In myriad ways, the Bishop Fenwick football team is hoping that this is the year they’ve been building for.
The Crusaders return a boatload of starters, some of whom have been starting for two seasons and are still underclassmen.
Having gone 3-8 in both 2010 and 2011, Fenwick took some lumps when these players were young. Now, they’re grown up and ready for some payback.
“These guys are playing like veterans,” said Crusaders’ head coach Dave Woods, beginning his 15th season. “We have 25 guys that will see time on the varsity field, either on offense or defense. This is as deep as we’ve been.”
The Crusaders, who are going with a spread look on offense full time, have a potential breakout player in senior captain Fran Hannon at quarterback. Last year, Hannon took over in the second half and accounted for nearly 1,300 yards of total offense (605 rushing, 789 passing).
“Fran is a great leader. He’s president of the senior class and has a lot of intangibles,” Woods said. “He could be a diamond in the rough, for sure.”
Hannon has a reliable running back in sophomore Rufus Rushins, who ran for 1,040 yards and 11 TDs as a freshman. Rushins has quickness, power and size, evidenced by the fact that the Crusaders will deploy him at nose guard at times on defense.
“Rufus looks great,” Woods said. “He’s definitely even bigger and stronger than he was last year and has a great work ethic.”
Fenwick has four of their five starters back on the offensive line in captain John Coviello, Frank Tambini, Brandon Deberardinis and Charlie St. Pierre. Dave Gleason will also be a key cog on the line.
Captain Nick Bona, a junior who was also captain as a sophomore, leads the receiving corps along with Charlie Maistrellis. The Crusaders are very deep at the position; expect catches from Matt Renzulli and Eric Razney, as well.