Numbers, optimism up for Archbishop Carroll

RADNOR — Things are looking up for the Archbishop Carroll football team despite the fact that it is coming off a 2-8 season in which it went 0-4 against Philadelphia Catholic League AAA teams last year.

Four years ago the Patriots had 28 players on the team. Now they’ve got 58, although it is a young squad with only 10 seniors.

“There is competition within the roster,” head coach Joe Powel said, “which hopefully will make us a better football team because we have some depth now and we can eliminate some two-way playing and stuff like that, but we have some growing to do. We are still a young football team … I like our group – they expect to win. They are working hard and I think some good things are going to happen.”

This is going to be a much different looking offense for Carroll than it has in previous years under Powel. The Patriots are moving from a spread offense into a more pro-style one.

“We’ve been running spread since I have been here,” Powel said. “I think our talent and our size is more suited to running the pro-style offense.

“I think (the team) enjoys it. There are a lot less moving parts. It is easier to pick up and learn and it is just a matter of execution and obviously being physical.”

Physicality should not be a problem for the Patriots this year. That is where Powel thinks the team improved the most in the offseason.

“We really dedicated ourselves from early December until the first week of August where our kids bought into our weight program, were there on a consistent basis,” he said. “So we are a stronger team and we’re a bigger team. We may be a tad slower, but that’s what camp is for – to get people in shape and hopefully get some rust off and get a little faster.”

Carroll is not yet set on its offensive skill position players heading into the 2015 season. Powel knows Rich Melito will be the full back, but the running back job is still up for grabs.

“(Melito) is our middle linebacker and full back,” Powel said. “He is every bit of 215 pounds and can run a lot. He is just a good, nasty football player.”

Quarterback has turned into a battle between two juniors – Kevin Downs and Steve Honick.

On the defensive side, Powel sees the back-seven being the key to its success. He mentioned Melito and Harry Rohlfing as impact players at linebacker and Khadir Roberts and Downs in the secondary.

That’s not to say that the front four don’t bring something to the table as well. Powel pointed to Ethan Ritchie, who was second-team All-Catholic League last year, and Brian Steinmetz as guys who can make an impact in the trenches.

Carroll opens its season on Sept. 4 against Conwell-Egan.

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