St. Viator has a rugged schedule filled with serious tests.
The good news for Viator coach Chris Kirkpatrick is he has a roster filled with players ready to take on all of those challenges.
"The kids we have are tough and I like our kids," Kirkpatrick said. "The kids we have really want to be here and that makes it enjoyable to coach them.
"They like to work hard it but with our schedule they need to stay healthy. This is the toughest schedule we've had in the 10 years I've been here. There are no gimmes."
But the Lions have some experience and size up front to give out some punishment as well. Senior guard Sean Carney (6-foot-2, 295 pounds) and junior guard Roy Pettingill (6-3, 245), who will miss the opener with a shoulder injury, are returning starters on the offensive line.
Stepping in for Pettingill is junior Oge Udeogu, a 6-6, 310-pound transfer from Africa who will need some time in his first year playing football.
One of the focal points for the Lions on both sides of the ball is senior Frank Laterza at receiver and safety. Last year he rushed for 152 yards, threw for 383 when starter Cameron Korab was injured, caught 8 passes for 128 yards and had 3 interceptions.
Laterza will also return kicks and punts and may play some quarterback at times. Junior Mickey Macius, who got some varsity snaps last year, will be the starter with Kevin Rooney and AJ Wegrzyn splitting time at running back.
Brian Guth is a big target at receiver at 6-5 and senior receiver Kole Luthringshausen has recovered from a summer baseball injury.
"We may have to chuck it a little more," Kirkpatrick said.
Rooney will also start in the secondary and seniors Jack Kellner and Cosimo Cannella return to start at linebacker. Cannella (6-3, 225), an all-area baseball player, and linebacker Andrew Norris (6-4, 205) are the only defensive players weighing more than 200 pounds.
"We're not that big but we can run," Kirkpatrick said.
But they aren't going to run and hide from what's ahead.
"These kids have already done something the majority of kids won't do," Kirkpatrick said. "They've put in the time and they've put in the work."
Lions at a glance
Coach: Chris Kirkpatrick (46-41, 10th year)
Last year: 4-5, 2-5 (7th ESCC)
Pos. Name Ht./Wt. Yr.
QB Mickey Macius 6-3/205 Jr.
RB Shane Rooney 6-0/175 Sr.
and AJ Wegrzyn 5-9/175 Sr.
T Joe Faerber 6-1/210 So.
G Sean Carney 6-2/295 Sr.
C Joe McManus 5-11/205 Sr.
G Oge Udeogu 6-6/310 Jr.
T Hugh Masterson 6-4/240 Jr.
WR Brian Guth 6-5/195 Sr.
WR Frank Laterza 6-1/190 Sr.
WR K. Luthringshausen 5-9/165 Sr.
WR John Balas 6-2/170 Jr.
Pos. Name Ht./Wt. Yr.
DE Anthony Howard 6-1/190 Sr.
NT Vince Mangiamele 5-7/180 Jr.
DE Ed Haubenreiser 5-11/185 Sr.
OLB Jack Kellner 6-1/185 Sr.
ILB Cosimo Cannella 6-3/225 Sr.
ILB Conor Kinasz 5-11/185 Jr.
OLB Andrew Norris 6-4/205 Sr.
CB Shane Rooney 6-0/175 Sr.
CB Brent Piechocki 5-10/160 Jr.
S Frank Laterza 6-1/190 Sr.
S Kevin Hammarlund 6-1/165 Jr.