Bishop Shana­han en­joy­ing 5-0 start

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - Peter Di­Gio­vanni Colum­nist

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.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Bishop Shana­han’s Bren­dan Dear­ing, right, has been a two-way star who has helped the Ea­gles get off to a 5-0 start.

PETE BANNAN-DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Bishop Shana­han foot­ball coach Paul Mey­ers.

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