Preseason top 10: St. Mary's holds top spot; Muskegon No. 2Football  |
Orchard Lake – Many thought Orchard Lake St. Mary’s was a year away from winning a state championship last season. The Eaglets were a young team with an unproven quarterback but they progressed game by game eventually reaching the Division 3 final before methodically defeating Muskegon 7-0.
St. Mary’s allowed just 28 points in the four playoff games leading up to the final and against Muskegon this unit again proved to be stingy. The Eaglets allowed Muskegon 168 yards and eight first downs. The offense gained 164 yards and 10 first downs. Clearly the defense carried the load.
Senior quarterback Brendan Tabone is one of five starters returning on offense and he said the offense is quickly catching up.
“We’re all eager to get back,” Tabone said. “We want to win another title.
“Last year gave me a lot of experience. Playing at Ford Field makes me more confident, confidence knowing a can do well.
”Our offense is more comfortable this season. We’re more flexible. (The defense) was the backbone of our team. The offense has caught up.”
In addition to the returning starters, coach George Porritt has a few other players who had significant playing time. He said he has solid depth at nearly every position. Of the 56 varsity players 25 are seniors, 29 are juniors and there are two sophomores.
St. Mary’s, which plays in the highly competitive Catholic League Central Division, has been selected as State Champs’ No. 1 team in the preseason.
St. Mary’s, 12-2 last season, will open the season Aug. 29 against defending Division 7 champion Detroit Loyola as part of the Prep Football Classic at Wayne State University at 11 a.m.
St. Mary’s is predominantly a running team but with a senior quarterback who possesses an accurate arm the Eaglets could open up their playbook.
Tabone’s favorite receiver will likely be Kahlee Hamler (5-10, 165), a junior who is equally adept at playing defensive