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Lions Sports

O'Hara puts up very good front

OHara Varsity - 1997 Season
Posted Thursday, September 02, 2010 by Terry Toohey


Delaware County Daily Times (Primos - Upper Darby, PA) - Friday, November 14, 1997
Author: TERRY TOOHEY ; Of the Times staff
MARPLE -- It returned quarterback Tom Smith, running back Josh Barr and receiver Mike Cassidy, but Sean Curtin and Tom Worrilow knew it would take time for Cardinal O'Hara to get its offense in gear.

The key was up front, where Curtin and Worrilow were the only returning veterans. Gone were All-Delco tackle Brian Wilson, Gregg Wood, Jason Cannon and John McMonagle, and Curtin and Worrilow knew it would take time for the rebuilt offensive line to mesh as a unit.

""You have to be on the same page,'' Curtin said as the Lions (5-4) went through their final workout for tonight's Catholic League playoff opener with seventh-ranked Archbishop Carroll (8-2) at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School (7 o'clock). ""It doesn't happen overnight. You have to learn each other's strength and weaknesses, and that takes time.''

In O'Hara's case it took roughly eight weeks -- three weeks of training camp plus five weeks of game action -- for the line come together. The Lions showed signs of their offensive capability in a 51-0 romp over Monsignor Bonner. O'Hara piled up 321 total yards that day behind the blocking of Curtin, Worrilow and juniors Shamus Craigg (center), Joe Sweeney (guard), Andy Zulli (guard), Jon Ross (tackle) and Joe McGinn (tight end).

""The Bonner game was a big game for us,'' said Worrilow , who starts at tackle next to Curtin. ""We really came together that day, but then we lost it against the Prep. We had a down week and it took us another game or two to get back on the same page.''

It all came together three weeks later when the Lions piled up a school-record 591 total yards, 526 on the ground, in a 54-34 triumph over St. John Neumann.

""It's tough for a junior to come in and play well right away,'' Worrilow said. ""It's all a matter of confidence. You don't get the reps on the JV level that you get on the varsity level. Sean and I understood that because we had been through it. The younger guys had to learn the same way we did.''

Craigg, Sweeney, Zulli, Ross and McGinn willingly paid the price.

""It takes a lot of hard work and they were willing to put in the time,'' line coach Tim D'Allesandro said. ""They were given a challenge and they responded to that challenge.''

However, the situation was different for Curtin and Worrilow . As the only seniors, it was their job to provide leadership and guidance. It was a role for which they were not accustomed when camp opened.

""There was an adjustment on our part,'' Curtin said. ""We were the seniors. We were the ones the younger guys looked to. Last year we had Brian Wilson and Woodsy, C.J. Quirk and those guys. They were the seniors, the leaders and now that was our job. It took us a little while to get used to that role.''

Curtin and Worrilow survived and shined, leading the Lions to the PCL playoffs for the fourth year in a row under head coach George Stratts.

Nine games into the season the Lions boast one of the more potent running games in the league, averaging 187.1 yards-per-game, behind the halfback tandem of Barr and freshman sensation Kevin Jones. Barr leads the team in rushing (863 yards) and scoring (12 touchdowns). Jones is second in both categories with 507 yards and nine TDs. That's 1,370 yards and 21 touchdowns out of the halfback position.

""Barr and Jones both have the speed to go the distance,'' O'Hara coach George Stratts said. ""Combine that with the blocking of (fullback) Mike Mariani and the play of the offensive line and good things happen.''

It all started up front.

""We came together pretty quick,'' Curtin said. ""It just took us a few weeks to smooth out the rough spots once the season started, but we're on the same page now.''

And the Lions are looking to add a few more chapters to an already successful season.

""We have to play our game,'' Curtin said.

""Yeah,'' Worrilow added, ""we have to get down and dirty in the trenches.''n

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