September 16, 2019

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CATHOLIC HIGH PRESEASON PREVIEW

Catholic High School will be celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, a huge milestone for the school. It will also be the 200th anniversary of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, forming in France. According to Coach Fertitta “everything that they do and expect permeates our program.” So two very big anniversaries for the school and the Catholic High community in general.

Catholic has been blessed to have what seems like a revolving door of running backs come through and make it to the next level. Names like Derrius Guice, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. This year will be no different as the Bears look to have another impressive backfield. “We had Khalil Thomas, and Derrius Guice, we had Derrius (Guice) and Clyde (Edwards-Helaire). We’ve had really good tandems, Kevin Franklin and Warrick Dunn, were a pretty darn good tandem. I think when you factor in just how deep this running back group is, and how many really great talented players we have. I think it’s right up there with some of the best backfields we’ve ever had.”

Returning senior running back Joshua Parker had a great junior campaign amassing over 1200 yards and 16 touchdowns. He says he is looking to build on that this season and eclipse the 1600 yard mark and 20 touchdowns. Another senior, running back Braelan Morgan will be a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators, as he seemed to score at will from all over the field last season. Lining up in the backfield, in the slot, and returning punts for the Bears. “He might look small, but you could never tell him that. The way he runs the ball, you’d think he was 200 pounds.” says Fertitta. Seniors Jake Outlaw, and L.C. Benjamin will also see time in the backfield add to that junior George Hart, a 200lb tailback, “that can really do some things back there. That’s five tailbacks that anybody would be lucky to have as their starter.”

The offensive line will have three returning starters from last season. Joseph Alexander, who will make the jump out to tackle this season, he has played guard for Catholic the past two seasons. Thomas Beale, who comes in at 280lbs and just about 6ft. “He’s really a good size for a high school offensive lineman.” says Coach Fertitta. Finally, Brian Hibbard, who has been a four year starter for the Bears at center. “Some of the other guys might get more publicity because of their height and their size and their scholarship offers, that guy right there is the All- Star of our offense. He does such a great job there in the middle, and we’re excited about those guys returning.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears have returning Senior Connor Finucane to anchor the defensive front. A very cerebral player that has also wrestled for the Bears. “He’s wrestled for our program here at Catholic and been a really good heavyweight, and is in phenomenal shape. He is going to be an every down guy for us on the D-line, he is also going to pull double duty on the O-line for us. He doesn’t say a lot when he’s off the field, it’s very short answers, he’s very thoughtful, but he doesn’t say a whole lot. But he does say a lot with the way he works, his work ethic, his leadership. He’s just a really competitive kid. This is my 13th year coaching, and I don’t know if I’ve ever coached someone with the combination of competitiveness, and athleticism, and size. I’ve certainly had guys that have had varying combinations, but this is the first that I’ve had where the guy had those just about maxed out to capacity.

The Bears look like they have reloaded from last year’s team. A team that finished with a run to New Orleans and playing for a State title. I asked Coach Fertitta his thoughts on another run to the Dome, this season, with this team and his response was “it’s a little bit coach speak, but it’s also how we live our life here at Catholic every day, which is; we really don’t get into looking that much forward, we have a scrimmage today, an inter-squad scrimmage, and that’s really all our kids and coaches focus on. So much so that, there are certain words that are forbidden in our program, and that big stadium in New Orleans is one of them. We don’t even talk about it, and if we get there it’s because of the process we went through to get there. Getting there is a result, and we really don’t focus on the result so much as we do on what it takes to get there. If you do that and you don’t get there, then you can sleep at night, with the effort you gave. Sometimes, if the process isn’t there, but you still get the results, that’s a bitter taste because you know you didn’t really deserve it. We just try to take it each day at a time, and just let the chips fall where they may.”