like there’s no more rolling over the Eagles. They desperately want to beat one or more of the big three of the two Downingtowns and Coatesville. To even play on the same level as those programs is a big accomplishment for the smallest 5A school in District 1.
Make no mistake, Shanahan will be a tough out in the District 1 5A playoffs. The school, and their head coach, are what high school football, and striving to be your best no matter the odds, is what it is all about.
*** Coatesville and Downingtown East are both 4-1 and have been tremendous, in albeit different ways.
Coatesville is explosive and dynamic with the playmaking abilities of incredible sophomore Aaron Young and freshman star Ricky Ortega at quarterback. The Red Raiders, who can strike fast and furious, are the most explosive team in the league.
Downingtown East is a powerful muscle team that wants to wear you out with its running game and strong offensive line. The Cougars have the best defense in the league, but they are not explosive. Ethan Harris is a big-time playmaker, but the Cougars’ modus operandi is usually a 12-play drive to the end zone that wears the opposing defense out.
The game, at Kottmeyer Stadium, will feature two great teams, two great head coaches and a lot of kids that will play at the next level. The teams compare themselves to each other for 12 months, and it is not really that friendly a rivalry. The loser on October 7 will want to crawl in a hole for a week, while the victors will rejoice that its hated foe has been vanquished.
So, while five weeks are already in the books, the next five weeks of the regular season promise more thrills, with the Downingtown East vs. Coatesville passion play promising to be a treat to enjoy.
Chesco Super Seven
1. Malvern Prep 2. Downingtown East 3. Coatesville 4. Bishop Shanahan 5. Great Valley 6. West Chester Henderson
7. Downingtown West.
Bishop Shanahan’s Brendan Dearing, right, has been a two-way star who has helped the Eagles get off to a 5-0 start.
Bishop Shanahan football coach Paul Meyers.