By Ray Hamill — The schedule will get substantially more challenging for the St. Bernard’s Crusaders over the second half of the season, beginning with a Saturday showdown at Marin Catholic.
There would appear to be little between these two teams.
In the latest Prep2Prep North Coast Section rankings, the Wildcats are No. 21 and the Crusaders are 23, while in the MaxPreps rankings, the Wildcats are No. 294 in the state and the Crusaders are 331.
Rankings aside, St. Bernard’s comes into the game a perfect 5-0, having dominated their early season opponents and winning by an average of more than 33 points.
Marin Catholic, meanwhile, is 1-3, but has lost to quality opponents, including a 47-28 defeat last week at home to Antioch, ranked No. 51 in the state.
“We have to do the little things right to stay in the game,” St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin said.
In particular, the Crusaders will have their hands full with lineman Jamar Sekona, a 6-foot-4, 307-pound junior.
And that presents St. Bernard’s senior Connor Chase and his teammates with their biggest challenge of the season thus far, literally.
“They have the best offensive lineman we’ll probably face this year,” Tomlin said. “A 300-pounder and he can move.”
Ready for the challenge
If the first half of the season is any indication, the Crusaders will be up for the challenge of the second half.
Through the opening five games, quarterback Will Omey has been simply uncontainable, both on the ground and through the air.
Omey has thrown for 926 yards, including 13 touchdowns and just one interception.
He also leads the team with 724 yards rushing, and 10 more TDs.
Defensively, Justin Hagler leads the team in tackles with 29, while Lane Thrap has 28.
Seven different players have combined for the team’s eight sacks on the season, led by Logan Simoni’s two, while Omey also leads the team with three interceptions, with Thrap adding two.
More than the impressive stats, however, the coach appreciates his players’ collective approach to the game this season.
“It give me a great joy to coach this team,” Tomlin said. “They work hard, they have a great attitude, and they’re a really fun group.
“And as far as football, I like where we’re at.”
After Marin Catholic, the Crusaders will travel to Washington to play Tri-Cities Prep next week, before returning home to begin the Big 4.
And that tougher schedule all begins with the trip to Kentfield this weekend.
“We’ve just got to be us,” Tomlin said. “We can’t make the game bigger than it is. And if we can do that, we can hang around and give ourselves a chance in the second half.”
The game will be broadcast live on The Mix 95.1 FM and The Edge 106.7 FM with the pregame showing getting under way at 1:40 p.m. and kickoff at 2.
The game can also be viewed online through the Marin Catholic website and the NFHS network.