Perfection is typically something unattainable for which to strive, but the Archbishop Curley football team recorded an achievement for the ages on Nov. 8, capping an undefeated, 10-0 season by winning the MIAA B Championship against Archbishop Spalding.
Head Coach Sean Murphy, also Curley’s assistant athletic director, said that his team last won the championship in 2004.
“It’s been quite some time,” he said, “10 years.” As for the undefeated season, that is a feat that has never been accomplished at Archbishop Curley, an all-boys Catholic high school attended by many Canton residents.
“I think it was just a combination of very good talent, and I think our coaching staff did a great job of bringing that talent out,” commented Murphy.
“The kids gained in confidence each week, and their play improved each week along with that,” he added. “We had a very good defense as well.”
On offense, the Friars averaged 33 points per game while giving up only seven per game on defense. They traveled far for some of their wins, defeating Kiski Prep in Pittsburgh and Caravel Academy in Delaware.
Curley freshman Daniel O’Keefe-Allen sums up the championship game nicely in an article on the school’s website, ArchbishopCurley.org. The Curley Friars led the Archbishop Spalding Crusaders 26-14 going into the second half, and from there turned the game into a rout, O’Keefe-Allen wrote:
“Deonte Harris had three touchdowns in the second half to bring his total to five and a total 221 rushing yards. Junior Rod Petit scored on a 20 yard run and Boardman scored on a quarterback sneak. Senior kicker Bradley Hunter made all 8 extra point kicks. At the end, it was a 56-14 rout of St.Paul’s.”
Murphy noted that the Friars had also made the championship last year, but lost in the final 30 seconds.
Murphy said that, at the outset of this season, he knew he had some talent but wasn’t entirely sure how everything would fall into place.
“We had graduated about half our team, losing some weight in the game and having some new seniors come up,” he said.
There were several stand-out players this year, such as senior running back Deonte Harris, who, throughout the season, gained 1,512 yards and made 20 touchdowns. Running back Shawn Fenner, also a senior, also put in a solid season, with 915 yards and eight touchdowns.
On defense, Derrick Lifsey, David Wilson and Elijah Glover made 67, 61 and 57 tackles, respectively. Glover also recorded nine sacks, while his teammates Kiyon Brandford and Kai Lee made eight each. Tyshawn Williams caught four interceptions.
It’s important to note that Curley’s JV squad also captured the championship, defeating St. Mary’s 22-7 after coming back from a 7-point deficit going into the third quarter, according to O’Keefe-Allen’s article.
Murphy, who has been a teacher at the school for 19 years and football coach for nearly that long, said that the students at Curley have a certain attitude that is helpful in both football and academics.
“We have a lot of blue-collar, working families–great people,” he said. “The kids are very appreciative of what they have here.”
by Erik Zygmont