Philadelphia High School Football
A Look at
Bishop McDevitt's Two Consecutive
*Perfect Seasons, 1986-87 (12-0, 11-0)
*-Three wins in 1986 were forfeited due to the use of an ineligible player. A part-time guard, that
player had no effect on the outcomes. The Lancers won those three games by a combined score
This page provides
stories/lists/details for Bishop McDevitt's back-to-back championship
seasons in 1986 and '87. The Catholic League played its first season in 1920 and retained
an all-one-league setup through '98; the "enrollment era" began in '99. (There was no CL
competition in 1929). Through the all-one-league era, 17 teams finished with perfect
overall records. McDevitt was the ONLY team to achieve perfection (on the field) in
Pat Manzi was the coach in both seasons. The assistants: Dave McDowell, Bill Jackson,
Mark Paluszek, Ed McKee, Dan Smith, Gerry Fasano, John Krupsack (all both years),
Dan DiMaria, Paul Smith (both in 1986), Joe Barrett, Ed Harkins, Tom Hartman,
Scott Powell, Craig Peters, Pat White (all in 1987).
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Andrew Brown, top rusher in 1986
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This story was written in 1987 after the Lancers wrapped up their second consecutive perfect-on-the-field season (23-0 total) by beating St. James, 14-0, for the Catholic League championship . . .
By Ted Silary
Now that Bishop
McDevitt has swept to a second consecutive Catholic League football
championship, it is time to ask the big question.
Manzi probably can assume
safely that four senior Lancers - quarterback Dan Taylor, safety Brian Quigg,
linebacker Phil DiMaria, defensive tackle Scott Young - will receive Division I-A or I-AA scholarships. He also feels
that four more upperclassmen - center Eric Householder, wide receiver Kevin Howard, guard Mike Dougherty,
wingback Jake Kolen - could surface next year in I-A or I-AA situations.
Taylor, Kolen, Dougherty, junior tackle Derick Pickett (he's merely 6-5, 230), punter-kicker Brian Evans, Young,
DiMaria (he moved into the lineup late last season, after recovering from an injury) and Quigg were two-year starters.
As strange as it may seem, Manzi feels those eight players, and many others, derived long-range benefits from the
forfeits of '86.
"We were placed in a situation where if we lost one game, we were out of playoff contention, he said. "The kids
learned all about pressure, then they carried what they learned into this season. We had a streak going and we were
the defending champion. Everyone looked at us every game. Pressure became the norm."
So did winning.
McDevitt's seniors completed their careers never having lost a game. They were 8-0 as freshmen, 8-0 on the junior
varsity as sophomores and 23-0 as varsity players.
"Amazing," Manzi said. "Unless you're on the field, it's hard to imagine the intensity these kids play with. They're
like choir boys off the field, but savages on it.
"They needed very little motivation from us as coaches. They brought so much of that with them. When you have
kids who are tough and talented and motivated . . . hey, there's not a whole lot else you need."
TITLE TIDBITS: McDevitt also pitched a shutout in last year's championship game (20-0 over O'Hara). At the
time, O'Hara coach Bob Ewing, whose career dates back to '63, said McDevitt had "the best team one of my teams
has gone against." . . . McDevitt's TDs, both in the second half, came on a 5-yard run by fullback Kevin Blackstock
and a 19-yard pass from Dan Taylor to Kevin Howard. Another Howard TD reception, a 26-yarder, was wiped out
by a highly questionable procedure call . . . St. James's Marcas "Old" Bradley was held to 27 yards on 11 carries.
His final career rushing totals: 682 carries, 3,108 yards, 34 TDs (and 37 TDs overall).
This story was written after the Lancers won the 1986 Catholic League crown . . .
By Ted Silary
Pat Manzi was staring hard at the plaque, symbolic of the Catholic League football championship, won moments
earlier by his Bishop McDevitt team.
Swirling all around the coach were the school's delirious fans, who chose to celebrate Saturday's 20-0 victory
over Cardinal O'Hara by hugging, slapping hands and screaming on seemingly every portion of Villanova Stadium's
Then, starting guard Bill Dougherty approached Manzi and asked, with an equal mixture of reverence and
"Could I see that? I've never seen one of those . . . Not a football one, anyway."
How innocent, and meaningful.
Dougherty has seen almost identical plaques in the school's trophy case, because McDevitt owns seven league track
championships (five outright, two shared) dating back to 1967.
Now, the Lancers possess their first-ever football championship plaque. And in a link to that track heritage, one
of the prominent contributors was Scott Young, a young man whose brother is an old hand when it comes to success
on a track.
If you follow track to even the slightest degree, the name of Carlton Young has to ring a bell. Young, before his
graduation in 1979, attained legendary status during an honor-filled sprint career at Central High. He then succeeded
to virtually the same degree at Villanova.
Carlton Young, a spectator Saturday, remains long and lean. His brother is neither, and the family must have
figured the chances were slim that the body types would match when not-so-little Scott cracked the 50-pound
barrier at age 2.
But Scott Young's beefy yet muscular legs can carry him places, in what must border on record time for a kid
ith 5-10, 240-pound dimensions.
Scott Young, a junior, made seven stops at defensive tackle as McDevitt consistently stymied (and often
punished) an offense that had been averaging 24.4 points.
The ultimate reward was, Dave "Pumpkin" McDowell's defense recorded only the second shutout in the 24-year
history of the championship game, prompting Scott Young to say, "We know our defense is the best in the league.
We're not satisfied unless we put a zero on the board."
The Lancers pitched only four shutouts in 12 games, but they never allowed more than seven points and their
average defensive yield - on the field, not counting adjustments to three final scores after an ineligible player was
discovered - was a microscopic 3.75. That's the stingiest by a league champion since La Salle's 1955 team
allowed an average of 2.0 in 10 games.
Better yet, only one of six touchdowns scored against McDevitt came on the ground.
"We're physical and we're aggressive," Manzi said. "People can't appreciate us from the stands. They have to
Or stand on the sideline and listen. The sound tracks featured on productions by NFL Films have nothing on
McDevitt's pad-popping symphonies.
O'Hara's best chance for a score came late in the third quarter, when Rich Myers ran 29 yards to McDevitt's
26. Young, with help from equally impressive end Pat White, crashed through to drop quarterback Ed
Dougherty for a 6-yard loss. Four plays later, at the 12, Young again overmatched his opponent and knocked
he ball free from Dougherty's hands on what would become a 15-yard loss.
"With Scott Young, you can't say, 'He's quick for a big person,' " Manzi said. "He's quick, period. For anyone.
"Against William Tennent, he looped around his man and made a tackle at the line of scrimmage on the other
side of the field. All season, he has made phenomenal plays. He's averaging three sacks a game. That's a definite."
So was this: that Scott Young did not play football until he entered ninth grade at McDevitt.
"My mother (Gwendolyn) stuck me with the Hunter Soccer Club, where I played for six years," Scott said. "I
used to beat kids up and they'd tell me, 'Why don't you go play football?'
"I have to give a lot of credit to my parents. They'd tell me, 'Be yourself and do what you want to do. Don't
do things because you're trying to follow in Carlton's footsteps or because you're trying to keep up with him.'
They'd say, 'Set, then accomplish, your own set of goals.' "
Offensively, as it turned out, the Lancers required only six plays to score all the points they would need, as
unior Dan Taylor passed 29 yards to tight end Bob Thompson.
However, fullback Mike Thomas would rush for two more scores before the half. The second came with
3:05 left, after O'Hara star Bryan Dempsey showed indecision while trying to field Brian Evans's punt and had
he ball, on a short hop, skip off his fingers. Center Dan McCarthy recovered at the 17.
Twenty-seven frustrating minutes later, O'Hara coach Bob Ewing told reporters, "They're a better team and
they whupped us. I've got no problem with that." In a class move, Ewing then asked Manzi to gather McDevitt's
players and delivered basically the same message to them.
And what message does Manzi have for people who might be doubting that the Lancers would have won all
12 games if the forfeits had not forced them to maintain season-long intensity?
"I don't know how this will sound, but 'yes,' " Manzi said, when asked whether he felt the Lancers could have
gone 12-0 no matter what. "These kids always come to play. If I said we have a game next week in the back
parking lot, these kids would buckle 'em up and play the same way as always.
"They only know one style, to get after it. They're able to zero in on what they have to do while tuning out
TITLE TIDBITS: McDevitt joined the league in 1963, but never had made the playoffs before 1982, Pat
Manzi's first season. The Lancers have returned every year since and Manzi's record is 36-18-2, counting
the forfeits . . . Andrew Brown rushed for 106 yards on 18 carries and finished the season with 1,267 on 235.
Joe Vitelli (1,310 in 1983) holds the school record . . . Defensive back Fran Lorenzo had two interceptions,
raising his season total to six . . . O'Hara, the defending champ, had not been blanked since the first game of
last season. The Lions have been shut out only seven times in 10 seasons.
This story was written after the Lancers earned a spot in the 1986 playoffs . . .
By Ted Silary
A poke in the right eye prevented Andrew Brown from going the distance yesterday, in one sense.
In another sense, Brown did go the distance, on a 58-yard third-quarter touchdown run, enabling himself and
every other person associated with Bishop McDevitt's football program to avoid something much more serious
than a poke in the eye.
Like a kick in the teeth.
To reiterate, the use of an ineligible player caused the Lancers to forfeit Catholic North victories over Bishop
Egan and Father Judge (and another non- leaguer over William Tennent) and placed them in a precarious
position entering yesterday's regular season finale at Archbishop Ryan.
A loss for the Lancers, coupled with Archbishop Wood's 20-6 victory over La Salle, would have signaled a
sudden, sorrowful end to McDevitt's season instead of a trip to the playoffs.
"Win, we're in. Lose, we're done," Brown said. "That's the way we looked at it."
McDevitt won, 14-7, but that outcome wasn't apparent at halftime. Ryan held a 7-0 lead on a play that created
a swirl of controversy, and it looked as if the running backs would have to do in the second half exactly what
hey had done in the first - basically, run in place in the muck and brace for the inevitable gang-tackle.
But as the teams regrouped, so did Mother Nature. The rain stopped, the wind lessened considerably and
- voila - a reasonable facsimile of football again could be played.
So, when McDevitt began its second possession of the third quarter, coach Pat Manzi ordered a right-side
sweep by Brown. There were great blocks made by wingback Jake Kolen - an absolute bone-rattler; a 12 on
a scale of one to 10 - and fullback Mike Thomas, and Brown scooted for the 58-yard touchdown.
When linebacker Christian Kane ended Ryan's subsequent possession by tackling Dom Cerruti for a 4-yard
loss on fourth-and-1 from McDevitt's 41, the momentum snowballed. The decisive eight-play drive was
highlighted by Kolen's 28-yard burst. It ended when Bob Thompson cradled a 16-yard touchdown pass from
junior Dan Taylor, on the play after Brown received his injury and retired for the day. Kolen then followed
with the conversion run, thanks in part to a block by right guard Mike Dougherty.
That completed McDevitt's comeback from a deficit that was created on a strange second-quarter play.
Fran Lorenzo easily snuffed a 31-yard field goal attempt by Ryan's Tim Cunniff, but Ryan's Tom Erwin
somehow gained possession out of a scramble and ran 13 yards for a touchdown as first the Lancers, then the
officials, looked at each other in bewilderment.
Finally, head ref Frank May signaled a touchdown.
"He caught that ball in the air," the Ryan people contended.
"He picked it off the ground, and his knee was touching when he did it," the McDevitt folks countered.
Until the films come back, who knows? All we can say for sure is that Erwin somehow emerged from the
muddy mass of humanity with the football. We can't even be positive that his dash covered 13 yards. If so,
it was illegal, as the offense can advance a blocked field goal only when possession is gained at or behind the
original line of scrimmage. In this case, that was the 14.
Whatever. Because the TD stood, and because the elements still were horrible, the Lancer players entered
the locker room wondering whether an army of black cats had crossed their paths.
The coaches huddled on a ramp under the stands, then trudged inside.
"We were trying to think of something to say to calm them down," Manzi said. He has led the Lancers
to playoff appearances in all of his five seasons as head coach; they never had been there before he came.
"But it was the other way around; they calmed us down. They were saying all the things (to each other) that
I was trying to think of. They beat me to it. Probably said them better than I could have, too.
"There was not an atmosphere of panic or frustration. They were very calm, very reassured."
They also were getting drier. Brown (from No. 1 to 19), Thomas (30 to 11) and Kolen (40 to 41) were
among the Lancers who switched to clean jerseys. Brown, for one, followed by clearing all negative thoughts
out of his mind.
"I still felt I could break one on them," said Brown, who gave way to future star Jason Hannings, a
sophomore, after the eye-poking episode. "I just had to wait, because the field wasn't too great. When it was
raining, I couldn't get a good grip on the ball and it was slippery trying to run. But then it sort of cleared up.
"Ryan only had us 7-0. I knew we could at least put two scores on the board, and that our defense would
McDevitt's opponent in Saturday's playoff opener (7 p.m., Northeast) will be Father Judge. As league
insiders long ago had assessed, the Crusaders were much more adamant than Egan (at least on the record)
that McDevitt should be charged with the forfeits.
Clearly, the atmosphere will be electric for the rematch.
"I give our kids all the credit in the world for hanging tough," said Manzi, whose defense sentenced Ryan
star Al Settembrino to 4 yards on 18 carries. "I hope people dwell on what they've accomplished on the field
(a 9-0 record, if not for the forfeits) for a change, and forget all the other nonsense. All along, our kids did a
better job handling the situation than the adults who were in and around it. They handled it with a lot of class.
I'm very proud of them."
These players were
starters or key subs for McDevitt's 1986 and '87 champions. Please speak up
with adjustments/additions. Thank you. . . firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boxscores . . .
McDEVITT 28, EGAN 7
McDEVITT 28, JUDGE 3
McDEVITT 14, KENRICK 0
McDEVITT 14, NORTH CATHOLIC 7
McDEVITT 27, LA SALLE 0
McDEVITT 7, WOOD 3
McDEVITT 14, DOUGHERTY 6
McDEVITT 14, RYAN 7
1987 Boxscores . . .
McDEVITT 21, NORTH CATHOLIC 0
McDEVITT 28, LA SALLE 7
McDEVITT 44, WOOD 21
McDEVITT 26, RYAN 7
Recaps of the Six Playoff Victories