(Statistical Information Courtesy of NWPASports.com archives)


Head Coach: John Reay, 2nd year (1-8)
Last Year: 1-8


The roster size may be low but spirits are high for the Kennedy Catholic football team as the 2022 season approaches. Second-year head coach John Reay and his staff welcome back several letterwinners from last year, a 2021 campaign that featured a come-from-behind win at Lakeview and near misses at Iroquois and against Titusville.

"It's actually going pretty well. I know that we're short on numbers but all 15 players are dedicated. There's no doubting," Reay said. "They're all a little older too. You can feel the growth from last year. The energy -- we're feeling good.

"We haven't played any games yet but I like the way that we're going right now."

Kennedy features a trio of returning starters on the offensive line in junior center Eric Pagan, junior guard Blaiden Parcetich and junior tackle Elias Lawson.

"The offensive line is one of our strong suits," Reay said. "Those 11th-graders are all returning starters and I'd say our line is probably our strength."

Junior Dominic Haben is penciled in at the other tackle spot with sophomore Rayshawn Wilkerson looking to hold down the other guard spot.

Junior Simeir Wade takes over as the starting quarterback after playing wide receiver in 2021. He made one start at quarterback last year, piloting the team to an 18-15 win at Lakeview. Wade completed 11 of 23 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore. Wade also led Kennedy with 261 rushing yards while averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

"He's actually 1-0 as a quarterback for us," Reay said with a laugh. "He has the most experience there. I have time now to work with him. Last year, it was Thursday night (before the game) that we found out that he would be starting.

"He has the whole playbook down. He's a pretty good thrower. He's an athlete and a leader. There's no negativity about him. That's what I love about him."

Senior running back Sean Yeager led Kennedy with a 6.6 yards per carry average last season. He will be the feature back in Kennedy's one-back spread offense.

Wade led Kennedy with 32 catches for 566 yards last year, earning All-Region laurels. With his switch to quarterback, Reay is counting on seniors Jermaine Dunlap, Nick Ondo and Elijah Smith at wide receiver. The 6-foot-3 Dunlap had 12 catches last year and Smith had nine receptions. The 6-4 Ondo started at quarterback in 2020 and returns to the field after sitting out 2021.

Lawson and Smith are projected to start at defensive end while Pagan, Wilkerson and freshman Taijeire Chambers will rotate at defensive tackle.

Parcetich returns as a starting inside linebacker and freshman Brock Ondo will start at the other linebacker post. "You'd think he was a senior with how he plays," Reay said of the younger Ondo.

Wade and Yeager will be hybrid linebackers/safeties in Kennedy's 4-2-5 alignment. Wade started at cornerback last year and led the Golden Eagles with three interceptions. According to Reay, having him closer to the line of scrimmage will allow Wade to be a greater force defensively. "He's one of our best tacklers in the box. He can move around everywhere, he can come off the edge and he can cover. He has a knack for the ball."

The sizable duo of Dunlap and Nick Ondo will lead the secondary at cornerback.

Senior Aiden Churlik returns to handle the kicking and punting.

Reay feels that team unity will be a big factor in the Golden Eagles' success this fall. "We have to stick together. Last year, we stuck together pretty well. A lot of guys were new. This year, the guys that stuck around know that they all trust each other. Our practices are the best we've had in two years. It is night and day from last year.

"We actually are a family," Reay continued. "There's only 15 of us. We know everybody. If you have a helmet on, your hand's in the pile."

Kennedy will compete in the all-Class 1A Region 1 this season. Reay feels confident that his team can be a factor in the league, provided that the team stays healthy.

"Our starting 11 is pretty strong," Reay said. "It's just the numbers behind it that could come into play. I'm excited to see what we can do. I know we're going to compete. I'm excited to see what the teams up north have. It should be interesting to see where we stand."