Donahue Football Kicks Off Saturday
Published on Friday, 17 August 2012 15:49
The Donahue Academy Shamrocks will have a new look in more ways than one when the football team takes the field against Nicaea Academy at North Park in Ave Maria Saturday evening in the season opener for both teams.
Many of the team's stalwarts in its undefeated regular season last year have graduated, so there will be several new players. And there will be more of those players on the field as well, with a change to seven players on each side from the six-man football the team played in its first three seasons.
"We are younger and rebuilding this year," said Coach Rich Scanlon. "Our focus has shifted from the luxury of playing with senior-led athletes where we can focus on scheme to focusing on fundamentals and techniques."
Coach Scanlon (left, addressing some of the players) said he'll be looking to center Peter Sheck, who has started in the team's previous three seasons, as the team's leader with receiver Matt Houde also providing continuity.
With the change from six players a side to seven, there are some major rule changes as well, with the sport becoming more akin to football with the traditional eleven players on each side of the ball. Perhaps the most significant change is the emergence of a more important role for lineman. Six-man football was particularly wide open, with every player an eligible receiver. Now, two offensive lineman will be ineligible.
Coach Scanlon hopes this will play into one of Donahue's strengths this year. "I believe we have the best offensive and defensive line since I have been here," he said.
Donahue defeated Nicaea when the teams met last season, but Coach Scanlon is expecting a tough contest Saturday. "Nicaea is traditoinally a tough, phisical running team. They like to pound the football at you and wear you out. We need to rise to the challenge defensively and get the ball into our offense's hands as quickly as possible." Right, assistant coach Don Stuller offers advice.
Coming off a spectacular season last year, when the Shamrocks were undefeated in the regular season and made it to the semi-finals of the state championships, the team needs to look forward, Coach Scanlon said. "This is an exciting time of year and our goal and team communication has not focused on last year's success, rather, we are focused on reaching peak performance individually and collectively -- playing to the best of our ability with the talent God has given us. In this way we can achieve excellence and achieving excellence has little to do with wins and losses."
The game is at 7 p.m. at North Park and all are welcome.
The full Donahue Shamrocks schedule is here, and will be updated throughout the season with game scores.