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Covering High School Sports in America

Tag: Eastern Christian Academy High School

  • Photo by Dan Coppola

    Paramus Catholic has called a last-minute audible on its schedule.

    Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.), a New Jersey program on the rise, has scheduled a game with Washington, D.C. power Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, District of Columbia), Paramus Catholic head coach Chris Partridge told MaxPreps today.

    The game will take place on Oct. 26 at Rutgers Stadium.

    Paramus Catholic previously had Eastern Christian Academy (Elkton, Md.) scheduled for that date. However, concerns over whether the school would be a sanctioned opponent led Partridge to explore other opportunities.

    "We wanted to play Eastern Christian Academy because they are so highly-touted, but they have so many issues going on," Partridge said.

    In doing so, Paramus Catholic becomes the latest school to cancel its scheduled game with the Maryland school that features USC commits David Sills and Kenny Bigelow.

    Friendship College Academy had canceled its game with Eastern Christian just weeks earlier and had an opening on Oct. 26, allowing the team to travel to take on Paramus Catholic. Friendship also had a game called last Saturday night by a violent thunderstorm in the D.C. area, further compromising its schedule.

    "I think we are very fortunate to find another school this late of such high caliber," Partridge said. "We're excited to play the game at Rutgers and hopefully next year we'll go down there."

    Paramus Catholic opens its season on Saturday against Delbarton.

    In the wake of an in-depth article by Sports Illustrated, Eastern Christian Academy has lost at least three games this season. A matchup with No. 8 Curtis (River Ridge, La.) also could be in jeopardy.
    Image for MaxPreps Video.
  • Following Wednesday's meeting with the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, the Eastern Christian Academy (Elkton, Md.) football team still is in limbo as far as official sanctioning is concerned.

    Spokesman David Sills told MaxPreps via email today, "The meeting with the MPSSAA went OK. We overcame their initial issue of having or trying to play in-state teams, which is the reason for sanctioning in the first place. They have given us another 'to do' list, which we are diligently working on to satisfy their requirements."

    Sills explained earlier this week that the Honey Badgers have not yet been able to play Maryland public school teams, but the desire is there.

    All team members attend National Connections Academy, an online school which has close to 45,000 students throughout the United States. The school's vice president, Dr. Steven Guttentag, represented the football team at Wednesday's meeting.

    Photo by Roddy Johnson

    J.T. Curtis

    Guttentag told MaxPreps, "We submitted (request for sanctioning) in February. It was declined, but not because of anything wrong with the football team. If you're a public school, you need to get certified. They, quite honestly, don't know what to do with us. We've been an online school for a decade, but never had to deal with sports.

    "What came out of the meeting is that they (the MPSSAA) want to make this thing work. It's a little bit of (which came first) the chicken or the egg. Right now it's all up in the air."

    The Honey Badgers are scheduled to play national power Curtis (River Ridge, La.) later this fall in a nationally-televised game.

    However, John Curtis coach J.T. Curtis told MaxPreps today, "We can not play them without sanctioning (due to Louisiana rules)."

    The River Ridge area was hit hard today by high winds and power outages caused by Hurricane Isaac and Curtis said he was afraid he would lose this Friday's game against Franklinton (La.) to the weather. He said he can't afford to lose any more games and has another team which is ready to play if the Maryland powerhouse can't get proper sanctioning.

  • Wednesday will be a crucial day in the young history of the Eastern Christian Academy (Elkton, Md.) football team.

    David Sills IV, father of standout sophomore quarterback David Sills, told MaxPreps today, "We have not been approved by the Maryland Secondary Schools Athletic Association. Connections has a meeting with them tomorrow afternoon."

    File photo by Bill Berg

    Quarterback David Sills of Red Lion Christian in 2010.

    Connections is National Connections Academy, the online school the players are enrolled in, and is featured in a recent Sports Illustrated article.

    Because of some uncertainly about Eastern Christian's eligibility on the part of West Catholic (Philadelphia), it has cancelled Saturday's game against Eastern Christian, Sills said. He has only slim hopes that if his team gets sanctioned by its home state that game could be played. You can find more about why West Catholic was worried in a blog post on

    The Eastern Christian players take online courses at National Connections Academy and Sills admits there is a lot of confusion involved. He believes that if the Maryland association sanctions the team, the biggest problems will be out of the way.

    "I know what reason they would have to deny us," Sills said. "We did not have any Maryland public schools on our schedule. We are trying to take care of that."

    At this point Eastern Christian's next game is Sept. 7 against Friendship Academy (Washington, D.C.) at the U.S. Naval Academy. They won their first two games and have six more on the schedule. The team has received calls from places as far away as Texas and hopes to fill a couple open dates.

    If state approval comes, Eastern Christian - with seven Division I-bound players - also will be able to play national power Curtis (River Ridge, La.) in a nationally televised game on Oct. 18.

    Despite the controversy, Sills pointed out, "Our purpose is specifically to get kids the ability to go to college who couldn't afford it. It has very little to do with football. Your education is going to be the key (to the future)."
  • Courtesy photo

    Andrew Robison

    At first glance, Andrew Robison looks like any other sixth grader with a Justin Bieber-inspired hairdo.

    However, after Friday, Robison stands alone as possibly the youngest player to throw a varsity touchdown in a regular season high school football game.

    The 5-foot-1, 100-pound sixth grader from Franklin Christian Academy (Franklin, Tenn.) threw a 63-yard touchdown pass against McClain Christian Academy to junior Aaron Thon in his first varsity snap.

    Though no formal record exists, Robison appears to be the youngest player to ever throw a varsity touchdown pass.

    USC-commit David Sills threw nine touchdown passes as an eighth grader in 2010; Tim Couch made the varsity squad at Leslie County as a seventh grader, backing up his older brother.

    Many state governing bodies don't allow players to suit up for varsity teams (this chart shows the breakdown.) Unlike neighboring states Mississippi and Kentucky, Tennessee's state governing body, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) does not permit any student below ninth grade to play varsity athletics.

    The quirk that makes Robison's case so unique is that, although Franklin Christian Academy plays against TSSAA schools, it is not a member of the TSSAA. Translation: Robison is free to throw as many sixth-grade touchdown passes as he likes.

    What do Robison's parents think about their son being thrown to the proverbial varsity wolves?

    You'll have to ask Franklin Christian Academy head coach Drew Robison, Andrew's father.

    Drew Robison said he did not expect to use his son as anything but the middle school quarterback, but he was forced to turn to him when starting quarterback K.C. Jorgensen went down with cramps.

    "I called a slant and put him in the shotgun. I was really concerned, to be honest," he said.

    The younger Robison had a quick release and Thon did the rest, streaking toward the end zone for the long score.

    The first person to greet him was Andrew Robison.

    "After he threw that pass, he was just sprinting. He was going crazy," Drew Robison said. "His reaction was a lot like Terrell Owens after he caught the post from Steve Young."

    Robison played three other snaps the rest of the way, throwing two incomplete passes and handing off once.

    Franklin Christian Academy lost the game 66-30. The Falcons and their preteen signal-caller will look to rebound against the Webb School.
    Image for MaxPreps Video.
  • The hometown kids didn't have quite enough to defeat the football factory.

    Photo by Bryan Fischer

    David Sills

    That's the storyline anyway among those fans from Johnston, S.C., who watched their hometown Strom Thurmond (Johnston, S.C.) drop a wild 39-35 game to Eastern Christian Academy (Elkton, Md.), a school formerly known as Red Lion Academy.

    According to the Augusta Chronicle, Eastern Christian Academy (Elkton, Md.) (ECA) boasts at least nine Division I players, including USC-bound quarterback David Sills who not only threw for more then 300 yards and four scores, but he scored the game-winning touchdown on a 26-yard scramble with about four minutes remaining.

    Strom Thurmond got big games from quarterback Jauveer Hammond and tailback Darius Hammond, but came up a little short.

    "What a gutsy effort by our kids," Strom Thurmond head coach Lee Sawyer told the newspaper. "They've got nine D-I guys? What a gutsy effort."

    Northwestern (SC) swamps Gaffney

    According to the Spartanburg Herald Journal, Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.) piled up 449 yards in a surprising 49-19 win over host Gaffney (Gaffney, S.C.), a defending state finalist.

    Northwestern took a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter on TD runs from Tori Adams and Lathomas Long and after Luke Lancaster (278 yards passing) fired a touchdown pass from Gaffney, the visitors scored two more touchdowns to go up 28-13 on a pass from Mason Rudolph to Mustafia Love and a 47-yard run by Long.

    The game was out of reach from there.

    Jordan (Sandy, Utah) 53, Fremont 12

    The state's top-ranked team, led by sophomore quarterback Austin Kafentzis, had little trouble in its season opener at Fremont. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Kafentzis threw for three touchdowns and rushed for two more. He was the MaxPreps national Freshman of the Year last season.
  • Courtesy photo

    Jarrett Guarantano, Bergen Catholic

    Earlier this summer, MaxPreps documented the trend of early recruiting and colleges wooing recruits who have yet to enter high school.

    In the past few weeks, the trend has accelerated.

    Offering players before they enter high school is not completely unheard of. Remember when Wake Forest offered Chris Leak as an eighth grader? Or when seventh-grade quarterback David Sills committed to USC?

    More players than ever before can boast scholarship offers before ninth grade. Here's the current rundown.

    Class of 2016
    Jarrett Guarantano, QB, Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) Offers: Rutgers
    Jordan Fuller, QB/ATH, Northern Valley (Old Tappan, N.J.) Offers: Rutgers
    Gabe Angel, RB/LB, Wilson Central (Lebanon, Tenn.) Offers: Mississippi State
    Robert Washington, RB, SouthLake Christian Academy (Huntersville, N.C.) Offers: Ole Miss
    Rashan Gary, OL, Scotch Plains-Fanwood (Scotch Plains, N.J.) Offers: Rutgers
    Rahshaun Smith, DL, Calvert Hall (Baltimore, Md.) Offers: Boston College, Maryland
    Shane Simmons, DL, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) Offers: Virginia
    Morgan Scroggins, DB, Calvert Hall (Baltimore, Md.) Offers: Youngstown State

    Class of 2017
    Dylan Moses, RB/LB, University Lab (Baton Rouge, La.). Offers: LSU
    Tate Martell, QB. Offers: Washington (Committed)
  • Courtesy photo

    Zach Okun, Newbury Park

    USC may have landed Class of 2015 quarterback David Sills several years ago, but crosstown rival UCLA is making up ground with the country's top rising sophomores.

    The Bruins have arguably been the most aggressive school in the country when it comes to offering recruits from the Class of 2015.

    The program's latest offer was extended to Newbury Park (Calif.) offensive lineman Zach Okun, according to assistant coach Kevin Smith.

    The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Okun started on the offensive line, going up against the likes of Oaks Christian, St. Bonaventure and Westlake in the Marmonte League, one of the nation's toughest.

    Okun, who also saw some time on the defensive line, has also generated interest from Boston College, Virginia, Florida and others.

    UCLA has made it clear that it intends to build inroads with young recruits.

    It famously offered Cordell Broadus, son of Snoop Dogg, last month. In May, UCLA became the first to offer Darick Holmes.

    Jim Mora Jr. first began making offers to 2015 recruits this fall. Among the first offers was an offer to Arizona phenom Christian Kirk and Georgia tight end Arden Key.

    Perhaps the biggest fish in UCLA's fryer is La Mirada (Calif.) quarterback Kevin Dillman. He already has multiple offers and could end up proving to be better than the highly touted Sills.

    If UCLA misses on Dillman, there should be plenty of other options in what early on appears to be an extremely good year for quarterbacks. The Bruins have also offered De'Andre Johnson, who likely appears to be SEC or ACC-bound.

    Image for MaxPreps Video.
  • It's not Texas, Western Pennsylvania or Southern California.

    But New Mexico, relative to its population, has produced a few notable quarterbacks.

    It may be best known for being the birthplace of Ronnie Lott and Brian Urlacher, but the Land of Enchantment has also produced standout signal-callers Jim Everett and Landry Jones.

    Everett spent more than a decade in the NFL, compiling nearly 35,000 career passing yards playing for the Rams, Saints and Chargers.

    Courtesy photo

    Zach Gentry, Eldorado

    Jones, a Heisman Trophy contender this season at Oklahoma, threw for 3,580 yards and 44 touchdowns as a senior at Artesia (N.M.).

    Zach Gentry, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound sophomore from Eldorado (Albuquerque, N.M.) could be next in line.

    As a freshman last fall, Gentry backed up brother Sam, now a quarterback at the University of New Mexico. He saw limited action, but his highlight tape was enough to catch the eye of San Diego State, which offered him a scholarship last month.

    "Rocky Long called my head coach about a month ago. He was asking about another player, then he saw me (on film)," Gentry said.

    New Mexico is also showing early interest in Gentry, who said that his arm strength and accuracy are his biggest strengths right now. With Eldorado moving to a spread offense, Gentry will likely have an opportunity to make more plays with his feet, though he admits, "I tend to be more of a pocket passer."

    Gentry said he's been compared to Everett, who was 6-5 and also attended Eldorado, though the two have never spoken.

    Gentry gets his advice and guidance instead from older brother Sam.

    "He [Sam] is working with me, getting me on a schedule," Gentry said. "He's given me a lot of pointers."

    Gentry adds to an already-deep pool of Class of 2015 quarterbacks that includes David Sills, Austin Kafentzis, Michael O'Connor, Kevin Dillman and Jayru Campbell.

    A strong sophomore campaign from Gentry will thrust him firmly into the national spotlight.

  • Photo by Mark Bahrenfuss

    Justin Davis, Lincoln

    Justin Davis, the top running back from the state of California, has verbally committed to USC.

    The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Justin Davis stand out selected the Trojans over California and Washington.

    Davis enjoyed a monstrous season as a junior year in helping to lead Lincoln to an 11-2 record. He carried the ball 274 times, amassing 2,380 yards and 36 touchdowns.

    He earned All-Sac-Joaquin Section and All-state honors and will likely be a Top 100 recruit before long.

    Davis joins a recruiting class that features Max Browne, Kenny Bigelow, and Ty Isaac, another star running back who committed to the Trojans this week.

    Sanctions have not affected USC's recruiting in the slightest, as Lane Kiffin has been able to continue to attract elite recruits seemingly at will.Image for MaxPreps Video.
  • Photo by Bill Berg

    David Sills, Eastern Christian

    One of the country's top young quarterbacks will take on one of the country's premier defensive backs when Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.) hosts Eastern Christian Academy (Elkton, Md.) on October 27.

    Eastern Christian Academy sophomore-to-be David Sills will look to pick apart a Paramus Catholic secondary that will be led by 2011 National Sophomore of the Year Jabrill Peppers.

    The game was finalized this morning, according to Paramus Catholic head coach Chris Partridge, who is excited at the prospect of taking on a team that boasts two players committed to USC.

    "We want to play talent," he said. "I think it'll be a good situation."

    Eastern Christian Academy is working on finalizing its complete schedule, which will likely include numerous out of state opponents.

    A showdown with Don Bosco Prep highlights Paramus Catholic's schedule.