The Wildcats are in an unfamiliar position.
Under Chuck Kyle ’69, the Wildcats have missed the playoffs just three times since 1988. Even more rare is a Week 10 game with no playoff or rivalry implications. The last two playoff misses – in 2010 and 2015 – ended with games vs. St. Edward. The Wildcats have not played such a Week 10 game since November 7, 1987, a regular-season finale vs. Holy Name in a 6-4 campaign.
But the Wildcats will be no less motivated against 0-8 West Toronto Prep. Kyle’s message to his men this week is “Let’s do this right.” This game presents a good life lesson. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing in front of 100 people or 10,000. Either way, you need to hold yourself to a high standard and give it your full effort.
Saturday will present another opportunity for the Wildcats – every senior should have the chance to play. The team will look to end the season on a high note, as best they can.
SAINT IGNATIUS OFFENSE VS. WEST TORONTO PREP DEFENSE
One glimmer shining through the dark clouds last week was Griffin Hanna joining the 2,000 yard passing club. Hanna becomes the 16th quarterback under Offensive Coordinator Nick Restifo Hon. 19 to surpass 2,000 passing yards in a season. On the season, Hanna has 2,023 passing yards, 15 passing TD’s, and 6 rushing TD’s. The senior is 158 yards from cracking Top 10 all-time for passing yards in a season. Joe Pickens (2,180, 1988) stands at No. 10.
Look for James Crosby to have a big day in the ground game. The senior will likely see the majority of the early carries on Saturday. The speedster will have a chance to showcase his athleticism and quickness. Jack Welcsh will also get some touches.
Connor Cmiel will complete his illustrious football career on Saturday after exceeding 1,000 all-purpose yards for the season. Henry Cook and Jake Lang will also complete their careers after outstanding years.
Three offensive linemen will play their last game in the blue and gold – Nick Schwitzgebel, Tony Georges, and Owen Keane. Schwitzgebel, the starting left tackle, will likely be headed to the Ivy League. Georges has committed to Akron. Next season, Ashton Montgomery and Gus Salopek will anchor the offensive line.
On defense, West Toronto Prep plays a 4-2-5, with 4 linemen, 2 linebackers, and 5 defensive backs. They’ll play a mix of man and zone coverages, blitzing when need be.
SAINT IGNATIUS DEFENSE VS. WEST TORONTO PREP OFFENSE
The Wildcats defense has excelled in recent weeks, allowing just 34 points in the last 4 games. The credit for the success needs to be spread around among all three levels.
Starting with the defensive line, Anthony Gerace, Max Watters, and Bennett Adler have all been outstanding in creating pressure and stopping the run. Adler will be back next year, but Watters and Gerace will end their Wildcat careers on Saturday.
At linebacker, Michael McNamara has been the lead dog. The senior captain has been great when healthy, making plays all over the field. Fellow seniors Connor Francz and Aidan Crummie have been similarly ferocious for the blue and gold. Aidan Hubbard, Aidan Conway, and Nick Velotta all contributed heavily this season, giving a glimpse into the future.
In the secondary, Welcsh has been a great player at safety. Senior Merick Hartley has been similarly proficient at free safety. At cornerback, Erik Daugenti and Charlie Kinzel have stood out with their ability to knock down passes and stand alone in single coverage. Each deserves plenty of kudos for quietly having nice seasons. Dominic DeVengencie has mixed in, too, playing very well since coming back from an injury. Look for him to do well on Saturday. Juniors Emmett Hanna and Chris Snyder, along with sophomore Braeden Lair, will be men to watch entering 2020.
On offense, West Toronto plays a 2-back, spread offense. The Golden Warriors will look to spread you out with the passing game, and then get some yards on the ground after passing some.
One look the Wildcats have prepped for is the option. The Cats have not seen it much this season, and West Toronto Prep has it in the playbook.
Josiah Bowman is the main man at quarterback. Others to watch include Yvenson Saintus and
All season, the Wildcats have enjoyed strong special teams. Rory McConville will kick in his final game for the Wildcats after a great senior campaign. Declan Mangan will be back next season, which should excite Saint Ignatius fans. He’s got quite a boot, and has hit from 50+ yards this season. He’ll also punt and handle the kickoff duties for much of Saturday.