New and improved

Sept 1-7. 2005
VOL 124 NO. 29
New and improved
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Seton Catholic Saints look at speed to help offense

Last season, the Seton Catholic Saints boasted considerable experience and talent, but came away from the season with a somewhat disappointing 4-5 record overall.

With just five seniors returning to the varsity squad, coach Ryan McManus is hopeful that a manageable early season schedule that includes games against smaller schools will give the Saints confidence going into a rigorous Section IV Class C field that includes traditional stalwarts Sidney, Unatego and Delhi.

Because the team lacks a sizeable front line, McManus hopes his team’s quickness will compensate for it and improve offensive production. He also hopes success at the developmental level will translate at the varsity level.

“We’re not that big up front, but I do think that we have a lot of speed. Our JV’s were very successful,” he said. “I think that with their intensity, confidence and speed that we should be able to turn the corner on some teams offensively and put more points on the board than we did last year.”

With numerous experienced players last season, the coach installed an array new wrinkles in the offense with mixed results.

“I think on my part last year, the kids did get a little confused because we were really experienced and we did try to add things on,” he said. “I think that took away from our base power package that we’ve been successful with in the past.”

This season, McManus has stripped the offense down and, while the Saints will pass from time to time, look for heavy doses of Jeremy Sedelmeyer plunging off tackle.

“Jeremy Sedelmeyer will take most of the load. He’s a senior and he split most of his time last year,” McManus said. “He got roughly 600 yards with 40 percent of the carries so we’re looking to him to take most of the load and be a big help for us.”

Despite boasting one of the stingier defenses in Section IV last year, the Saints struggled to hold onto the ball. Sustaining possession was a key point in offseason activities and McManus believes his team will do a better job at that this season.

“We struggled offensively last year. Our defense finished sixth overall in Section IV in points allowed defensively,” he said. “We had a tough time holding on to the football last year especially in the red zone and something we really concentrated on in camp this year is ball security and holding on to the football. Our quarterback’s making better decisions as far as throwing the football.”

Junior Evan Tripicco was penciled in as the starter under center, but McManus noted that his classmate Luke Daly was impressive enough to challenge for the position.

In order to establish the power running game, the coaching staff moved guards Nick DePofi and David Rossmen into the backfield in the Saints’ Power-I formation.

“We’re just concentrating on getting those four or five yards per carry and keeping the ball moving,” McManus said.

Senior Matt Fahs will likely get the nod at center and the Saints will rotate in three different guards in Lee Rogers, Brian Shatera and Kevin Eichoff.

Mike Klepfer and Eichoff will man the tackle positions and Chris Furner and Vinnie Pettiaiato will complement them in Seton’s standard two-tight end sets. Shane O’Neil will also rotate in at end for Pettiaiato, particularly when the Saints split their ends out. “He’ll catch most of the balls,” McManus said regarding O’Neil.

Seton will alter its defensive looks considerably with the majority of its players playing both ways. In the preseason, Furner and Eichoff along with Colin Ballard were working out at the defensive end positions, while Pfaz and Clepford were on the interior.

Among the team’s few returning players are linebackers Rossmen and Nick Depofi. Even Ekstrom and Nate Wood were expected to play outside linebacker. Sedelmeyer, Daly and Tripicco were working out of the defensive backfield.

McManus hopes his football program can build off the considerable achievements of the school’s other programs. Seton boys and girls soccer as well as Seton boys and girls basketball have enjoyed considerable success competing against the larger schools in Section IV.

“There’s no reason why these kids can’t see that it can be done with the size of school that we have and where we compete,” McManus said.

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