Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Starting over is hard.
But new St. John’s football coach Matt Gilbert had no idea it would be this hard.
In 2012 the Cavaliers reached the pinnacle of SCISA 8-Man Football by winning the Lower State Championship and earning a shot at the state title.
Nine months later it’s time to pick up the pieces with a new lineup and a new football coach in Gilbert. Longtime coach Bill McCall resigned on June 1.
Several key pieces of the Cavaliers starting eight graduated. To compound the loss suffered by the 17-man roster, All-State running back Rashae Bey transferred to Lawrence Manning, and returning wide receivers Jalen Ward and Damian Hurta have decided to focus on basketball and are not playing. .
“We’re prepared to move forward with what we have,” Gilbert said.
While Gilbert’s 2013 edition of Cavaliers football might not look as bad as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, it’s close.
Such is life for small schools like St. John’s.
“We have 17 kids on our roster so far and almost half of them have never played football before,” Gilbert said as pre-season practice began last week. “We’re doing player evaluations right now to see who can play where. We have a lot of holes to fill but these kids are picking up the basics quickly.”
For the first time in half-a-dozen years the Cavs won’t have a quarterback named Hammond lining up under center.
“There’s going to be a rebuilding process here, but these are smart kids,” Gilbert said. “They get it. They are easy to teach and they learn quickly.”
While matching an historic 14-2 season in 2013 will be a long shot, Gilbert knows his team has to start somewhere. “It can only get better from here,” he said.
The Cavaliers play their first three games on the road before returning for their home opener on Sept. 20 against First Baptist.
The 2013 St. John’s Cavaliers are Logan Brown, John Fondren, Walter Edwards, Dustin Parsons, Marcus Johnson, Colin Murchison, Reece Myers, Hunter Singletary, Luke Hutto, Byron Rodgers, Cody Dunlap, Austin Murchison Jantsen Robertson and Harun Scott.