Posted: Jul 16, 2014 9:46 AM
Updated: Sep 12, 2014 11:35 PM
|8 / 22||Harrisburg||Away||Win||63 - 0|
|8 / 29||Lutheran St. Charles||Home||Loss||20 - 41|
|9 / 5||Kennedy||Home||Win||40 - 8|
|9 / 12||Mid-East Home School||Home||Win||69 - 6|
|9 / 19||Tipton||Away||Win||17 - 0|
|9 / 26||St. Pius X||Away||Win||31 - 8|
|10 / 3||Missouri Military Academy||Home|
|10 / 10||Cuba||Away|
|10 / 17||Sacred Heart||Home|
|10 / 24||Districts|
2013 was a breakout season of sorts for the Fr. Tolton Catholic Trailblazers. According to Head Coach Chad Masters, the Trailblazers played with their first graduating seniors and with that they became a more competitive and cohesive football team. The system under Coach Masters and his staff of Mike Johnson, Curt Riley, Jeremy Osborne, Vincent Morris, Jeff Edwards, Chris Campbell and Wes Hamilton is firmly in place and, "The athletes have continued to build a culture of hard work, teamwork, servant leadership, sacrifice, mental and physical toughness, and daily improvement in both practices and games," according to Coach Masters. The team enjoyed a large group of players, now up to over 45, and they were much more competitive in every game, despite some lopsided scores. They had two big wins and were leading into the fourth quarter in two others. The entire Trailblazers community is anxious for the 2014 season to begin to see how far the program will go this year.
For 2014, Tolton Catholic is looking for progress. There are nine returning starters on offense and six on defense and a number of these athletes earned postseason honors after last year. "We identified the things we need to improve on, and are working diligently to accomplish those goals," stated Coach Masters. "We have built our program to be about continued growth and development... that focus on improving each player individually and as a team." They will be relying on the seniors who have been with the program since its beginning and are hungry to leave their mark on the school and a large group of talented juniors to help lead the way.
The Trailblazers are certainly primed for a big season offensively, given the experience they return. Senior quarterback Christian Elliot (6-1, 205) was named to several post-season teams including All-District after compiling well over 1,000 yards both on the ground and through the air; he also scored 13 rushing touchdowns. Most of his line also returns and all are juniors with three good years of experience playing in the system. Coach Masters stated, "This unit will be the backbone of our offense, and have spent the past year getting stronger, and tougher, in the weight room in preparation for the upcoming season." Guard Patrick Flesch (6-0, 270) also earned All-District honors. Tyler Frosechner (6-1, 240) will line up at the other guard spot. Tackles this season will be Andrew Long (6-3, 220) and Alex Hockman (6-0, 220). Manning the center will be junior Brian Bietsch (5-10, 215).
The offense scored only 18 points on average, but they were able to make some big plays. "We are focusing on reducing turnovers that hurt us in the 2013 season, as well as becoming more efficient on all plays from the line of scrimmage," said Coach Masters. The Trailblazers are hoping for more balance in their offense this season as well. The tight ends are big and strong players and will include juniors Cole Buchanan (6-2, 200) and Alex Long (6-3, 210). The receiving corps is full of great catchers who are also good at route running. Seniors Ryan Chappell (6-0, 170), Jacob Gibson (6-0, 170), and Jon Steinmetz (5-8, 140) combined for 20 receptions and almost 600 yards. Steinmetz also ran the ball 33 times and 100 yards. Junior Will Tindal (6-0, 195) will handle the rushing duties adding toughness and physicality to the running game with fellow junior JT Canzoneri (5-10, 160) providing a change-up as well.
On defense the backfield looks to be the strength for the Trailblazers. The secondary is made up of junior Matt Sexton (5-10, 150) with 47 tackles and an interception, sophomore Carson McCarty (5-11, 160), who had 37 tackles, three interceptions and two defensive TDs, senior Caleb Lucero (6-1, 170), with 58 tackles was named to the Academic All-State team. Also in the backfield is Ryan Chappell, Jacob Gibson, and Christian Elliott, as well as freshman Matt Gibson (5-9, 150). Many have shown great improvement in coverage skills over the off-season workouts.
The linebackers are led by junior Will Tindal (6-0, 185), who had 90 total tackles, including five tackles for loss, two pass break ups, and one tackle for loss. He too earned All-District honors. The others are junior Tyler Alabach (5-10, 170) with 67 tackles, eight for loss, and an INT, Dylan Freese, Brian Bietsch and JT Canzoneri. Coach added, "Our linebacking corps shows very good run stopping ability, strength, toughness, athleticism, and their ability to cover receivers/backs makes them very versatile."
The defensive line will be led by junior Andrew Long (6-3, 220), who earned All- District honors after 40 tackles, three sacks, and four TFLs. He will be joined by Alex Long, Spencer Hockman, Tyler Frosechner and freshman Colton Reddick.
Coach Masters added, "Our team will play hard against anyone, for every play of every game that we are in." He and his staff are confident in the ability of their players and their improvement for the upcoming season. He summarized, "Toughness and competiveness will carry us through our 2014 season, and our team will be a team that will not be an easy game for anyone. We have motivated athletes, who are coachable, who work every moment to improve, and they will be successful." Tolton Catholic may not be ready for a big run into the playoffs, but they have been making big improvements every season. No one should be surprised though if they not only have a winning record but actually do make a little noise at the end of this season.
Pigskin's Pick: 5-4