Lancers embrace new look & new opportunities

Football team opens against BCC

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Danny Santarelli, Sports Reporter

Although this offseason has been one like no other, the Lancers are hungry, determined and excited for the start of the new season, and it is one they will never forget. 

Due to COVID-19, the SJCA football team made multiple changes in their offseason and season programs. One of them being their offseason lifting program. The offseason lifts were pushed back to early July, masks were required and groups of no more 10 were permitted during 45-minute sessions. “I think this was good for us,”  said senior receiver and captain Jack Davidson. “It really brought us together, we came in there ready to work every day and maximized our short time in the weight room.”

In compliance with the WIAA, the Lancers started practice September 7. With all that time off, the Lancers hope to build off this longer off season. They intend to use it as motivation and an opportunity to better themselves physically and mentally in hopes of making a deep run in the playoffs this season.

“Best is always the standard,” said Head Football Coach Matt Rizzo. “I am really proud of our guys and staff for buying into this off-season despite all of the setbacks. Coming ready to work every day is what we expect and our guys have been doing that. I can’t wait to see what we can do; we have a special group surrounded by great leadership, and everyone is on the same page.”

One of the upsides of the Covid craziness comes in the form of brand new Nike Football uniforms. Bringing a little more swag onto the field to go along with their play is just what they were looking for. “The uniforms are so clean,” said junior quarterback Jacob Ashmus. “I can’t wait to wear them on game days, just hope we can show them off to fans.” 

Ashmus is looking to build off a stellar sophomore campaign. As a first year starter, Ashmus went 64-105 passing and threw for 727 yards and 9 touchdowns. He also rushed for 167 yards on 54 carries for 5 touchdowns, earning an honorable mention in the Metro Classic Conference and an All-County selection. There is no doubt Ashmus will be on college radars this season.

This season the Lancers will be featured in a new conference for football only. The move to the Midwest Classic was made due to the size of the school, making the competition more balanced throughout the regular season. 

The Lancers have seven regular season conference games on their schedule, and will be looking to win a lot of them in quest of a playoff berth. They were left with a sour taste in their mouth last season, missing the playoffs by one win (5-4 overall), one of those a heartbreaking loss to Burlington Catholic Central at home in OT on a last second score, 21-14. 

Ironically, the Lancers open the season against BCC, in search of revenge. “We are all jacked,” said senior receiver Max McCarville. “We should not have lost that game last year, that kept us out of the playoffs, we are a different team with a different mentality now and we are putting up 80 on them.” McCarville, Ashmus’s primary target on offense, received interest from Drake University, Ripon College and Elmhurst University this off season, and is looking to make a name for himself. 

SJCA seniors are looking forward to a great 2020 football season.
Captains Jack Davidson, Max McCarville, Jacob Ashmus and Danny Santarelli look to lead the Lancers.