By: David Wells
After their final scrimmage against Centennial, Father Ryan head coach Bruce Lussier was pleased with the way his team executed in all three phases of the game.
But if there is one thing that the Fightin’ Irish are in desperate need of as they begin the season Friday night at John Overton, it’s depth.
“We’re always trying to develop the guys behind the one,” Lussier said. “You know you’re going to have some bumps and bruises down the road, and there’re a little bit of drop off between the starters and the second-stringers.”
The Fightin’ Irish have won their last two meetings with Overton, but they are coming off a third straight losing seasons. Last year, Father Ryan began 2-0 before losing six straight games and ending the year at 3-8.
Beating Overton would be a good start.
“It’s nothing new as much as who we’re playing,” Lussier said. “It’s just the butterflies. We’re going off of last year, and a lot of the faces and the numbers change.”
Lussier is still in the process of selecting his starting quarterback, with the competition narrowed down to two contenders: senior Steven Stejskal, who started in some early games last year, and junior Cameron Towns, who started in junior varsity.
With the departure of Rafael Hopkins and Jamonte Graham, its top rushers from last year, Father Ryan will rely heavily on Joseph Holzmer and Dekeivis Perry on the ground.
Holzmer rushed 62 times for 182 yards at fullback, while Perry had 157 running yards. Perry also caught six passes for 58 yards, and he returned five kickoffs for 103 yards.
The Fightin’ Irish won’t be as pressed at wide out, as top receiver Andrew White will start once again this season. White caught 15 passes for 259 last year.
On defense, Max Stoffer and Billy Knipp return at inside linebacker, Aaron McLoed at outside linebacker and Dennis Donnelly at nose tackle. All-Conference kicker Luke Strebel will also return for Father Ryan.
Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. at John Overton High School in Nashville.