BE football prepares for new season, battle for QB position underway

The first chapter of the Bishop England football team’s “Life After Leo” is in the books and what emerged from spring practice is an interesting battle for the quarterback position to replace the legendary QB.

Leo, of course, is Leo Albano, the just-graduated three-sport star who excelled in football. He’s headed to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Albano, who tallied more than 4½ miles in total offense, owns four school records. He’s one of 21 seniors who graduated last month. That’s more than half the team as coach John Cantey looks for replacements for the 2018 season after posting a 7-5 record, reaching the second round of the playoffs.

While quarterback is the marquee position, Cantey points out that the game is won in the trenches, and the offensive line will have to be retooled. The Bishops must also find a replacement for all-state running back Christian Greavu, who will play lacrosse at the next level.

“Rebuilding the offensive line is definitely a long process,” Cantey said. “We have a lot of young guys at the skill positions that I’m excited about. I think that transition will be smooth.

But we’re still working on the offensive line.” But the biggest story that will play out when practice begins in August is the quarterback battle, featuring two well-known football names, albeit one is at the national level.

One candidate is Will Daniel, who was the backup to Albano last fall. His father is Jim Daniel, a veteran coach who at one time was the head coach of Bishop England. He left the school for another coaching job, but returned a few years ago.

The other candidate is Eddie Marinaro. He’s the son of Ed Marinaro, who set 16 NCAA records as a running back for Cornell University. He was the first running back to rush for 4,000 yards in a career and finished second in the 1971 Heisman Trophy balloting. If you don’t follow football, you might remember the elder Marinaro as a cast member from “Lavern & Shirley,” “Sisters” and, of course, “Hill Street Blues,” playing officer Joe Coffey.

Cantey said Daniel, a sophomore, is the leader right now, but Marinaro, another sophomore, is still in the hunt.

“Will Daniel throws the ball well,” Cantey said. “He needs to get stronger, however. He’s a hard worker and takes command in the huddle. He has a strong knowledge of the game.”

Cantey says Marinaro is athletic and could play other positions such as wide receiver or safety. Cantey said his running skills are impressive.

“Both players are three-sport guys,” Cantey said. “If you can say that about one of your quarterbacks, that’s impressive. We have two.”

Cantey welcomed back assistant coach Jason McDermott. He was the defensive coordinator at BE, but left to coach at the new Philip Simmons High School. He’s back at BE, serving as the defensive coordinator.

The Bishops open the season Aug. 17 against First Baptist, a team that features one of the better athletes in the Lowcountry. Cantey hasn’t seen him on film, but knows Michel Dukes will present a challenge.

Daniel Island Publishing

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