Enjoy pictures from the Fall Pep Rally and a preview of MSJ Homecoming 2016!
Homecoming is always a busy day at The Mount. The soccer and football games bring a large crowd of students dressed in the theme and covered in face paint. This year there is even a post-soccer, pre-football tailgate, hopefully attracting an even larger crowd. However, no one comes for the food, or just for the purpose of playing dress up and painting your face. Students come to support for their fellow Mount classmates and to show their competitive spirit as our teams face their opponent. This year Soccer (11-2-2) will take on Eastern Tech (7-2). Football (6-1) is facing Calvert Hall (5-3) in a pivotal MIAA match.
A very big story this year at MSJ has been the soccer team, which is currently ranked by Max Preps at 2nd in the State and 138th in the Country. The team was previously ranked 18th in the country, but suffered a tough loss to Archbishop Curley, followed by a closely fought tie which ended at 1-1 to Gilman, this past Wednesday. I spoke with one of the team’s captains, Kenny Crist, about this and he said “we as a team need to look at those games and learn from our mistakes.” He also mentioned that he thinks those games will help fuel the team throughout the rest of the season. One question that came to my mind when looking at the team’s schedule this week was the fact that they are playing 4 pm game this Friday and then coming home the next morning and playing a game. Does the team have the endurance and energy to do that? Well Crist assured me that playing in front of a crowd, which the team doesn’t get to do very often, “will fire us (the team) up” and he says that the team has “a deep bench and that means plenty of substitutes. I don’t think energy will be an issue because everyone gets pumped for Hoco (homecoming) no matter who we are playing.” As a spectator I go to homecoming expecting an exciting game, and this year’s Homecoming soccer game should prove to be an exciting match with the Gaels trying to right themselves heading into the home stretch of the season.
The Homecoming Football game is always just as exciting as the soccer game. In the recent years the Gaels haven’t seen their best performances. They are 2-4 since 2010 on homecoming. However, now in his second year as Varsity Head Coach, Rich Holzer doesn’t plan on that happening. The Gaels have only seen one winning record in five years before Coach Holzer arrived, bringing his new and fresh offense with him. His west-coast-style offense has been just the thing St. Joe needed. Christian Carter, the starting quarterback at MSJ, is third in the state in total yards, with 1857 yards this season. This is Carter’s first year being the pilot of the MSJ offense, but that is no challenge to him. Last season, Carter watched Bryan Costabile, who finished his 2015 campaign with 3249 total yards. Carter may be new to the starting roll on Varsity, but he did lead the JV Gaels in 2014 to an undefeated season and JV MIAA Championship.
Carter is also surrounded by an array of targets and strong running game. Junior Gary Agurs Jr leads the MIAA with 447 yards receiving and Senior Ari Weems is right behind him at 415 yards. In fact, the Gaels hold the top 4 spots in receiving in the MIAA. The other two spots are held by Junior Matt McDonald who has 413 yards and Junior Keshawn Hailey who has 351 yards. Junior Sam James is second in the league in rushing with 642 yards averaging 6.2 yards per carry. All around the MSJ offense is capable of completely dominating. If you stop the pass, the team will run and if you stop the run, they will pass. All this is a testament to the new offense brought by Coach Rich Holzer and his staff. However, it isn’t just about the offense. The defense is also extremely impressive.
The team has allowed only 78 points all season, averaging 11 points per game. The team has posted three shutouts and can hopefully produce another this Homecoming weekend. I got a chance to talk with Junior linebacker Ryan Gorman about this weekend. I asked him if this game means more to the team because it is Homecoming and Ryan’s responded by saying, “every game from now on is as important as the other. We need to be 1-0 at the end of the week.” This philosophy has been a point of emphasis for Coach Holzer this season. I also asked Ryan what the players were looking forward to, and he told me “We’re really looking forward to Saturday. Anytime we get to compete and get better we love it, especially on Homecoming.” He then later added that, “we have to come out and play to our full potential and start off strong.” Calvert Hall, however, is no push over, having put up tough performances in two of their three losses. The team only lost to Riverdale Baptist by one point and by two scores against a very good St. Francis team.
After speaking with players from both teams, I’m very excited for this week’s Homecoming games. Please come out and support both teams Saturday. The Soccer game is at 11 am and Football is at 2 pm. Also feel free to go to the Homecoming Tailgate which is 5$ for admission and 15$ for food. Saturday’s theme is Jersey, so wear any jersey you have and come support your Gaels.
All photos taken by Quill staff members Joe Carrigan and Nick Viennas.