St. Michael takes mix of change, stability into 2019 season
The one constant when talking about the St. Michael the Archangel Football team is change.
However, for the first time in three seasons they return a head coach for another campaign. Joey Sanchez is in his second season at the helmd and his third at the school.
When Sanchez became head coach, he adopted the slogan “Raise the Standard.” For the 2019 season, the slogan for the Warriors is now “Expect Success.”
With that slogan in mind, he does have the architect of his Flex-Bone offense, James Cupit, returning for his second season as coordinator, while Josh Galasso returns as the linebackers coach.
There is change that comes in the form of other Warriors coaching staff changes. Caleb Leindecker comes over as the defensive coordinator,and defensive backs coach. Bren Canaday is now the defensive line coach, Keegan Keller will be working with the receivers, Luke Brennan will school the defensive backs, and new St. Michael head baseball coach David Gomez will assist Sanchez coaching the offensive backfield. Cupit will also add the offensive line to his coaching duties.
The obvious top challenge when asking about the new makeup of District 6-4A is dealing with an old returning foe.
“Of course, Plaquemine is the team to beat for the district title,” said Sanchez. “They lost a lot of guys to graduation, but they always just seem to reload,” S
Other teams in 6-4A are facing different sets of challenges.
“Broadmoor has a new coach in Cyril Crutchfield, and they always have athleticism on their team, while the guys over at Istrouma played a JV schedule last season, went undefeated and have a lot of talented guys on their team.”
Tara and Belaire are the other teams in 6-4A, where the Warriors hope to challenge at the top this season.
The biggest challenge for St. Michael is replacing quarterback Cole Garafola, who will be throwing the javelin for Southeastern Louisiana University going forward after graduating high school. Fullback Chris Sehring also graduated and moved on to play football at Delta State University.
Senior Nick Brister was in a battle for the quarterback job with sophomore Nick Johnson, but that job has since been given to the chief backup for the last two season in Brister. The fullback, which is the main offensive workhorse in the Flex-Bone, has Connor Badeaux returning with experience, but he is also the anchor to the defensive backfield. With that in mind, Sanchez will lean on sophomore Colin Beasley getting the majority of the snaps there.
The Ty back positions will be manned by sophomore Phillip Hines and junior Codi Williams, with senior LeAndre Dixon and junior Cade Butler as the starting wide receivers.
The offensive line is young but returning four starters from last season. The group will be anchored by senior center Jacob McCann, with junior Patrick Tate and sophomore Zac Donohue at the guard spots. The tackles will be returning starter sophomore Alexander Henderson and a new starter, sophomore Gavin Hebert.
The defense under new coordinator Leindecker will change to a three-man front, and a more attacking style is planned as opposed the read and react scheme of last season.
The line will be manned by seniors Luke Wilson and Demond Garner along with junior Mark Albano. The linebackers will be senior Daniel Robin with juniors Eric Thibodeaux and Garrett Mumphrey as well as sophomore Phillip Hines, The defensive backfield will have junior Codi Williams and sophomore Drake Mason as the cornerbacks, while senior Connor Badeaux and sophomore Nick Johnson at the safety positions.
The placekicker is Ethan Hames, with Badeaux handling the punting duties.
There is also a change in how to listen to St. Michael Warriors games this, plus a new video element for at least two games this season. In addition to the Warrior Broadcast Network coverage on the JM Sports Network, all games including the Jamboree and playoff games will be carried by Guaranty Media’s Talk 107.3 WBRP and the Talk 107.3 app. At least two St. Michael games this season will be televised by the NFHS Network. Hunter McCann, St. Michael class of 2018, will be entering his second season as the color analyst, while I will be going into my fifth season as the play-by-play “Voice of the Warriors.”
The schedule begins with a scrimmage at St. Thomas Aquinas on August 22, followed by the Jamboree game on August 30 at Parkview Baptist.
The regular season begins at Episcopal on September 6. Two straight home games against Albany and Brusly follow the opener. In Week 4, it’s back on the road to face Jewel Sumner. Next comes the Homecoming Game against Archbishop Hannan to close out the non-district part of the schedule.
The District 6-4A schedule sends the Warriors on four consecutive road games at Plaquemine, Broadmoor, Tara and Istrouma. The regular season ends at home against Belaire.
In order to “Expect Success,” it needs to start from the top and demands experience. The Warriors may have their best mix of the two that they have had in years. The hope is that winning results follow.
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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…