Coach: Danny Filleman, 1st season
2014 record: 10-2 overall, 5-0 in 5A Continental North (lost in quarterfinals of 5A playoffs)
Players to watch: Alec Barnes, 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, RB, sr.; Jack Stoll, 6-5, 230, TE, sr.; Michael Pavlakovich, QB, sr.; Ace Escobedo, 6-3, 270, DL, sr.; Matt Peppercorn, 6-2, 205, OL, sr.; Drew Schlegel, 5-11, 210, LB, sr.
2015 outlook: Danny Filleman arrives on the coaching scene in Colorado after coming over from highly successful Liberty High School in Peoria, Arizona, as he takes over a program headed for six seasons by Mark Nolan before he made a return to Arizona. While Filleman got his family situated in a new state, many returning assistant coaches who helped Regis Jesuit to a 10-2 record last season stepped in to ease the transition and keep the players working ahead of the new season. The Raiders handled all their opponents last season with the exception of Class 5A state champion Cherry Creek, which dealt them defeats in the regular season opener and the quarterfinal round of the 5A state playoffs. Regis Jesuit graduated a significant amount of talent in 10 All-Continental North first team selections and 13 all-league picks overall, but the cupboard is far from bare for the defending league champions. Filleman has found a group of players he notes is hard-working and intelligent. He brings a new spread style offense with him that should be challenging to defend and suits the talents of many returning offensive players, including senior running back Alec Barnes and senior tight end Jack Stoll. Barnes is the lone returning first team all-league selection on offense and rushed for 1,677 yards and 22 scores a year ago, while Stoll — a huge target at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds and a University of Nebraska commitment — is an eager blocker and is ready to see more footballs thrown his way after making just 19 catches last season in a hybrid fullback/tight end role. Regis Jesuit graduated a three-year starting quarterback in Matt Houghtaling, so it will be up to senior Michael Pavlakovich to take over and adapt to the new offense, which he feels is a great vehicle to use his mobility. The offensive line lost four all-conference performers, including a pair of Division I recruits in Tim Lynott (Colorado) and Jack Maly (Penn), so senior Matt Peppercorn and company has big shoes to fill. Regis Jesuit’s fearsome defensive front lost three all-league first team performers, including Northern Colorado recruit Eddie Gonzales, but recent Penn commitment Ace Escobedo (6-3, 270) is determined to set the tone for a unit that expects to be strong again at the point of attack. Senior Drew Schlegel racked up 101 tackles and three sacks last season and made the all-league first team and should key that unit. Schedule: Regis Jesuit finished 3-1 in 2014 against a non-league slate that included Cherry Creek, Mullen, Cherokee Trail and Denver South and reprises the same schedule, while most looking forward to facing the one team it lost to, the Bruins, which the Raiders get to see in the season opener. Regis Jesuit has also started to develop a good series in recent years with nearby Cherokee Trail and that resumes in Week 3. ThunderRidge, which awaits on Oct. 16, gave the Raiders their closest contest in Continental North play, in an eight-point game.
Schedule: Home games in all caps (played at Lou Kellogg Stadium): Friday, Sept. 4 — at Cherry Creek, 8 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 11 — MULLEN, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 18 — CHEROKEE TRAIL, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 25 — at Denver South, 4 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 2 — ROCK CANYON, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 9 — vs. Highlands Ranch at Shea Stadium, 5 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 16 — THUNDERRIDGE, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 22 — vs. Mountain Vista at Shea Stadium, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 30 — FRUITA MONUMENT, 7 p.m.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel