Minor-Shaw, Patriots fueled by last season’s empty ending
Radnor >> On an August Tuesday morning, Kyle Detweiler talked Archbishop Carroll through a form-tackling drill. Each command of “hit” was answered with a thud, before the defensive players twisted their teammates to the ground. At one point, Detweiler stopped action to correct a Patriot who was leading with the wrong shoulder. The player corrected the mistake, and in unison, the tackling went on.
Such attention to detail is crucial for a program still building toward success. The Patriots’ margin for error is slim. Detweiler, in his second season as the head coach at Carroll, knows it. So, too, do his players.
In the 2018 Philadelphia Catholic League Class 4A final, the Patriots held Cardinal O’Hara to just nine points — and they scored none. An opportunity to win a title, not to mention a chance to finish with at least six wins (the Patriots went 5-6 and haven’t had a winning season since 2007), was gone.
“A lot of them played in that game,” Detweiler said. “They remember what it felt like, and they don’t want to feel like that again.”
The experience was invaluable for the players who took part, but Carroll’s 2019 hopes rely on someone who was a spectator.
Quarterback Russel Minor-Shaw threw for a school record 1,047 yards and 18 touchdowns. But his season was cut short by a broken arm, and he was forced to watch the offense struggle without him.
“The way that last season ended with Russ not being able to play,” Detweiler said, “that’s added extra motivation.”
Minor-Shaw in particular entered camp with purpose. He had never played quarterback prior to 2018 and used the offseason to fine-tune his skills at the position. A self-described scrambler, Minor-Shaw is now more muscular and well-rounded.
“My footwork,” he said of what part of his game has improved the most. “Just like, staying in the pocket and being a pocket quarterback, instead of running around.”
That’s a good place to start for an offense that returns eight contributors, including three on the offensive line: CJ Herrick, Gavin McKenna, and Jacob Santoro. The defense has experience, too, with five returners.
First Team All-Catholic Blue Division linebacker Richie Kimmel is the best of that bunch. He’s the quarterback of the defense, a leader who makes plays at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield.
“There’s work in progress, because we have two new linebackers,” Kimmel said. “But since camp started, we’ve been working hard as a defense to get better and achieve more. We’re looking to be the best defense in the PCL.”
Minor-Shaw, Kimmel and the Patriots will have a good idea of where they stand after a tough opening slate. They play Haverford High, Seton Hall Prep (NJ) and Haverford School to start the season.
“I think they’re great opponents,” Minor-Shaw said. “And if we’re able to beat them, the Catholic League should be scared.”
Archbishop Carroll 2019 Schedule
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH
Russel Minor-Shaw, Quarterback >> After a record-setting first season under center as a junior, Minor-Shaw’s campaign came to a disappointing end with a broken arm. That made watching a 9-0 playoff loss to Cardinal O’Hara all the more difficult.
Now motivated all the more, the 6-2, 240-pounds Minor-Shaw added muscle and technique without sacrificing his natural athleticism, which makes him a threat to run every time he snaps the ball.
“I feel a lot better coming into this season,” Minor-Shaw said. “A lot better.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH
Richie Kimmel, Linebacker >> Of the Patriots’ five returning players on defense, none is more important or impactful than Kimmel. The All-Catholic League Blue Division linebacker brings leadership to a unit that should lead Carroll in the early part of its season. Playing behind three defensive linemen who started in 2018, Kimmel will have more freedom to make plays in 2019, an opportunity he relishes.
“I’m aggressive,” he said. “I run sideline to sideline and try to make every play. When I tackle people, I make sure it counts.”
By Dillon Friday; For Pa Prep Live