RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — If it feels like they just turned in their helmets that’s because the Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders football team only had 87 days between their final game and their first practice of the new season.
“It doesn’t feel like we’ve had much of a break,” said Crusaders head football coach Steven Wright. “But we’re excited to be out here.”
There was certainly no lack of enthusiasm from the Crusaders during practice. Coaches got players reacquainted with the playbook with the goal being retention and proper execution.
“I think being clean and sharp in what we are doing is it,” said Wright. “You know we had our day-one install and we just wanted to so those guys run that well.”
If it seems like Wright is grinning it might have something to do with the Crusaders returning six starters on defense and seven starters from an offense that averaged more than five touchdowns per game last season.
“It’s always helpful to have your starting quarterback Connor Clark back, Donovan Shepard at running back and a host of wide receivers one of which is Jake Taylor,” said Wright. “We’ve got a good group coming back.”
Not to mention troublemakers Ian Evan and Maverick Shotwell catching passes for key yards as well. Blake Raphael will see action on both sides of the ball as a running back and free safety. Even though they lost a few pieces the defense should be stout.
“We’ve got Carter Scearce our leading tackler back from last year and we have a good group on the defensive line so we are excited,” said Wright. “Will Mason, probably our best defensive back, is back as well.”
With their first game against Chambers still over two weeks away Wright said the big keys right now are to see gradual progress and “to stay healthy as you work through these first few weeks,” said Wright.
“If we can you know we feel we have a chance to be pretty decent,” he added.