Football Preview

Football Preview

Football Preview

Nate Sanchez and Max McGuire

As the 2018 football season gears up to kick off on August 31 with the home opener against defending TAPPS 3A State Champion Colleyville Covenant (ranked No. 5 in the Dallas Morning News’ small private school rankings), which the Hawks defeated last season 47-7, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding this year’s team. Championship aspirations have set the bar high for the Hawks with so many Varsity returners from 2017.

Hours of weight room work have been put in by the entire program since the 2017 season ended, and Cistercian is more prepared and stronger than ever thanks to the strength program instituted by Head Coach James Burk. Primed for a championship run in his fourth season as head coach, Burk has high hopes for the Hawks.

“My expectations are always to compete for a championship,” Burk said. “They don’t change any year. However, with the number of seniors we have, they know what the expectations are and they should rise to them.”

After a long preseason of four-hour practices, combined with two hard-fought scrimmages against TCA and Grace Prep, Burk feels great about the state of the team.

“This was the best preseason we’ve had. I felt like after practice seven [of 14] we’d be ready to play a game. I’ve never felt that way before,” Burk said. “We’re ahead of schedule because it’s year four of the program and the seniors have been in the system for four years. It should lead to the best season we’ve had.”

Concerning the JV, Coach Slade Manos, entering his fourth year at Cistercian, has been gifted an especially talented roster this year, filled with many returning starters. The offense is led by a big offensive line which will help pave the way for an exceptional backfield including RB Beto De Los Santos (‘21) and RB Hogan Jones (‘20). QB Max McGuire (‘21) has a nice cast of skilled players around him. On the other side of the ball, the defense is just as talented as the offense is. Up front, the Hawks have DT Connor Popolo (‘21) and DT Henry Parmenter (‘21). Linebacker Alex Banul (‘20) is a playmaker as well, bringing his experience to the team. This team hopes to be one of the best JV squads in recent memory and contribute to the winning culture.

On the Varsity side of things, a tough road to the championship lies ahead for the Hawks with games against rivals St. Mark’s, Greenhill, FW Trinity Valley, and FW Country Day. With a roster full of seniors, this looks to be one of the more talented and experienced teams the school has seen.

The offense includes two 2017 All-SPC players in WR Sam Clay (‘19) and RB Harry Crutcher (‘19), and a slew of other All-SPC caliber seniors like WR/QB Jimmy Garda (‘19). The offensive front is led by three returning starters in OG/C Campbell Keating (‘19), C Matt Donohoe (‘18), and OT Nate Sanchez (‘19). Expected to replace All-SPC quarterback Max Schieferdecker (‘18) is a combination of Aidan Click (‘19) and Garda.

The defense, led by defensive coordinator André Bruce, is shaping up to be one of the best, if not the best in SPC 3A. It’s anchored by a defensive line that returns DE Lucas Watt (‘19), who had nine sacks in 2017, DE Patrick Dundon (‘19), Keating, and Sanchez, while it also adds DT Aidan Chance (‘21) and DE Robert Lahrman (‘19). The linebackers consist of two new starters in Kaosi Unini (‘20), Jack Schieferdecker (‘20), with Matthew Wynne (‘19) heavily involved as well. The back end of the defense is full of talent with All-SPC safeties Crutcher and Clay, combined with Garda, a returning starter in CB David Navarro (‘19), and CB Ben Sanford (‘19). Expected to be a physical, hard-hitting, and ball-hawking defense, points will be hard to come by against this unit.

To the student body: always be there, always be loud, and get behind the team, because nothing energizes a team quite like having the crowd behind them. Most importantly, Go Hawks!

Follow @CPS_Football on Twitter and @cistercianfootball on Instagram for lots of content on the team like hype videos, updates, etc.