“We wanted to install our base offense, defense, and special teams’ schemes, and we accomplished that goal. We also wanted to establish our first and second-string depth. Having only ten days makes it very difficult to get everything in and everyone evaluated. I wish the LHSAA would go back to the 15 days they used to allow. But our coaches did a great job of organization, and the kids did a great job of studying beforehand to prepare for spring practice.”
The biggest challenge going forward is replacing seven offensive linemen and the quarterback. Injuries to running backs last year gave younger players a chance to play. “The headaches we faced with youth last year become our strong points this year.” The leader at quarterback is rising senior Drew Martin. “He knows the offense as a whole, inside and out. He had a good spring.” However, “the quarterback of the future” is Isaiah Torregano, a rising sophomore. “We think he’s very special and will play meaningful series throughout the course of the season because we like quarterbacks who play for a long time like Jake Broggi, who started for three years.” (As a senior, Broggi led the 2015 offense to a state record for points per game.) “We’re going to ask our quarterbacks to do a lot of things with their feet. But at any point, an injury can happen. So we have to have the next guy ready to go.” For that reason, five quarterbacks took reps in spring practice, including senior Brady Faust, junior Luke Schexnaildre, and freshman Garret Mmahat. “We know what all five of those guys are good at. Drew did a good job of mentoring those other quarterbacks.”
A number of defensive lettermen must be replaced as well as Trey Morgan, who decided to concentrate on baseball. “That’s a smart move for him. But it hurts because he was our best returning secondary guy.” Coach Bonis expects the defensive line to be the strong point of Coach Lance Ledet’s unit.
With so many openings to fill, the staff is developing multi-dimensional players. “In order to compete against the teams on our schedule, we are training nine guys to play on offense and defense. We played guys on both sides of the ball last year, but that’s tough to do for the entire year because you’re asking them to play 140-150 snaps per game. By preparing multiple guys to play both ways, we can keep the snaps to 80-90 or 100, which we feel better about. The guys playing both ways are mainly receivers and secondary guys. It’s a headache at practice because we don’t want to shortchange one side or the other, but it has allowed younger defensive guys to step up on offense and vice versa.”
Practices will resume Monday, June 4 and go four days a week through the summer. Brother Martin will again enter a team in the 7-on-7 league on Wednesday nights. “I’m looking forward to the summer because that’s the first time we get all our football players together since so many play multiple sports.”
The schedule is the same as last year except for the locations of three non-district games. The 2018 season will start with a trip to Petal, MS just east of Hattiesburg. However, Hahnville and Bastrop will come to Tad Gormley this year to complete their home-and-home contracts. With Warren Easton joining the three out-of-town teams, the Crusaders will again play one of the toughest non-district schedules in the state. But with all Non-Select Division I teams making the playoffs, Bonis believes in scheduling tough out-of-district foes. “You got to play the best to become the best you can become. The speed we saw early on in our non-district schedule last year prepared us for the district schedule.”
Article by Bro. Neal Golden ’57 CJ