By Justin Jarrett | LowcoSports@gmail.com
When John Paul II Catholic School moved up from 8-man football a year ago, putting 11 players on the field was only half the challenge – the Golden Warriors couldn’t put 11 on the other side of the ball in practice.
Being able to do so this preseason is reason alone to believe JP2’s losing streak won’t last long in its second season at the 11-man level.
The fledgling school has bolstered its roster and enters year two under coach Kevin Wald ready to not only break into the win column after last year’s 0-10 campaign, but compete for a playoff spot in SCISA Region 2-1A.
The Golden Warriors lost top receiver Karl Johnson to graduation, and leading rusher Rashad Battiste suffered a torn ACL during basketball season, but almost everyone else is back. JP2 also gained transfer Zach Doe – a 1,000-yard rusher at Hilton Head Christian Academy last year – and the arrival of freshman quarterback Sam Summa allows Nyleem Wright to move to receiver. JP2 also has depth along the interior line, which is a luxury not often afforded a SCISA Class 1A team.
Vast improvement is a given for the Golden Warriors, but it’s hard to say how much that will be reflected in the win-loss record for a team that was outscored 503-128 last season. Nonetheless, Wald says his team is in “win now mode,” and if the losing streak falls early in the season and the young team gains confidence, a playoff spot is a distinct possibility.
JOHN PAUL II GOLDEN WARRIORS FOOTBALL
Coach: Kevin Wald
Record at JP2: 0-10 (2nd season)
2016 record: 0-10
Returning starters: 7 offense, 8 defense
Offensive scheme: Multiple
Defensive scheme: 4-2-5
Top returners: WR/DB Nyleem Wright, RB/LB Josh Horton, WR/DB Elijay Moreno, WR/DB Adrian Skipper, RB/LB Jonathan Field, OL/DL Mark Tigges
Breakout candidates: RB/DB Zach Doe
Outlook: Beating at least one Lowcountry rival and making the postseason would be a big step forward for the young program. The season-opener against Hilton Head Christian Academy will be a great measuring stick for the Golden Warriors, and the week 3 trip to Palmetto Christian will be the pivotal matchup for JP2’s playoff hopes.
|8/18||vs. Hilton Head Christian||7:30 p.m.|
|8/25||at St. Andrews||7:30 p.m.|
|9/1||at Palmetto Christian*||7:30 p.m.|
|9/8||vs. Hilton Head Prep||7:30 p.m.|
|9/14||vs. Dorchester Academy*||7:30 p.m.|
|9/22||at Thomas Heyward*||7:30 p.m.|
|9/29||vs. Carolina Academy||7:30 p.m.|
|10/6||at Myrtle Beach Christian Academy||7:30 p.m.|
|10/13||at The King’s Academy||7:30 p.m.|
|10/20||vs. Colleton Prep*||7:30 p.m.|