DiGIOVANNI: Bishop Shanahan may not have playoffs, but this season is already a success

The 2020 football season has been a year never seen before. With COVID-19 dominating the landscape, and with coaches, players and parents on a daily watch as they try to prevent their season from coming to a premature end.

Unionville was a playoff entrant in the District 1 Class 5A bracket early Friday evening, and before the end of the night, the Unionville season was over due to a positive test.

Bishop Shanahan had its season put on hold in late August when the Archdiocese of Philadelphia shut down fall sports. When the Archdiocese reversed course and let teams practice, the Eagles were dealt a severe blow on the first afternoon of official practice on September 28, as the Eagles had three players exposed to the virus, and were shut down for 14 days.

But, the Eagles cobbled together a four-game season, and two weeks ago Bishop Shanahan turned back a good Archbishop Carroll team, 14-7, when the Shanahan defense stopped the Patriots offense twice inside the 10-yard line. The Eagles also got another good game from junior quarterback Cooper Jordan to take the victory.

This past Saturday, Bishop Shanahan traveled up to Easton and beat another good 4A team in Wilson Area High School. The defense, led by Carson Binder and Brandon Choi, held Wilson to just seven points. That is just 14 points allowed in two weeks. A very impressive defensive performance the Eagles should be very proud of.

Overcoming obstacles is nothing new for the Bishop Shanahan football team, and innovative head coach Paul Meyers. The Eagles are a small 4A school that has to battle Class 6A Ches-Mont League heavyweights in both Downingtowns and Coatesville, as well as the much larger Avon Grove.

But, the Eagles never cry about their fortune. Meyers and his bunch are great at overcoming adversity, like the built-in killer league schedule. Many have wanted to move Bishop Shanahan to the American Division of the Ches-Mont League so the Eagles can play 5A schools.

Meyers and his charges will have none of it.

The Eagles do indeed take their share of lumps against the three big boys, and there have been some lopsided losses over the last few seasons. But they have helped the Eagles learn to deal with adversity.

Bishop Shanahan is the defending District 1 Class 4A champion, but there will be no championship this season. The Eagles only played two games as of the Oct. 31 cutoff date, instead of the required four. So, Meyers and his team have made it a point to have an undefeated season of four or more games. After its first two wins, the Eagles will host Pottstown this Friday night and head to Avon Grove the following Friday.

There may be a chance to schedule another game if the stars align and someone is willing to continue its season to match up up with he Eagles. Bishop Shanahan could have kicked it in when its second postponement happened and just cried uncle. But, Meyers was determined to have a season for his kids, especially the Eagles seniors.

And, Shanahan has a very good shot of accomplishing an undefeated season. They will be favored in the Pottstown game and the game with Avon Grove will be a toss-up.

It is this passion and commitment that allows a small 4A school to compete in the Ches-Mont National year after year. And to those who want to push the Eagles out of the division, all I can say is that is almost impossible to keep a dedicated group of players and coaches from competing at the highest level, no matter how big or small the school is.

Heart cannot be measured, and Meyers has instilled plenty of it in Bishop Shanahan teams past and present. It is just his way. Virus or no virus.

Peter DiGiovanni covers high school football for The Daily Local News and Pa. Prep Live. You can email him at pdigiovanni07@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteDLN.

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