High-SchoolNew-York: Notre Dame

The Top 10 Stories of the Year in New York

December, 29, 2011
10. Surprise, Surprise
After losing their star player in Ishaq Williams and falling just short of the PSAL title, most figured Lincoln would spend this season rebuilding. Instead, the Railsplitters built a championship season by going 13-0 en route to the championship behind talented rusher Kareem Folkes.

9. In the Nick of Time
For the past decade, Fayetteville-Manlius' girls cross country program has garnered all of the attention, but this year, the boys stole some of the spotlight. Led by Nick Ryan's first-place finish, the boys joined the girls as Class A state champs. Ryan went on to finish fifth at the Nike Cross Nationals meet.

8. Dream Season
After failing to reach the PSAL final for the first time in 15 years, MLK returned to the throne of New York city soccer by beating Francis Lewis, 3-2. Ibrahim Diaby provided the decisive goal, scoring on a header in the 69th minute to give the Knights their 13th crown in the last 16 seasons.

7. Watch the Throne
Jamesville-DeWitt and Mount Vernon both made history on the same day this past winter. Led by Dajuan Coleman, J-D won its state-record tying fourth straight Class A title while Mount Vernon rode the play of Jabarie Hinds to cop its state-record tying ninth overall crown.

6. Elite Class
In just two years on the New York football scene, Chad Kelly made national waves. This past summer, the St. Joe's Collegiate senior earned a spot in the Elite 11 during the annual QB camp in California. Kelly, the son of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, took those skills to become the first New York QB to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000.

5. Perfect Saint
Despite losing its starting quarterback before the year began and enduring injuries all season to its top players, St. Anthony's continued its reign of success by going 10-0 and copping its third straight CHSFL crown this past fall.

4. Luck of the Irish
Penn State saw itself spurned not once, but twice in the same year by New York's top football recruit. In January, as Lincoln's Ishaq Williams was packing for a visit to Penn State, a Notre Dame coach knocked on his door and eventually led him to commit to the Fighting Irish. Then this past fall, Aquinas Institute's Jarron Jones decommitted from Penn State and then chose Notre Dame as well.

3. Coaches Suspended
PSAL coaches Steve Mandl, who has 900-plus wins managing George Washington's baseball team, and Forest Hills hoops coach Ben Chobhaphand were suspended for recruiting violations. While Mandl fought the ruling in the courts, George Washington went on to win the PSAL title this past spring. Chobhaphand is poised to return to the sideline after his one-year suspension ends in February.

2. 'Cuse Lands Another Coleman
He's not related to former Syracuse and NBA star Derrick Coleman, but Dajuan Coleman is following in the big man's footsteps. The J-D senior committed to Syracuse this past fall over the likes of Kentucky and Ohio State.

1. We Will Never Forget
Middletown may be a 90-minute drive from Ground Zero, but on Sept. 10 the memory of 9/11 was close at hand for everyone attending a tripleheader of football games to honor the memories of those who died a decade ago. Manhattan Xavier faced Pine Brush, Xaverian played Monroe-Woodbury and Archbishop Stepinac took on Middletown. More than $4,000 was raised in donations and raffles during the event, as all involved teams paid tribute to the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

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

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

September, 3, 2011
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.

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.

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.

Jones commits to Notre Dame

August, 30, 2011
Just months after reneging on his "soft" commitment to Penn State, Aquinas Institute defensive lineman Jarron Jones has apparently found a new school: Notre Dame.

The senior announced his commitment to the Fighting Irish via Twitter on Monday night, tweeting:
"I'm taking my talents to #southbend #goirish #allin," - @Black_Magic_JMJ

Should Jones stick with his pledge come National Signing Day in February, it will be the second straight year that Notre Dame has reeled in the state's top recruit. (Former Lincoln defensive lineman Ishaq Williams headed to South Bend in January). And according to this article by The Democrat and Chronicle, Jones, who is ranked No. 97 in the ESPNU 150, doesn't plan on changing his mind again.

In the meantime, the 6-foot-7, 303-pound defender will anchor the Little Irish's (go figure) defense of the Class A state title, beginning with Saturday's big matchup against St. Joe's Collegiate, a squad led by star quarterback and Clemson recruit Chad Kelly.

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.