Nai'Ryan Bookert

St. John’s Christian quarterback Nai’Ryan Bookert is a returning starter for the Cavaliers.

The St. John’s Christian football team hit the practice field for the first time in the evening on Thursday, Aug. 1, with a long road ahead for the season opener on Aug. 30 against Wardlaw.

The vibes were positive, and not just because the curtains have come up on a new campaign. The Cavs are stronger and bring back a solid cast. They were 7-3 a year ago and made the playoffs.

Could this fall be special?

“I’m getting a great read off the team,” St. John’s Christian coach John McCall said. “Summer workouts have been awesome this year, probably the best since I’ve been there. Their attendance at workouts and work ethic has been what you want. A lot of them made great strength gains.”

The Cavs had to reach a certain number of workouts during the summer and they were focused on hitting the weights.

At press time, the only preseason scrimmage on the slate was Aug. 23 against Cathedral. McCall had plans to pick up one or two more, though.

The Cavs finished 4-1 against conference foes in 2018.

McCall believes he’ll have a roster of 20 players, the most the Cavs have had in his six seasons. Staying healthy is important as usual.

“About 15 of those have varsity letters,” he said.

Among the group returning is quarterback Nai’Ryan Bookert, RB/LB Fletcher Law, WR/DB Corey Moraux, RB Bryce Taylor and lineman Logan Robinson, in his fifth year. Rochard Tingue is moving from a guard to a spot at tight end.

A key newcomer is FB/LB Bryce Ellison.

“Our kids have set high goals for themselves,” McCall said. “They’re excited. We’ve got a group that enjoys playing ball. They’re hoping to accomplish big things this year.”

McCall is assisted by Rick Smith, Tyler Orvin and Brandon Clontz.