Strake Jesuit looks forward to new era in 2021 season
After a COVID-ridden 2020 season, Strake Jesuit Football looks to return to some kind of normalcy, albeit with a new head coach.
As former head coach, and now San Francisco 49ers defense quality coach Klay Kubiak departed for the Bay Area in February, the Crusaders' defensive coordinator Donovan Fikac was named HC immediately.
While Fikac has years of experience as a coach at Strake Jesuit, there is still a major hole in the program as of now; there has not been anybody named to take over for Kubiak in his offensive coordinator role. It's clear that, though most players are somewhat worried about the position being filled, they have given Coach Fikac their full support.
WR Leland Smith, who has been practicing with some of his SJ teammates in the last few months, said "This class (2022) understands our situation with a first-year head coach, and we're all hands on deck moving forward to make sure that this transition is as smooth and easy as possible."
The Crusaders, coming off of a rocky 4-6 (4-3 in district) 2020 season, including a first-round exit against Clear Falls, are looking to make some huge steps forward with not only the coaching changes but fresh, younger players at some skill positions.
It seems like, just as they had last year, there will be a battle deep into the preseason to decide who will start at quarterback for the Crusaders in Week One. This competition seems to be between rising senior Alex Buettgen, and 2023 Pro-Style QB Bryce Fucik.
When asked about how he is handling the situation right now, Buettgen said "I've been working a lot with my Jesuit receivers to make sure we have chemistry going into the season." He also noted that he has been focusing on his deep-ball accuracy and reading coverages.
As for Fucik, he said, "There's nothing I can do more than compete, just compete.". Fucik, just like Buettgen, has been tearing up the 7 on 7 scene throughout the country and has been attending positional camps.
2022 RB Joel Crawford is expected to be given the lead running back spot, after splitting carries with Maurice May this past season. Crawford finished the season with nearly 800 yards from scrimmage, and is excited to have an expanded role in the offense this season.
"To be completely honest, it's not something I ever thought would happen. I see being both top running back and captain as blessings, and I hope to use these as ways to lead my team this season," said Crawford, who is one of the biggest leaders in the classroom at SJ, in addition to his commitment to football.
As all games scheduled for the 2020 season were either postponed or canceled as a result of UIL phasing in 5A & 6A football, Strake Jesuit hopes to have a little bit more consistency with the schedule this year.
The Crusaders will be playing Alief Hastings, Pearland Dawson, and Alief Elsik at their home, Clay Stadium, and they will make road trips to face Pearland, Shadow Creek, Alvin, and Alief Taylor. They will also take on three teams out of District 23-6A: C.E. King, Westfield, Dekaney. While Dekaney and C.E. King were on the original 2020 schedule, the addition of the Westfield game comes as a result of the home-and-home series between Strake and Dallas Jesuit being called off.