Philadelphia High School Football
A Look at
St. Joseph's Prep's 55-Game Winning
Streak in the Catholic League Regular Season, 1999-2007
page includes stories, special lists, detailed results breakdowns, stats leaders and the names
of All-Catholic/All-City honorees during the winning streak.
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Over nine seasons, 1999-2007, St. Joseph's Prep won 55 consecutive games in Catholic League regular season play. The highest scoring game occurred in 2000 as Kyle Ambrogi fueled a 40-27 win over O'Hara and future NFL player Kevin Jones. Here is that story . . .
By Ted Silary
they finished providing thrills? Can stat men put down their pencils?
Prep, Mike Mailey had two sacks and six other stops. Sean Heenan was in on
Ambrogi's 39-yard TD gave Prep a 33-21 lead with 4 minutes, 26 seconds left. Jones zipped 46 yards on a draw at 1:00 to
make it 33-27 and Frank Vinci's onside kick was recovered by the Prep's Ed Lord. Pfft! Ambrogi went 51 yards.
"This was a good day," he said. "I felt I ran the right way. I was rushing things lately. Trying to, hurry, get to the hole when
maybe it wasn't ready yet. I was more patient this time, waiting for things to develop and then hitting in there."
This story was written in 2005 after Gil led the Hawks past La Salle . . .
By Ted Silary
John Shaw preaches again and again that Jamir Livingston needs to develop patience.
There are situations, of course, where that quality comes in handy and Livingston learned all about it this weekend.
Before you can run, you have to be able to play.
Perhaps you were among those at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High Saturday night at 6 o'clock, an hour before the scheduled
game time, when swamplike field conditions caused a much-discussed postponement of the Catholic Red battle between the
two fully private schools with at least a mild disdain (wink, wink) for each other - St. Joseph's Prep and La Salle.
Perhaps your feelings mirrored those of Livingston, and his teammates.
"Everybody was mad," he said. "We all wanted to play. You get all pumped up, then nothing."
Perhaps, as a follow-up, you were among those yesterday at Germantown's refurbished Ben Johnston Memorial Stadium,
where the teams finally met.
If so, you saw the smallish Livingston (5-7, 150) exert a giant-sized influence on what became a spirited clash that entertained
all. (Thankfully, there was no rerun of a brawl, mostly between parents and coaches, that occurred at the end of the schools'
recent freshman game.)
The Prep has now won 39 straight CL regular-season games, but almost all of the previous 38 were decidedly easier on
coach Gil Brooks' blood pressure.
This one? The Hawks triumphed, 21-14, but twice were caught from behind and needed a 2-yard scoring run from
Livingston with 7:19 remaining to go ahead for good.
It wasn't Livingston's only contribution. He finished with 172 yards on 25 carries and, best of all, never committed a turnover.
He was almost alone in that accomplishment as the Prep threw two interceptions (to Jack Forster, Sean Saverio), lost three
fumbles (recoveries by J.B. Campanella, Greg Frantz and Forster) and allowed a punt to be blocked (by Jeff Liberatore).
"We try to never come into a game underestimating our opponents," Livingston said. "We try to give the same respect every
opponent. But maybe we did underestimate them, a little. When we realized how good they were, we played to our full
"No matter what happens along the way, it's still nice if you come through when you have to."
Livingston, even as a tender sophomore, knows from pressure. He's now the No. 1 tailback because Shaw, the No. 9
career rusher in city history, suffered a broken leg and torn knee ligament 4 weeks ago vs. Roman Catholic.
When he's not limping onto the field to help dispense water, Shaw stays in Livingston's ear.
"His are big shoes to fill," said Jamir, who lives near 64th and Vine. "I'm trying to fill them to my potential. He's an
exceptional player and I don't think there's anyone else like him. I'm trying to do my part.
"John and I have a great relationship. I'm trying to better myself and he's helping me out. The biggest thing he talks about is
patience when running the ball. Read and then react. You have to let your blockers do their job."
And refrain from complaining when slop pits can be avoided?
"Yeah, this was better than running in mud," he said, smiling. "I like this turf. On a dry field, we felt we could run the ball."
The Prep's decisive drive covered 63 yards in eight plays. Three big ones were passes of 18 and 15 yards from quarterback
Chris Whitney to Matt Leddy and Whitney's 17-yard keeper.
A 32-yard connection from soph quarterback John Harrison (18-for-34, 191 yards) to running back Chris Ashley put La
Salle in business at the Hawks' 20 with 2:01 left. A procedure call damaged the momentum and four incompletions followed.
Whitney, Dave Clement and Andy Shalbrack were among those providing coverage.
"We were poised to win this game and this was is our failure," Colistra said. "Give Prep credit for good defensive plays."
The Prep's earlier TDs came on Dave Mendez's 30-yard interception return and Whitney's 65-yard run. La Salle
countered with Harrison's flips of 15 yards to Ashley and 18 to Rick Cosgrove.
So, Saturday night, after getting back home, how did Jamir Livingston pass the time?
"I rested my body," he said.
See, even postponements can be draining.
written in 2007, was about the 55th -- and what turned out to be final --
victory in the streak . . .
By Ted Silary
St. Joseph's Prep football player Mike McCarthy is one tough Eagle.
Don't worry. The Prep, after all these years, has not decided to scrap Hawks as its nickname.
McCarthy, a 5-10, 185-pound senior fullback for a squad that on Saturday night rocked Roman Catholic, 36-7, at
Northeast, to finish yet another perfect march through a Catholic Red regular season, is one of those covered-in-glory
Eagles. As in, the highlest level of Boy Scout.
He became involved in scouting 11 years ago and, as a representative of Troop 219 in Wayne, last summer proudly
became one of only 5 percent of all scouts since 1912 to complete a demanding project and earn the honor.
General focus? Yes, that kept McCarthy motivated. But so did a chance for family oneupsmanship.
Mike's brother, Pat, a starting offensive lineman for the '06 Hawks, also had designs on becoming an Eagle Scout.
Didn't quite work out.
"He didn't have the extra drive to finish it off," Mike said. "It basically came down to time management. He got busy
with football and other things. Eagle Scout isn't a joke. It bonds the troop.
"To see Pat not get it . . . I had to make the extra push. Had to do it for my family."
McCarthy began the process last school year by visiting the Prep's Christian Service Office and asking to be pointed
in the proper this-place-needs-help direction.
He was told to contact Sister Pat, of St. Rose of Lima Parish, near 59th and Lansdowne, and did she ever have plans
The inside of the convent needed to be painted.
"I had to prepare a detailed five-page report on what I was going to do," McCarthy said. "It had to be approved by my
troop, and then the district board of review. You have to make sure everything is not only done right, but on the
schedule you set up. I planned it for 4-5 months."
The numbers are imbedded in his brain. McCarthy worked on the project himself for 59 hours, 2 minutes, and
received varying amounts of assistance from 35 others, who invested 285 hours, 32 minutes, worth of sweat.
"That included some of my teammates - Pat Jordan and Anthony Harris, to name a couple - and professional people,
too," McCarthy said. "I needed guidance from them for the sanding."
As McCarthy plowed forward, there were side benefits.
"My work ethic for football kicked up a couple of notches, too," he said.
Team insiders insist Mr. Eagle would receive numerous votes in any contest to determine the toughest Hawk. And as
McCarthy was detailing his project, coach Gil Brooks came scrambling over, gave him a forceful bearhug and noted,
"I love this kid!"
As the Hawks posted their 55th consecutive Red regular-season triumph, starting with the final game of '99,
McCarthy's blocking helped Jamir Livingston (91 rushing yards) and Aaron Haas (113 passing yards) experience
enjoyment. Plus, he turned four of his own carries into a two-TD outing (13 and 10 yards).
Other prominent contributors were Brett Tiagwad (TD catch), Tim Edger (field goal, three kickoffs into the end zone),
Jim McGoldrick (35-yard catch on first scoring drive, four punt returns for 104 yards), Jordan (interception and flying
leap to keep a punt out of the end zone) . . .
Like his teammates, McCarthy prepared hard all week and let nothing throw his focus off-kilter.
Well, there was that one day . . .
The Prep practices at Belmont Plateau. Just as McCarthy parked his car, quickly tugged on his equipment and
prepared to head over to the field, an older Hispanic woman, who was struggling with English, caught his attention.
Flat tire translates in any language. (Although visuals help. )
"What could I do? " McCarthy asked. "Coach Brooks does not want you being late for practice, but you have to make
decisions in life. I thought, 'Hold on . . . Hold on . . . I can mess with this a little. ' So, I changed her tire. I just did it.
"It took maybe 10 minutes. And I got to practice just as coach Brooks was blowing his whistle."
Pat McCarthy now attends Albright and still plays football. Mike is unsure what his future will bring, but he knows he
wants to major in business or accounting.
One suspects this Eagle of a Hawk will keep flying high.
Below are the players who earned first or second team Coaches' All-Catholic honors
for coach Gil Brooks during the 55-game streak.
Game-by-Game Breakdown . . .
|Year/Opponent||SJP||Opp.||Leading Scorer||Pts||Yardage Leader||Yards|
|1999 1||Passers Indented|
|Ryan||7||0||George Hess||6||Kevin Stefanski||95|
|Bonner||45||0||Pat Kaiser||13||Mike McGann||221|
|at La Salle||23||0||Pete Chromiak||12||Mike McGann||198|
|Judge||29||0||Pat Kaiser||11||Pat Kaiser||103|
|at O'Hara||40||27||Kyle Ambrogi||24||Kyle Ambrogi||322|
|at North||42||6||Kyle Ambrogi||18||Kyle Ambrogi||205|
|Roman||28||13||Kyle Ambrogi||12||Kyle Ambrogi||195|
|at Ryan||21||3||Kyle Ambrogi||12||Kyle Ambrogi||130|
|Ryan||47||17||Pat Kaiser||11||Vince Gallagher||162|
|La Salle||21||0||Pat Kaiser||9||Kyle Ambrogi||205|
|N. Catholic||48||0||Kaiser/Billy Gennaro||12||Vince Gallagher||161|
|at Roman||41||6||Kyle Ambrogi||18||Kyle Ambrogi||157|
|at Bonner||42||21||Kyle Ambrogi||24||Vince Gallagher||187|
|O'Hara||35||14||Kyle Ambrogi||14||Vince Gallagher||180|
|at Judge||35||14||Kyle Ambrogi||14||Vince Gallagher||154|
|at Ryan||37||14||Pat Kaiser||31||Pat Kaiser||142|
|at La Salle||49||12||Pat Kaiser||23||Pat Kaiser||145|
|at North||55||6||Pat Kaiser||23||Pat Kaiser||146|
|Roman||41||7||Pat Kaiser||17||Pat Kaiser||201|
|Bonner||42||7||Pat Kaiser||18||Pat Kaiser||190|
|at O'Hara||38||17||Kyle Ambrogi||36||Pat Kaiser||178|
|Judge||51||6||Kyle Ambrogi||32||Pat Kaiser||241|
|at Bonner||41||0||Six with . . .||6||Mark Noonan||124|
|La Salle||37||0||Danny Jones||12||Danny Jones||143|
|Ryan||42||6||John Shaw/Greg Ambrogi||12||John Shaw||85|
|at Roman||36||20||Greg Ambrogi||18||John Shaw||136|
|O' Hara||28||10||Mark Noonan||8||Danny Jones||113|
|at Judge||42||0||Danny Jones||18||John Shaw||141|
|Bonner||31||7||Four with . . .||6||John Shaw||129|
|at La Salle||23||12||John Shaw||18||John Shaw||202|
|at Ryan||28||10||Four with . . .||6||John Shaw||104|
|Roman||38||0||John Shaw||18||John Shaw||172|
|at O’Hara||12||7||Tim Lutz/Mike Boyle||6||John Shaw||122|
|Judge||31||7||John Shaw||18||John Shaw||97|
|at Roman||41||0||Jamir Livingston||18||Jamir Livingston||113|
|Ryan||41||0||Three with . . .||12||Jamir Livingston||127|
|at Bonner||34||7||Matt Leddy||12||Chris Whitney||81|
|at Judge||38||0||Bill Edger/Dave Mendez||12||Chris Whitney||144|
|La Salle||21||14||Three with . . .||6||Jamir Livingston||172|
|at North||35||0||Ryan Bradley||18||Bradley Wright||112|
|O'Hara||31||7||Jamir Livingston||12||Jamir Livingston||134|
|at Roman||40||0||Jamir Livingston||24||Jamir Livingston||181|
|at Ryan||31||12||Tim Edger||7||Chris Whitney||151|
|Bonner||55||0||Brian Brinkmann||18||Mike Yeager||196|
|Judge||24||0||Jamir Livingston||12||Jamir Livingston||153|
|La Salle||42||14||Chris Whitney||14||Jamir Livingston||250|
|North||28||0||Chris Whitney||18||Chris Whitney||59|
|at O'Hara||41||7||Livingston/Brinkmann||12||Chris Whitney||270|
|La Salle||48||7||Tim Edger||21||Aaron Haas||106|
|at Judge||19||0||Jamir Livingston||12||Jamir Livingston||166|
|Ryan||51||7||Tim Edger||21||Aaron Haas||136|
|at North||42||7||Three with . . .||12||Jamir Livingston||183|
|O'Hara||16||7||Livingston/Aaron Haas||6||Jamir Livingston||109|
|Bonner||41||0||Jamir Livingston||12||Aaron Haas||60|
|Roman||36||7||Mike McCarthy||12||Aaron Haas||113|