Fresh off a three-peat as state champions and having two of the country’s best players anchor the team, it’s hard to imagine that the 2020 St. Joseph Catholic School Fighting Irish could provide a more exciting brand of football.
Head coach John Baker explained that opposing teams will have to take into consideration a more diverse offense and championship pedigree.
“A lot of people probably want to write us off because Dillon Johnson and Trey Benson will be graduating,” he said. “But we have a tremendous quarterback, Mehki Norris and a very talented group of receivers led by Kaleb Lockett.”
St. Joe’s offense over the past three seasons featured the power and speed of the dynamic duo Johnson and Benson. The upcoming version will give the fans a great offense with a different identity.
“Along with Kaleb Locket, we have a group of receivers that include A.J. McCloud, Elvis Scott and Jay Robinson,” Baker said. “Our quarterback got better every game and matured as the season went along and he played lights out in the championship game. Mehki has had an offer from a Division 1 school, and we’re excited to put the offense in his hands for the upcoming season.”
Baker also has the luxury of having a group of receivers that convert effectively to defensive backs when the ball changes possession.
Like many other teams around the area, St. Joe is in a holding pattern waiting to see when the world will get back to normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally, the Irish would be in the gym lifting weights getting ready for spring football.
“Right now, we just hope that the players are staying motivated by running and getting in shape,” Baker said. “I think it’s realistic to believe that we can focus on early June when seven-on-seven scrimmages start.”
Baker said that he does have a concern along his offensive line at the center position. But, once the anchor of the offensive line is identified, it’s not unthinkable that the three-time champions could become the quad squad and keep its impressive streak alive.
“It’s amazing that we’ve won three straight championships,” Baker said. “But, I think the most impressive thing is our winning streak which stands at 24 games. It’s the longest active winning streak in the state in 1A through 6A in both public and private schools.”