Former BG teammates meet collegiately

Sam McCloskey and Brandon Chadbourn were key players on Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School’s first state football championship team in 2014.

Since then, they’ve gone from successful teammates to gridiron foes.

The two will line up against each other for the third straight season when Villanova travels to Bethlehem to take on Lehigh in a college football game at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Chadbourn is a wide receiver at Villanova, and McCloskey is a starting defensive back at Lehigh. Villanova won the previous two meetings, 26-21 and 38-35.

“I’m excited to play against ‘Nova this week,” McCloskey said. “We have taken some tough losses to them the past two years, so we definitely owe them one. They are historically a very good team and program, so this game will be a little bit more telling as to what kind of team we are going to be this year.”

Possibly lining up opposite Chadbourn adds even more incentive.

“It’s always fun (going against Chadbourn),” McCloskey said. “We always hoped to play against each other at least one time, but we’ve been lucky enough for this to be the third consecutive year. He’s got the bragging rights thus far. Hopefully, we can turn the tables this weekend.”

Chadbourn is also looking forward to the game.

“It’s something when you go to college and your buddies from high school go to a different school than you, you always dream about playing them,” he said. “To do this three years in a row now is really cool.”

Chadbourn caught one pass for 17 yards in Villanova’s 19-17 win over Temple last week. The 6-foot 200-pound redshirt junior has played in all 24 Wildcat games the last two seasons and has 17 career receptions for 208 yards and one touchdown.

He said he sees his role as a strong blocking receiver who can help in the run game and catch passes when needed.

“(My career) has been a little up and down, but I feel good about where I’m at right now,” Chadbourn said. “I feel really good about where the team is at. I definitely think better days are ahead for us. I’m really looking forward to getting on with the season and seeing where we can go.”

McCloskey, a 5-foot-10 senior who has another year of eligibility after suffering a season-ending knee injury in the fourth game last year, helped the Mountain Hawks defeat Saint Francis last week, 21-19, with six solo tackles. He has started every game, when healthy, for Lehigh since the fifth week of his freshman season in 2015. He had three interceptions as a sophomore.

“I feel great about my college career so far,” McCloskey said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a lot of good players, and I have made life-long relationships with them along the way. There was a big learning curve when I first got here, and I had to work my tail off to contribute. I was able to adjust early on and now playing a huge rule in such a successful program is humbling.”

McCloskey is not the only member of the Lehigh football team who will be familiar to Chadbourn. His younger brother, Evan, who was part of all three BG state championship teams, is a backup running back for Lehigh.

It will make for an interesting game for not only Bishop Guilfoyle fans, but especially the parents of Brandon and Evan.

“I’d like to say (my parents will be rooting for Villanova),” Brandon said. “But I think they are going to go with the flip-flop Lehigh-Villanova jerseys again. They’ll probably be pretty neutral.”

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