MARPLE — Luke and Cole Sprague have been tossing a football to each other for as long as they can remember.
“It goes way back,” Luke said. “Flag football at Springfield Youth Club.”
They have played sports together pretty much their entire lives. They thrived in CYO at St. Francis in Springfield and eventually became teammates at Cardinal O’Hara.
“It’s been great playing with him in high school,” said Luke, the Lions’ senior quarterback. “Can’t ask for anything better.”
Cole is a junior wide receiver and defensive back. They admit that there isn’t much of a brotherly rivalry. It’s all pretty normal. They enjoy the opportunity they have to play football and baseball at O’Hara.
“It’s been awesome,” Cole said. “The first football I ever caught was from my brother.”
Their time on the gridiron is winding down. O’Hara hosts Archbishop Carroll Saturday in the Catholic League Class 4A final. The winner will play either Imhotep Charter or Bartram for the District 12 championship next week. The loser goes home for the season.
“I want to be playing in high school for as long as I possible can,” said Luke, who has thrown for 791 yards and seven touchdowns. “Our first goal is to win this week and then to win out, to keep going as far as we can.”
Cole has caught eight passes from his brother for 80 yards and a touchdown. He’s done a lot of damage in the defensive secondary as he is among the Delco leaders in interceptions with five. Thanks in part to Cole’s performance, the Lions defense is allowing only 12.5 points per game.
“It’s all because of the coaching,” Cole said. “Just a lot of hard work and great coaching.”
The Sprague boys are the ideal Cardinal O’Hara student-athletes. Coach B.J. Hogan praised them for their talent, dedication and leadership qualities.
“They’re two kids that you want to have in your program,” Hogan said. “The family is awesome, they’re your typical O’Hara family. They’re good athletes, they’re tough kids and they’re program kids.”
Luke became the starting quarterback midway through his junior year and hasn’t looked back.
“He’s a quiet kid, but he’s real sharp,” Hogan said. “He didn’t play his sophomore year, then came back and is really only about 12 games into his football career. I wish he would have played his sophomore year because who knows how good he can be.”
Luke has emerged as the captain of an offense that has been dependent on solid run-blocking. When called upon, though, Luke can make a difference with his arm. He has completed 55.5 percent of his throws.
“He saves us so much on offense,” Hogan said. “We give him a lot of freedom at the line of scrimmage to get us in and out of plays. I haven’t seen too many kids at the high school level who can get you in the right plays.”
With injuries to leading rushers Keed Kpoto and Quasir Cottman, Luke Sprague might have the opportunity to air the ball out against Carroll (5-5). In the teams’ regular season meeting, O’Hara (6-3) earned a 21-7 victory.
Cole Sprague could fill in for his brother under center, if the situation called for it. Before making the transition to wide receiver, Cole was a quarterback his sophomore year.
“He’s a big-bodied kid. Every time I see him I swear he’s getting bigger and bigger,” Hogan said. ”He has made some big catches and defensively he has a bunch of picks. He’s done some really good things. We’ve still got to bring him along, because he hasn’t played a ton of defense in his career … but he does a lot and makes some pretty big plays.”
The Spragues are due for a pass-and-catch connection Saturday night.
“I think there are certain things Luke knows that I can do,” Cole said with a smile. “He knows to look for me, that I’ll be open.”
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