Football: Regis Jesuit capsule

Regis Jesuit


Coach: Mark Nolan, 5th season

Last year: 5-6 overall, 2-3 in 5A Continental League (lost in second round of 5A state playoffs)

Players to watch: Joe Bozeman, 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, LB, sr.; Will Deines, 6-1, 185, DB, sr.; Eddie Gonzales, 6-1, 238, DT, jr.; Terran Hasselbach, 6-2, 235, DE, sr.; Matt Houghtaling, 5-11, 175, QB, jr.; JJ Kilgore, 5-11, 185, DB, sr.; Tim Lynott, 6-4, 290, OL, jr.; Grant Neal, 5-11, 220, RB/LB, sr.; John Schmidt, WR, sr.; AJ Shaw, 6-2, 225, TE, sr.; Daniel Talley, 6-1, 185, DB, sr.; Quinn VandeKoppel, 6-1, 220, LB, sr.; Jalen Williams, 6-0, 205, RB, sr.; Trevor Williams, 6-1, 180, WR/RB, jr.

2013 Outlook: Coming off back-to-back five win seasons — following a trip to the Class 5A state championship game in 2010 — optimism abounds around the Regis Jesuit camp. Mark Nolan enters his fifth season as head coach with a group that includes a variety of players who took some lumps in varsity play as youngsters, but are ready to put that experience into practice. Nine starters or regulars return on both sides of the football for the Raiders, who won a playoff game last season against Gateway before eventual 5A state champion Valor Christian knocked them out in the second round. Regis Jesuit struggled with consistency on offense last season with Matt Houghtaling taking over the quarterback spot for the first time as just a sophomore and injuries befalling two of the team’s top running threats in just the second game of the season. Houghtaling improved as the season went along, however, and is much better equipped for this season. Running back Chukwuma Obinnah transferred to nearby Grandview, but the senior tandem of Grant Neal and Jalen Williams should keep the chains moving for the Raiders this season, especially behind a line returning a second team All-Continental League selection in junior Tim Lynott (6-foot-4, 290 pounds). Williams led the team in rushing last season, while Neal — who had to undergo knee surgery, but recovered in time to win a state championship in wrestling in the winter — runs hard and has a nose for the end zone in short yardage situations. Senior John Schmidt — a two-event placer in the sprints at the 5A state track meet in May — is a speedy weapon on the outside who is continuing to learn the game, while senior TE AJ Shaw and junior WR/RB Trevor Williams should see plenty of targets. Defense kept Regis Jesuit in many games last season and a large returning core headed by senior linebackers Joe Bozeman, whose fumble return for a touchdown provided the winning points in the Raiders’ first-round playoff win over Gateway, Quinn VandeKoppel, who racked up an Aurora-best 141 tackles last season, along with the physical Neal. The defensive line graduated two All-Continental League first teamers in Antonio Broadus and Michael Guenther, but senior Terran Hasselbach and junior Eddie Gonzales should keep the Raiders from getting pushed around the trenches. The defensive backfield includes a group that knows how to play together in seniors Will Deines, J.J. Kilgore and Daniel Talley, who had 169 tackles among them a year ago.

Quoting the coach (assistant Bob McPhee): “We feel good about ourselves after the summer, but you don’t know until you start playing. …We have a chance to be a good football team by the end of the year, the kids just have to understand what it takes. We have to be process orientated and we have to understand what it takes to be a good team and be willing to pay the price. Some years, the kids do and some years, they don’t. There’s a cost to being good and playing deep into the playoffs, so they have to decide individually and as a collective soul if they are ready for that.”

2013 schedule: Home games in all caps (played at Lou Kellogg Stadium): Friday, Aug. 30 — RANGEVIEW, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 6 — vs. Horizon at North Stadium, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 13 — MULLEN, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 21 — at Cherokee Trail, 1 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 27 — THUNDERRIDGE, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 4 — at Douglas County, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 11 — CHAPARRAL, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 18 — vs. Mountain Vista at Shea Stadium, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 24 — vs. Highlands Ranch at Shea Stadium, 7 p.m.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel