New Nazareth squad leaves questions for CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens

Former St. Michael Academy coach Apache Paschall and his players landing at Nazareth has CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens coaches wondering what the future holds for their league.

“I’m surprised I guess,” Christ the King coach Bob Mackey said. “It will be interesting because Nazareth hasn’t had a team. They are going to have to apply to have a team. That is going to have to go to the athletic directors and the principals.”

Paschall admitted that he is unsure if his new squad will be allowed to move immediately to the league’s Division I group with the likes of New York State Federation Class AA champion Christ the King, Bishop Ford and The Mary Louis Academy. It could give Brooklyn/Queens two perennial national powers, both of which Ford beat last season. Archbishop Molloy and TMLA have also been considered among its top squads.

“I think it could be the beginning of the super league,” Paschall said. “You pull in St. Peter’s and maybe Moore Catholic and now we might be talking about the best league in the country.”

Mackey feels the league is already the nation’s best as it is now. He would not discuss the impact of adding a team with nationally recognized talent to Division I without knowing if it will be playing there or if all of the returning players from St. Mike’s will be joining Paschall.

“A whole lot of what ifs, I think you got a long way to go before you get there,” Mackey said.

Paschall said he has not talked Starr Breedlove and Tayshana (Chicken) Murphy, a Bishop Loughlin transfer, about where they will go to school. Sources said both could make the jump to prep school.

“There are a lot of questions here,” Mary Louis athletic director and coach Joe Lewinger said. “We are all speculating. The league needs to think of how to handle this situation. One would think, what implications does this have on the state playoffs?”

Without St. Mike’s, there is an open spot from the Archdiocese in the Class AA playoffs and only the top three Brooklyn/Queens teams are eligible, something that could blur the parity in the Class A postseason. Lewinger said that while that is a decision down the road, right now that fact the players have a school to call home is the most important thing.

“It’s good for the kids that now they have a place to go to,” said Bishop Ford coach Mike Toro, who coaches in Paschall’s Exodus AAU program. “It makes the league much stronger and much more competitive. The important thing was keep the kids together and the goal was accomplished.”

The first-year coach already owns a win over Paschall this season and is excited about the possibility of facing his mentor on a regular basis in league play.

“I know every year I could possibly get a chance to give them two losses,” Toro said.

It shows that the name on the jersey and school may be different for Paschall and his troops, but it hasn’t change what they accomplished and what they could be capable of in the future.

“You are going to call them Nazareth,” Lewinger said. “But in your mind you are still thinking St. Mike’s.”

— with Marc Raimondi