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Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders look to re-group in new league Phillip Brents | Fri, Sep 02 2011 12:38 AM

John Joyner enters this third year as head coach of the Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders and this season could show an upswing in the team’s fortunes. The Crusaders have been the small school in the large school Metro-Mesa League the past several years. But league realignment this season has placed MDC on more equal footing with mid-size enrollment schools in the Metro-Pacific League.

“We have not been successful the last two years,” said Joyner, whose teams rolled to 1-9 finishes in each of the past two seasons. “This is the first time we have had a large freshman class to build on.”

The Crusaders hope to establish a stronger foundation for the future during their Metro-Pacific stay.

Impact players this season include tight end/middle linebacker Andrew Martinez, a decorated First Team All-Mesa League honoree in 2010, wide receiver/cornerback Nick Kaiser, quarterback Jack Fernandes, offensive lineman Nico Siragusa, offensive guard/defensive end Eddie Medrano and wide receiver/linebacker Austin Allen.

MDC’s new league rivals include Castle Park, Sweetwater and Montgomery. Joyner admitted it was challenging trying to compete against Division I enrollment schools such as Eastlake and Otay Ranch during the team’s stay in the Mesa League.

Mater Dei Catholic’s student enrollment is one-fourth that of Eastlake, for instance.

“We expect to be competitive with the schools in our (new) league,” Joyner said. “We have a rivalry with Castle Park — we have played them three times (in the last four years) — but with Sweetwater and Montgomery, it will be the first time we have played them in a while. We set our goals high. We’d like to get a shot at the league banner.”

Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders 2011 Schedule
2: Viewpoint at Mater Dei Catholic
9: Mater Dei at Escondido Charter
16: St. Augustine at Mater Dei
23: Mater Dei at St. Joseph
30: Chadwick at Mater Dei
7: Bye
14: Mater Dei at San Ysidro
21: Southwest at Mater Dei
28: Montgomery at Mater Dei
4: Mater Dei at Castle Park
10: Mater Dei at Sweetwater

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