Country Day squad looks for young squad to mature quickly
The bar is always set high at Country Day.
The Cajuns have been a consistent program for many years now with winning seasons as the norm.
The 2022 season was a slight deviation from that norm, with Country Day posting a 6-6 record, including a playoff win over Green Oaks before falling to powerful University High in the Select Division III playoffs. It was the first year with Chris Chetta at the helm of the program.
For the Cajuns to improve in 2023, a young team with have to grow quickly against a very challenging schedule.
“Our numbers are up a little this year,” Chetta said. “We’ve got some young kids now and we’re excited about that. “Hopefully, we can get to the place of not playing everyone both ways.”
Country Day returns nine starters, just four on offense.
Senior quarterback Sinnot Bland started last season at quarterback before getting hurt. He played in three games, gaining valuable experience. Bland completed 9 of 18 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
“Bland was the starter going into the season and played the first couple of weeks and got hurt and missed the rest of the season,” Chetta said. “It is his senior year. He has been the hardest worker in the weight room. He’s become more of a vocal leader and he is a solid baseball player.”
The running back position is manned by a good athlete in junior Brent Schwing (5-9, 155), who has excellent speed and is the brother of Jack Schwing, now at USM.
“Brent is a very good athlete,” Chetta said. “We have a couple of others including senior Owen Marchal (5-11, 176), another baseball player. Schwing will play both ways.
At wide receiver, senior Mason Snyder (5-11, 150) returns to anchor the spot. He is joined by seniors William Singer (5-9, 137) and Brock Masson (5-10, 150).
“Snyder is a two-year starter,” Chetta said. “He has vast experience and is a track star for us. We want to get him the ball in space. This should be his year.”
Junior McAllister Callejo (6-1, 180) was the primary starter at quarterback a year ago and he moves to play wide receiver and tight end this season.
“McAllister will play on both sides of the ball,” Chetta said. “He will really help us on defense. He has good hands.”
Up front, the player to watch is senior Hagan Mimeles (6-3, 262), a returning starter on both the offensive and defensive line. He is joined by a pair of seniors in Casey Rizzi (6-0, 216) and Zach Spangler (6-0, 199), along with juniors Brody Cummings (6-4, 220) and Henry Thompson (6-3, 273).
“Mimeles returns and he has put on a lot of weight since last season,” Chetta said. “I like our size up front on offense. It’s the biggest line we’ve had in a while. Rizzi is our most athletic guy. He played some last year.”
The defense features a host of two-way players, including Mimeles, Rizzi, Cummings and Thompson up front with Callejo at linebacker and Schwing, Snyder and Masson in the secondary. The other starters on defense include Marchal at linebacker and sophomore Hudson Wright (6-0, 135) in the secondary.
“Wright is the only player who does not start on offense for us on our defense,” Chetta said. “He is also our backup quarterback.”
Sophomore George Blessey (5-9, 112) will handle kicking duties.
The schedule is tough, opening at home against Northlake Christian before a trip to Ellender. After hosting Episcopal, the Cajuns travel to Amite and Riverside Academy. The non-district slate finishes with Douglass and The Willow School.
“I love our non-district schedule,” Chetta said. “It prepares us for our district, which is very tough. Northlake has a big running back and good skill. Ellender has talent all over. Episcopal, Amite and Riverside are a gauntlet for us. We have to avoid injuries. Douglass has a lot back. Willow School is a worthy opponent.”
District 10-2A will be tough, starting with Newman at home before a trip to St. Charles Catholic. The regular season concludes with M.L. King Charter.
“St. Charles is the dominant team in the class and Newman is big and tough,” Chetta said. “M.L. King gets better every year. It is a very tough league.”
It will be very important for Country Day to get off to a good start with a very challenging schedule from week three on.
“I see a team that is buying in, finally looking at seniors who are leading the team which is great to have as a coaching staff,” Chetta said. “The goal is always to get to the Superdome. We have to avoid injuries with a lack of depth. I am really looking forward to the challenge.”
Click here for more CCS Prep Football team previews (including archives of past season previews).
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…