High-SchoolNew-York: Jahmahl Pardner

Aquinas Institute, St. Joe's Collegiate kick off football season

September, 3, 2011
9/03/11
2:12
PM ET
A lot has happened in the last few days, from Boys & Girls firing and hiring a football coach to one of the state's top soccer players leaving for Arizona.

But first, I of course have to touch on today's big matchup between No. 2 Aquinas Institute and No. 8 St. Joe's Collegiate.

Outside of the obvious rankings implications, what makes this matchup intriguing is the struggle that could ensue between St. Joe's offense and Aquinas' defense. The Little Irish feature the state's top-ranked player in defensive lineman Jarron Jones, who committed to Notre Dame earlier this week. His size and ability off the line are a big reason why Aquinas Institute won the Class A title last year and are favorites to do it again.

All day long, though, Jones must keep his eye on St. Joe's QB Chad Kelly, who's coming off a monster summer. The Elite 11 gun-slinger has the arm, athleticism and confidence to give the Little Irish defense fits. Jones, along with LB Marc Pettrone and their defensive comrades, must be on guard for Kelly's every move since he can scramble effectively when he sees an opening.

Because of the star power in this matchup, the difference could be made when the Little Irish have the ball. Aquinas boasts a talented wideout in Jahmahl Pardner, but with 14 returning starters across both sides of the ball for the Marauders, it's safe to say that the game will be a lot a closer than last year's 48-21 victory for the Little Irish.

Check back here on Tuesday for a recap as well as thoughts from Kelly in the first installment of his senior diary.

BOYS & GIRLS FOOTBALL PROMOTES HARDING
On Wednesday, the Kangaroos were without a coach after dismissing Barry O'Connor for reportedly receiving un unsatisfactory rating from administrators, according to this New York Post article. Two days later, Boys & Girls handed assistant coach Clive Harding the keys to its football program.

The in-house move should allow the Kangaroos to maintain some continuity, especially with its season opener against Curtis just a week away on Sept. 10. For more on the story, check out this article by the folks over at ESPN New York.

ALLEN JOINS REAL SALT LAKE YOUTH PROGRAM
Jordan Allen could endure quite the culture shock when he heads from New York to Arizona soon. But the junior has good reason.

After netting 16 goals as a sophomore, the talented midfielder has opted not to play for Aquinas Institute this season and instead enter the Real Salt Lake Youth Development Program. Such a move is nothing new, of course, as talented soccer players across the nation choose similar routes. And Allen certainly fits that category, as he spent time at the IMG Academy this past spring for soccer development.

The move is a unique win-lose for Little Irish coach Howard Allen, who loses his best player but gets to witness his son advance his soccer career, according to this MPNnow article.

Speaking of Allen, stay tuned for October magazine, which features this year's All-State soccer team. And let's just say this: Allen's name can be found in those pages.

Brandon Parker covers New York for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

SPONSORED HEADLINES