Speed showcased at St. James preseason football scrimmage
Out of all the big plays during St. James Academy’s Thursday scrimmage, the biggest plays came from the quarterbacks and their legs.
Starting senior quarterback Alex King and freshman Sammy Wheeler turned option reads into 50- and 80-yard runs, respectively, as well as some significant shorter ones. Despite having some new faces at the position, Thunder quarterbacks are not lacking in explosiveness.
“We always try to put one of our best athletes at quarterback,” coach Tom Radke said. “He’s got to be multidimensional. Our quarterbacks, all the way down to the freshmen played well tonight, had some long runs. It’s just the option that we run out of.”
Radke said the team would work on that during the week leading up to Friday’s season opener against Paola.
A scrimmage can only show so much about how a team will fare in the regular season, but it looks like the Thunder’s strength is speed. And a heavy running game is all fine for senior lineman David Feist, who much prefers to run block rather than pass block.
“We’re not going to run as many power plays this year, so we’ve got to be quicker,” senior lineman David Feist said. “On the line, I was the only one returning, so we’ve had to go through all that again.”
The coaching transition has been easier, though. This being Radke’s third year, he has had time to instill his coaching philosophy and those underclassmen from his first year are now the team’s leaders.
During the team’s first seven-on-seven workout, one of the coaches asked what they were going to do with the team. On the way home, Radke laid out his plan. Essentially, it was to build men.
“If we have good Christian men, then everything will work itself out,” Radke said. “When you do everything the right way, then it’s going to carry out on the field then they’re going to do that the right way.”
With soccer and volleyball events over the weekend, it was a significant way for St. James to start the fall sports season. Thursday’s scrimmage also marked the only home game of the year because “home” with the quotation marks means St. Thomas Aquinas. It was an easygoing atmosphere, but there was plenty of support on the sideline.
“We had our great band out here tonight and the dancers,” Radke said. “Everybody got to do their stuff in front of our home, on our campus. That’s a big deal since we don’t have many facilities here to do the stuff on our campus.”