Coaching college football will provide a new challenge with exciting opportunities for Kyle Adkins.
But he knows he’ll have to go some to top his second and final season as head coach at his alma mater, Archbishop Wood.
Especially the ending.
Adkins’ last game in charge of the program was an instant classic, as Archbishop Wood used a 3-yard touchdown pass with :04 on the clock to beat Cheltenham, 19-15, in the PIAA Class 5A state final Dec. 6 in Hershey.
“Special, special season,” Adkins said.
Adkins has resigned as Wood’s coach to become linebackers coach at Division III Ursinus College, where he played defensive back.
“Kyle did a phenomenal job,” Wood athletic director Brian Haas said.
Haas said the school has begun the search for a new coach, although the process has been slowed by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“Hardest decision I’ve had to make.”
The move reunites Adkins with Ursinus defensive coordinator Steve Devlin, who was Adkins’ coach at Wood. Adkins served as Devlin’s defensive coordinator at Archbishop Wood during the 2016 and 2017 seasons before replacing Devlin as head coach before the 2018 season.
“Hardest decision I’ve had to make,” Adkins said of leaving Wood. “It’s never a good time to leave.”
Under the PIAA’s “success formula,” Wood will move up next season to Class 6A, the same group as Philadelphia Catholic League rival St. Joseph’s Prep.
The Vikings are projected to return several starters on both sides of the football, including current juniors such as quarterback Max Keller and all-purpose standout Cardel Pigford, who combined for the winning score in the state final, and running back Kaelin Costello, who rushed for 280 yards that cold and windy night in Hershey.
“The program is in a really good place,” Adkins said.
St. Joseph’s Prep juniors Malik Cooper, Marvin Harrison Jr., Julian Talley, and Sahmir Hagans were key members of the Hawks’ PIAA Class 6A state-championship football team.
Now the four have contributed to another state-championship team, as they were members of the 4x200 relay team that took fourth as the Hawks captured the state crown at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association indoor championships earlier this month at Penn State.
Cooper, a Temple recruit for football as a wide receiver, also ran a leg on the 4x400 relay team that took first, securing the team title in the meet’s last event.
Northeast will open the season Aug. 29 at home vs. Gonzaga College High School of Washington, an East Coast power led by the consensus No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2021, Caleb Williams.
A five-star recruit according to 247sports.com, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Williams has offers from Oklahoma, LSU, Penn State, Alabama, and Georgia, among other Power 5 programs.
Northeast’s defense will be led by Class of 2021 defensive end Elijah Jeudy, who recently picked up his 38th offer, this one from Georgia.
St. Augustine Prep will open its season Sept. 4 vs. Christ the King (N.Y.), which also features a national-caliber quarterback recruit in Class of 2021 standout Noah Bodden, who has offers from Arizona State and Baylor, among other programs.
Timber Creek (Erial, N.J.) coach Rob Hinson has resigned from his post as the Chargers’ boss to become a player personnel assistant under Greg Schiano at Rutgers.
Schiano called Hinson “a tremendous leader of young men” in a statement announcing the news.
Hinson, a Camden High graduate, led Timber Creek to 114 victories in his 14 seasons. His teams won seven conference titles, made seven appearances in sectional finals, and won four South Jersey titles.
Plymouth Whitemarsh senior twins Christian and Christopher Pierce have signed with Delaware.
The brothers led Plymouth Whitemarsh to a 9-2 record last season and the program’s first state-tournament football victory in more than 20 years.
Christian Pierce, a wide receiver and defensive back, caught five touchdown passes and lifted four interceptions, returning two for scores. He also returned two punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns.
Christopher Pierce was limited to seven games by injuries. He scored six touchdowns as a running back and also was a top safety on defense.
On the move
Former Northeast High standout running back and defensive back Shayub “Shoes” Brinkley has enrolled at national power Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif., and will play his final season for the Monarchs.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to play for one of the best programs in the country,” Brinkley said by phone from the L.A. area, where he has relocated with his father.
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Brinkley has 12 scholarship offers from programs such as Central Michigan and Bowling Green.
Haverford School quarterback Dante Perri has signed with Lehigh. He joins five other Fords football players who made their choices during the early-signing period in December: Mike Barr (Lafayette), Kwaku Adubofour (Harvard), Ben Murphy (Lehigh), Jake Spencer (Colgate), and Daiyaan Hawkins (Temple). ... St. Augustine offensive lineman Jake Ketschek has committed to Vanderbilt. ... Downingtown East quarterback Drew Person plans to attend Palmetto Prep Academy, a postgraduate football program in Columbia, S.C. ... Camden defensive back Alijah Clark has committed to Rutgers.