St. Michael looks to #RaiseTheStandard in 2018
Putting three words together in a hashtag may not mean much to the average person, but these days at St. Michael the Archangel High School and the Warriors football team, #RaiseTheStandard has a important meaning and purpose.
For new Warriors head coach Joey Sanchez, it has become a rallying cry which represents a new beginning and a good starting point for this team that has three coaches in three seasons.
Even though Sanchez is in his first season as the man in charge, he has had a year’s head start in getting to know the players while serving as an assistant coach last season under former coach Justin Hutchinson.
After one season at St. Michael, Hutchinson decided to return to his coaching roots at Central High to serve as the Defensive Coordinator for Sid Edwards. When Hutchinson left, St. Michael Athletic Director Rob Smith and Principal Ellen Lee did not even have to leave their Baton Rouge campus in picking Sanchez to take over the program.
A 3-7 regular season in 2017 was followed by a lopsided loss to powerful St. Thomas More in the Division II first round. Despite just a total of 11 wins over the past three years, Sanchez has focused on demanding higher standards to produce better results.
Sanchez, who has previous head coaching experience at Central Private for three seasons before moving to St. Michael, hit the ground running as he was able to hold onto a couple of key assistant coaches before rounding out his staff.
However, the losses of both volunteer assistant coaches set the program back just a bit. Chance Hester earned his teaching certificate and accepted a post at St. John (Plaquemine), and the late Todd Fruge’ lost a courageous three-year battle with colon cancer.
“Todd and Chance gave their hearts and souls to this team and were well loved, and will not just wave a magic wand to replace what they gave to us,” said Sanchez.
Last season, two key injuries on offense limited St. Michael’s ability to compete consistently. Starting quarterback Cole Garafola went down early in the season and running back Lance Robinson was lost at the mid-way mark. Robinson covered in time to win an individual State Championship in wrestling and for his senior year has decided to put all of his athletic efforts into that sport.
As for Garafola, the senior will be back in the saddle as the team’s signal caller.
“Cole has come back 100% and has looked great this summer and will be back as our starting QB, and that junior Nick Brister is ready just in case,” Sanchez explained.
The rest of the offense, built around the double slot option as a new scheme, will line up with senior Chris Sehring as the fullback along with seniors Jaren Reimonenq and Mark Cook as the wing backs. The split ends will be senior Zack Josephson and sophomore Codi Williams. The tight ends will consist of junior Luke Wilson, a two-way player who is also a starting defensive end, and sophomore Mark Albano in a two tight end set.
The offensive line will consist of junior Jacob McCann at center along with four seniors. C.J. Casma and Payton LeBlanc man the guard spots while Jacob Finley and Chandler Courreges are the tackles.
Defensively, the 4-4-3 setup for the Warriors will consist of the aforementioned Wilson plus Chris Sehring at end as well as C.J. Casma and Sebastian Morales at at the tackle spots up front.
Senior Taylor Marcello is joined by juniors Connor Badeaux and Daniel Robin along with sophomore Garrett Mumphrey as the quartet of linebackers.
The secondary consists of senior cornerback Christian Redden with two more double-duty talents from the offense, the cornerback Williams and safety Reimonenq.
The placekicker is sophomore Ethan Hamer while the punter is defensive end Sebastian Morales. The long snapper is Luke Wilson.
The St. Michael schedule consists of a scrimmage on August 16 at Albany, then a change of pace as the Warriors will travel to Catholic-Pointe Coupee on August 24 for their jamboree.
The regular season starts for St. Michael against Episcopal on August 31 at Memorial followed by a September 7 contest with KIPP Rennaisance at Olympia.
A three-game road stretch started Sept. 14 at Dunham followed by treks to Lakeview and Archbishop Hannan the next two weels.
The District 6-4A schedule opener comes October 5 versus Woodlawn at Memorial before a trip to Lutcher the following week. Plaquemine visits at Olympia on Thursday, October 18. Next, Parkview Baptist hosts the Warriors on the 26th. The regular season slate closes out on November 2 against Tara at Olympia.
The #RaiseTheStandard slogan bears a true meaning for this edition of the St. Michael Warriors.
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Johnny Marchese is a lifelong resident of Southeast Louisiana, born in New Orleans and raised in Terrytown. Johnny is a 1981 graduate of West Jefferson High School, then after a one year volunteer stint at WWOZ 90.7 FM in New Orleans. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served as a field radio operator. Upon returning from a…