HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – Sharon alum John Reay takes over the Kennedy Catholic football program this year. He spent the last couple of years serving as an assistant at Valley and Burrell high schools in the WPIAL.
“My expectations are always high,” Reay said. “I keep hearing they went 0-7 last year and haven’t won a game since 2012. We don’t think that way. We’re preparing to win a championship. We’re trying to win each week. I’ve been coaching in the WPIAL 3A in Pittsburgh the last five years as an assistant coach and can honestly say this team we have here at Kennedy Catholic can compete with the best. They just need some guidance and they need coached up.”
Coach Reay expects to have around 30 to 35 varsity players this year with the amount of interest that’s been shown early on.
Everyone will compete for the jobs this summer.
“Healthy competition makes each player work harder and want to be here every day,” Reay said. “They ‘ll be working on their craft and trying to be the best at their position they can be. Once we get through some seven-on-sevens and team camps, then we‘ll start deciding on starters. Last season, they ended with around 13 players. Since February, we’ve been averaging eight to ten guys at these nonmandatory workouts.”
The Golden Eagles are looking to snap a 24-game losing streak. Kennedy begins play at home Saturday, August 28 versus Mercer.
2020 Record: 0-7 (0-6), 4th place in Region 1 (Class A)
Coach: John Reay, 1st season
Previewing Kennedy Catholic’s Offense
Scoring Offense: 6.6 (61st in area)
A year ago, Kennedy’s offense posted double-digit outings just twice in seven games.
“Most of our players were 9th and 10th graders a year ago,” Reay said. “So they received quality varsity time every game. As of now, we have one returning senior, Kole Tarary, who we expect to play a key role along the offensive line. Having Kole has helped tremendously because he’s a leader and a captain. When he speaks, works out in the weight room or on individual drills, his fellow teammates listen and follow. Kole has been on board with the new coaches and our team mission from the very start. He’s very excited to have us and I wish we had him for a few more years.”
Also returning are skill players DeJuan Young and Blaze Campbell.
Young finished second on the team in receiving a year ago by catching 8 passes for 56 yards.
“DeJuan has been doing a lot of extra work with the offense, learning the new schemes,” Reay said.
Campbell is a 4.0 student and a returning starter from last season.
“Our offensive scheme will be different weekly, all depending on our opponent and whatever fits our skill level. Paul Jones, Jr. and I will be running the offense. We’re not going to be one-dimensional,” Reay said.
Previewing Kennedy Catholic’s Defense
Scoring Defense: 37.4 (58th in area)
In 2020, four teams scored over 34 points against Kennedy Catholic.
“This year’s defense will be run by defensive coordinator Chuck Arn and Steve Byerly,” Reay said.
“Their scheme will be able to fit the type of young men we have playing each position.”
Senior Kole Tarary led the unit a year ago with 38 tackles.
“He’s an outstanding defensive player at [defensive] end and at linebacker. Elijah Smith is another guy who has been here since February, working hard during spring workouts. He’s been leading by example, helping others to follow.”
Smith tallied 27 defensive stops a year ago.
Defensive back Blaze Campbell closed out his sophomore year with 23 tackles.
2020 Class A Region 1 Standings
Reynolds – 6-0 (9-1)
West Middlesex – 4-2 (4-3)
Mercer – 2-4 (3-5)
Kennedy Catholic – 0-6 (0-7)