Football: West Catholic's opener is cancelled

West Catholic's scheduled football opener against Eastern Christian Academy, of Elkton, Md., has been cancelled. It had been set for Saturday night (7 p.m.) at Widener University.

West Catholic administrators had worries about ECA being sanctioned and accredited by the state of Maryland. The legitimacy of the game, as a result, could have been called into question by the PIAA.

"Too much was going on there," West Catholic head coach and athletic director Brian Fluck said. "We have more to lose than they do."

Eastern Christian has at least seven Division I-A senior recruits. Sophomore quarterback David Sills committed to USC as a seventh-grader.

Eastern Christian was profiled in the most recent issue of Sports Illustrated. SI's Lee Jenkins wrote, "Strictly speaking, Eastern Christian is not even a school but rather a club, with members who attend an online private school called National Connections Academy."

"If we play a team that is not sanctioned, I don't know what could happen," Fluck said. "Possibly the PIAA could say you're ineligible to play in the playoffs this season. I won't jeopardize my season on one game."

Last Saturday, Eastern Christian omped past Niagara Academy (Canada), 62-3. On Aug. 17, in their opener, they outlasted Strom Thurmond (S.C.), 39-35.

Against Strom Thurmond, Sills threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns.

West Catholic, which went 10-4 last season and advanced to the PIAA Class AA state semifinals, previously opened against Roman Catholic in Wildwood, N.J.

Roman Catholic sought another opponent (Malvern Prep, Saturday at noon) when it was announced in early January that West Catholic - and three other Catholic high schools - would be closed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In February, word came that West Catholic, Conwell-Egan, St. Hubert, and Bonner-Prendergast had been saved, thanks to private endowments.

As it stands now, the Burrs will begin the 2012 campaign on Sept. 8 versus George Washington (6 p.m. at Northeast High). Fluck said he has had no luck in "reaching out to other schools" for a Week 1 contest.

-Rick O'Brien

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