Jeff Pharion believes his St. Charles Preparatory School football team had a good season, finishing 6-4 overall, but the fourth-year coach couldn't help but feel the Cardinals could have been better.
The Cardinals finished 0-2 in the CCL-Silver Division, losing to DeSales (28-16 on Sept. 28) and Watterson (21-17 on Oct. 19). Watterson won the league at 2-0 and DeSales went 1-1.
"I thought we were a very resilient team and played hard to the end of every game, but I thought we would have had a better record than we had," Pharion said. "I thought we had a better team than 6-4 and I'm sure (the players) thought that as well."
Senior running back Sean Fitzmartin led the Cardinals in rushing with 1,376 yards and 11 touchdowns on 205 carries. He also had seven receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Jonathan Radney had 738 yards rushing and six scores on 88 carries.
"I'm very happy with the way we played all year, fighting through illness and injuries," Pharion said. "(Senior linebacker) Philip LaFleur broke a hand before the season and played all year with a cast. And Sean Fitzmartin and Jonathan Radney would combine for more than 2,100 yards rushing this year, which is great."
Sophomore NiQuille Bell had 194 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 23 carries and junior quarterback Ryan Bailey added 164 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 38 carries. Bailey also completed 52 of 94 passes for 685 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions.
Senior wide receiver Evan Brown had 12 receptions for 170 yards and senior David Shuster had 11 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Marcus Ward had six catches for 152 yards and junior tight end Sean Hennessey caught five passes for 80 yards and one touchdown.
Senior John Colosimo had a 36.5-yard punting average. He also made 11 of 16 field goals and 27 of 29 extra points.
Senior linebacker Jack France had three interceptions and 45 tackles, and junior defensive back Ben Hale had two interceptions, 66 tackles and 10 pass-breakups.
Junior linebacker John Quinn led the team with 121 tackles, eight for losses. LaFleur had 114 tackles, seven for losses, and two sacks.
Senior linebacker Russell Bateman had 91 tackles, eight for losses, and junior linebacker Andy Deak had 60 tackles with 2.5 sacks. Senior defensive back Joe Flynn had 52 tackles with eight pass-breakups. Junior linebacker Gabe Klingler had 39 sacks and a team-high 3.5 sacks.
"We had great senior leaders in captains Sean Fitzmartin, Philip LaFleur, Joe Flynn and Brandon Burdine," Pharion said. "This has been the hardest-working senior class that we have had in my years here."
But the Cardinals also have a strong group expected to return.
"We have 24 juniors who we expect to be back," Pharion said. "We have David Heil and Nathan Puthoff, who are Division I college prospects on the line, and it never hurts to have a quarterback (Bailey) coming back with 12 varsity starts under his belt. Hopefully, we'll have a great offseason and come back ready to go."
Soccer team wins another CCL title
The soccer team finished 10-6-2 overall, losing to fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman 2-0 on Oct. 24 in a Division I district semifinal. The ninth-seeded Cardinals had a first-round bye before defeating Dublin Jerome 1-0 on penalty kicks in the second round Oct. 20.
St. Charles won its second consecutive CCL championship by finishing 4-0, ahead of DeSales and Watterson (both 2-1-1), Hartley (1-3) and Ready (0-4).
Senior midfielder Vaal Ngalla was second-team all-district and first-team all-league. Other senior first-team all-league performers were goalkeeper John Colosimo, defender Will Evans and forward Alex Polko, who led the team with nine goals. Senior defender Daniel Huss was second-team all-league.
"This senior class has been tremendous," said coach Rick Ey, who completed his sixth season. "Alex Polko and Daniel Huss have been four-year starters for us and have been an important part of the program, as have been Vaal Ngalla, keeper John Colosimo and Will Evans. The seniors were great leaders for our team."
Junior midfielder Drew Hicks was first-team all-district and all-league, and junior defender Niklas Weislogel was first-team all-league. Sophomore midfielder Niko Strickler was second-team all-league.
"We have a good junior class and the sophomores are really developing into good varsity players," Ey said. "Plus, we should be able to get more players out after winning a couple of league titles in a row and keep St. Charles soccer at a high level."
Water polo team falls short of state
The water polo team finished 22-13 overall when it lost to Thomas Worthington 16-10 on Oct. 20 in a state-qualifying match in the home North Region tournament.
The Cardinals had won the previous two state championships.
"We had some good wins and tough losses, but it was what we expected with a young team," said coach Geoff Gear, who completed his sixth season. "We thought it might be an up-and-down year with all of the new faces we had. Consistency was a problem at times, so we'll need a lot of guys to take the next step in the offseason."
Junior driver Sam Aslaner led the team in scoring with 107 goals, 71 assists and 75 steals to earn all-region honors.
Seniors included goalie Carl Calcara (257 blocks, 68 steals), center Asher Friend (10 goals, 3 assists, 10 steals), driver Tyler George (73 goals, 20 assists, 44 steals) and driver Alex Kendall (9 goals, 10 assists, 33 steals).
"Our senior class did a great job of trying to get us to new heights," Gear said. "We had a pretty successful year, even though we didn't play in the final week (at state)."
Other top scorers included juniors Dylan Hammon (driver; 34 goals, 20 assists, 62 steals), Andrew Hoffman (center-defender; 67 goals, 53 assists, 87 steals), Casey Horan (center; 27 goals, 17 assists, 18 steals) and Franz Kabelka (center-guard; 28 assists, 38 assists, 71 steals), sophomore David Aslaner (center-defender; 8 goals, 14 assists, 19 steals) and freshman Tyler Welty (center-defender; 4 goals, 10 assists, 13 steals).
"We have to get bigger, faster and stronger," Gear said. "The work is done in the eight or nine months between now and next season. We need to get to the weight room and make sure we get bigger and come back in better physical shape."