Mater Dei Catholic head coach John Joyner admitted that losing 14 players to graduation will be a challenge for this team to repeat as the Metro-Pacific League champions, but it’s a challenge he and his squad will take head on.
“We lost a lot of linemen and linebackers, a lot of front seven guys,” the MDCHS coach said. “But we are returning some talented football players. The kids are buying into it.”
Leading the charge on the field for the Crusaders in 2012 will be senior quarterback Joe Legrete, last year’s Metro-Pacific Offensive Player of the Year.
Also back are first team all-league defender Jaison Miller and second team all-league linebacker/offensive lineman William Shaw.
Alonso Alzua is being tabbed as the team’s new running back.
The Crusaders prospered under Legrete’s leadership last year, defining their championship season with a 33-14 victory at Sweetwater in a winner-take-all match-up.
Mater Dei went on to defeat Palo Verde Valley, 44-7, in the opening round of the Division IV playoffs before ending its season with a 9-3 record following a 45-17 loss to second-seeded Madison in the quarterfinals.
“We will be in for a challenge against the other teams in our league,” Joyner said. “Without knowing what they return, we need to be better.”
Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders 2012 Schedule
31: Mater Dei at Viewpoint, 4:00 p.m.
7: Escondido Charter at Mater Dei, 7 p.m.
14: St. Augustine at Mater Dei, 7 p.m.
21: Mater Dei at Imperial, 7 p.m.
28: Mater Dei vs. Rancho Christian at Fallbrook High School, 7 p.m.
5: San Ysidro at Mater Dei, 7 p.m.
12: Mater Dei at Southwest, 7 p.m.
19: Mater Dei at Montgomery, 7 p.m.
26: Castle Park at Mater Dei, 7 p.m.
2: Sweetwater at Mater Dei, 7 p.m.