Class 2A-4: Santa Fe Catholic Will Rely on Key Ingredients
Thu. August 23, 2012 at 12:06 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
COOKING UP SOMETHING NEW: Santa Fe Catholic will rely on its line, including, from left, Matt Stambrosky, Jory Frasco, Alex Dry and Julian Schroer. (Photo by PIERRE DUCHARME | THE LEDGER)
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | Nick Martinez has good footwork and a pretty good arm to go with his lean frame.
He’s got some big curly hair to go with his new role as quarterback, too, a feature that makes him stand out at the position.
Those things are all nice, but does he have what it takes to fill the shoes of B.J. Knauf, a four-year star at Santa Fe Catholic who is now a freshman at Purdue?
More importantly, can Santa Fe be as competitive without Knauf under center?
Undoubtedly, that question has crossed the mind of outsiders and Santa Fe’s opponents. Internally, the players at Santa Fe know they lost a tremendous athlete and leader, but they feel they have the strength to put up solid performances this year, and Martinez, a junior, thinks he’ll get the help he needs to have a successful season.
“I feel a little bit of pressure filling that hole, but I have to come in and just play to my best ability,” Martinez said. “B.J. was great and he helped teach me some things, too. I knew I would step in this year, and I’m ready for the challenge.”
Since Knauf’s departure, coach Billy Dickerson has had to improvise with his schemes to adjust to what he lost: a lot of speed and elusiveness. He’s running a lot less option this year and allowing Martinez to sit back and sling the ball more.
“When your quarterback isn’t the main focal point, that changes things,” Dickerson said. “We’re creating and building around what we have now, reorganizing a little bit. B.J. was more than a quarterback; everything on the offense centered around him. I’m asking Nick to not be the offense, but run the offense. There’s a big difference.”
Dickerson said the key to success lies with his offensive line. Alex Dry returns, as does Matt Stambrowsky, now slimmer and faster, and Julian Schroer, a 6-foot lineman weighing more than 210 pounds.
Their spring game against Landmark Christian wasn’t their best performance — the team lost 46-0 — but Dickerson thinks that the lopsided score was more a product of the team trying to get to know each other.
“I wasn’t happy with the way the line played, but I expect that to be our strength,” Dickerson said.
Dry & Co. know they have a bigger challenge this season, not only because Knauf, Robert Aranda and Jake Dotson are gone but because the team’s numbers are down this year.
“B.J was superman, but Nick has done a good job so far,” Stambrowsky said. “He’s stepped up a lot since the spring and he’s a lot more serious. He understands his role.”
Santa Fe At a Glance
Head Coach: Billy Dickerson (3rd year, 16-15 overall).
Coaching Staff: Joe Faiola DC/AHC, Chris Nattania WR/QB/DB, Anthony Desandolo OL/DL, Luke McNamee ST/ALC.
2011 Record: 6-4.
Last Time In Playoffs: 2001, lost to Keswick Christian, 27-12, in first round.
Home Field: Santa Fe High Field, Lakeland.
(All games begin at 7 p.m.)
Aug. 23 -- at Central Florida Christian (Preseason)
Sept. 7 -- at Landmark Christian
Sept. 14 -- vs. Orlando Christian
Sept. 21 -- at Lake Mary Prep
Sept. 28 -- vs. Bishop McLaughlin
Oct. 5 -- vs. Mt. Dora Bible
Oct. 12 -- at Agape Christian
Oct. 19 -- vs. Foundation Academy
Oct. 26 -- at Trinity Prep
Nov. 2 -- at Victory Christian
Nov. 9 -- at Lakeland Christian