Weekly Feature



2015-09-02 / Sports

St. Joe’s looks to climb back atop MMAA

by LEVI TRIMBLE Reporter


Marauders Grant Beyers, left, and Darren Thompson both go for the same pass as St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institue and Kenmore West scrimmage at St. Joseph Athletic Field in Kenmore. St. Joe’s looks to improve on last year’s record with a solid core of returners. 
Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Marauders Grant Beyers, left, and Darren Thompson both go for the same pass as St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institue and Kenmore West scrimmage at St. Joseph Athletic Field in Kenmore. St. Joe’s looks to improve on last year’s record with a solid core of returners. Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The Marauders of St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute had a 2014 performance that underwhelmed the Rowdies and the high school’s fans.

However, a similar set of characters return in 2015 in hopes of giving Joe’s a successful, playoff bound season.

Despite losing defensive standouts Cordell Owens and Connor McKenna, the Marauders return 15 starters from both sides of the ball.

“We are going to miss our two defensive ends. They were a big part of what we did defensively. We will miss the athleticism of [quarterback] David Archer, [safety/receiver] Pete Masters and Miles Young. They were guys who logged a lot of minutes on the back end.” Said St. Joe’s coach Dennis Gilbert. “The leadership we lose from David and Cordell leave us with some big voids. But we have 15 returning starters. It’s their time now, it’s rite of passage. Every year kids graduate, kids move on and it’s time for the next class to step up.”

The biggest returner comes in the form of the offensive signal caller.

2013 was a tough year for the now-senior Mike Mc- Carthy. The quarterback’s campaign was ended when he had a broken leg that put him on the sidelines for more than a ear.

McCarthy is an All-WNY talent with great athleticism and superior decision making skills for a player on the high school level.

“Mike McCarthy is fantastic. He looks really good. He works super hard and we are excited about him,” said Gilbert. “His number one [highlight] is his leadership skills.

Those skills are very strong.

He has a very strong grasp of the offense and sports the trouble. He ability to get out of also makes really good decisions with the football.”

Although McCarthy’s skill as a leader are in the tops of Western New York, he does have the luck of having some quality skill players at his disposal, starting at running back.

Last season, Darren Thompson was a threat to take the ball to the house on every touch.

He was also a strong corner for the Marauders, usually tasked with stopping the more athletically gifted receivers.

This year, Thompson will take on those same roles as the team’s feature running back and top cornerback.

He will also have his day in the slot.

“Our top skill guy is Darren Thompson, he is a three-year starter on the varsity squad,” said Gibert. “He is very dynamic guy who makes big plays on a weekly basis.”

Along with Thompson, Ryan Conschafter will have his touches. Playing both the running back and receiver positions, Conschafter adds a strong, powerful presence on the offense.

On the defensive side, he is a bruising, take-no-plays-off linebacker. Finishing off what Gilbert calls the three-headed monster is Grant Beyer, a receiver and hard runner. He is also a hard-hitting safety who looks to fill the role that Pete Masters left to graduation.

“These guys are game changers. Every time they touch the ball they have the ability to go the distance,” said Gilbert.

No weapon can be 100 percent effective without people to open holes and protect the quarterback.

The Marauders have a pair of lineman that have Division I size and talent. Austin Greenwood, a senior who started off his football career in the Kenmore West program, will lead the offensive line. Greenwood stands at a massive 6-foot-7, 300 pounds and moves defenders out of the way with ease.

Dan Carr is the other big man. Carr stand at 6-foot-5, 305 pounds.

On the other side of the ball, the Marauders return two talented interior linemen in Julian Smallwood and Freddie Nixon.

Smallwood was particularly impressive last season, showing he is an effective rusher from any spot on the field.

At linebacker, Conschafter leads the way on the outside with Jacob Dombrowski returning in the middle.

Louis Surace Jr., who also serves as kicker, will return to his starting role as an inside linebacker.

Thompson and Chris Schaefer will return at corner.

In order for St. Joe’s to improve from their mediocre 2014 campaign, the team will have to keep its starters on the field for all nine games.

“We need to stay healthy number one and we need to execute,” said Gilbert. “All the hard work in the offseason has us ready for the season. We have a strong skill set. We are putting everything together. We are pretty excited about [the season].”

The Marauders have a tough nine-game regular season and play in the tough Monsignor Martin Athletic Association.

They will start their season off with a non-conference game against Lockport.

Other highlights will be Aquinas in week five, Monsignor Farrel of Staten Island in week two and, of course, the annual game against rivals Canisius scheduled for week six.

email: ltrimble@beenews.com

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