September 25, 2023
Analysis | Friday Night Drive


2019 season preview: Scouting the CCL/ESCC Red

Marian Catholic


Head Coach: Michael Passarella (1st season)

Last year's record: 0-9

Key returners: Zach Burhans (QB), Willy Lopez (OL/DL), Mike Flynn (WR/DB).

Notable newcomers: Athan Nwalozie (OL/DL), Cole Elliot (OL/DL), Jake Kelly (RB/DB), Michael Battaglini (RB/LB), Dominic Covington (RB/DB).

Outlook: The Rams had a tough season last year, but are hoping that their fresh division and coach will provide a jump start. Senior quarterback Zach Burhans is back, as is senior guard Willy Lopez and senior wide receiver Mike Flynn. Passarella said his squad will be on the younger side and that he's hoping to see the team grow with experience.

Marian Catholic

Head Coach: Erick Middleton (2nd season, 1-8)

Last year's record: 1-8

Key returners: Tajheem Lawson (RB), Joshua Coats (DB), Justin Stallworth (WR/DE).

Outlook: The Spartans will be a very young team this season with only nine seniors on the roster, according to coach Erick Middleton. Marian has three players with Division I interest, junior running back Tajheem Lawson, junior wide receiver/defensive end Justin Stallworth and defensive back Joshua Coats. The CCL/ESCC merger was friendly to Marian. This year's schedule features two playoff teams, Benet and St. Ignatius. Last year featured five including Class 8A semifinalist Marist, 5A champion Joliet Catholic and 7A champion Nazareth. That bodes well for the Spartans, who haven't won more than two games in nine years.

Westchester St. Joseph

Head Coach: Adam Polak (2nd season, 1-8)

Last year's record: 1-8

Key returners: Tray Tims (RB/MLB), Mekhi Eiland (WR/DE), WR/MLB Naqi Shaheed-Owens (WR/MLB), Eduardo Burraga (OL/DL), Tim Shannon (WR/DB), Ja'Vontay Bright (RB/DB).

Notable newcomers: Ezekiel Boose (QB), Angel Cammacho (C), Payton Rozek (OL/DL), Victor Zuno (WR/S).

Outlook: The Chargers bring back three senior two-way players, running back/linebacker Tray Tims, wide receiver/defensive end Mekhi Eiland and wide receiver/linebacker Naqi Shaheed-Owens to help new junior quarterback Ezekiel Boose run the offense. Polak believes his team will be solid up front on the offensive line. The Chargers will be junior-heavy, and Polak hopes keeping them at the lower level last year will help with team chemistry this season.

Editor's note: Leo did not respond to request for information.