Catholic League preview

With just one loss in league play over the last three seasons, La Salle has firmly entrenched itself as the class of the Catholic League.

The Explorers (12-2 overall, 4-0 league) return standout wide receiver Sean Coleman and senior defensive back Dad Poquie. Their offensive line is anchored by 6-foot-2, 280- pound Tom Spiteri, and Pittsburgh-bound punter Ryan Winslow is the best in the area.

Head coach Drew Gordon will get a good chance to see how his team matches up as it opens the season with a nonleague game at North Penn for a third straight season. The Knights knocked off La Salle in the semifinals of the Class AAAA state playoffs.

Challenging La Salle in AAAA will be Roman Catholic (8-4, 2-2) and St. Joseph's Prep (7-4, 2-2). The Cahillites will beat teams through the air as they rely on quarterback Mike Kier and wideout Will Fuller. Originally headed to Penn State, Fuller decommitted this summer and orally committed to Notre Dame. He's the area's top wideout recruit as he hauled in 45 passes for 736 yards last season.

In Class AAA, Archbishop Wood (14-1, 3-0) is all but a lock to win its fifth straight league title. The Vikings were dominant last season as they won 14 straight games en route to a state title.

They lost running back Desmon Peoples and wideout Troy Smith, but Wood still retains 6-4, 235-pound tight end Nick Arcidiacono.

Sophomore running back Jarrett McClenton will be dangerous if he is able to utilize the speed he showed in last spring's outdoor track season. As a freshman he finished in the top 20 of the 200 meters at the league finals and finished as the top freshman in the long jump.

If the Vikings falter it will be because of the lack of a senior quarterback.

Monsignor Bonner (6-5, 2-1) returns 6-3 senior Jim Haley, who threw for 1,312 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He is also the ace of the baseball team and is being recruited for both sports.

In Class AA, West Catholic (10-4, 4-0) stumbled out of the gate last season in nonleague play before cruising to its sixth straight league title.

The Burrs lost running back David Williams as he transferred to Imhotep. He rushed for 1,936 yards, which is among the top of the area's returning players.

Head coach Brian Fluck shouldn't have much trouble finding a runner to rush behind powerful two-way lineman Jarryd Jones-Smith. The 6-7, 320-pound senior has racked up 14 division 1 scholarships, including Virginia and North Carolina State.

West will welcome back tight end and linebacker Dominic Toney, who transferred back from Bonner. Also, Brandon Slade joins the team after spending last season at Delsea.

Rounding out Class AA is newcomer Archbishop Carroll (1-9, 0-3), which reclassified from Class AAA, and Bishop McDevitt (5-5, 2-2). The Lancers are led by quarterback Christian Connor and running back Gerald Fuller. They have dropped three straight title games to West.