ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.- After finishing the 2012 season with a 3-8 overall record, Jerry Smith hopes 2013 is kinder to his team than last year. Smith has a young team to work with but he’s still looking forward to having a few key experienced players back.
“We’re young so we’re going to be developing hopefully we’ll get better as the season progresses. We’ve got some good senior leadership. We’re looking forward to a couple guys to produce that are coming up from JV and that so hopefully it will be a improving year as it goes,” Coach Smith told Two on Your Side’s Stu Boyar at the Lions Ad-Pro All Star Game.
St. Francis has four returning starters coming back on offense and five on defense. So right now, Coach Smith is giving the edge to his defense. “We have some speed and we’ve got some skills. Our line is going to have to be a work in progress on the offensive line so defense is hopefully going to have to hold us until we can establish some type of a little bit of a run game,” said Coach Smith.
When taking a closer look at the schedule, there weren’t many surprises to Coach Smith. There’s only one team the Red Raiders may be unfamiliar with. “We’re still playing Aquinas again, we’re playing Cathedral Erie Prep again. We did pick up Wilson Magnet out of Rochester who’s got a real good team coming back. They’ve got a real big time defensive end for them so it’ll be interesting. We always have that tough schedule and we’ll see what happens, how the dice roll,” Coach Smith explained.
As far as big rivalry games, St. Francis doesn’t have any true rivalry games in the Monsignor Martin league. Rather, Coach Smith pointed out what he considers a rival for the Red Raiders. “Every single game; I think ourselves when we practice that’s our biggest game we have to overcome ourselves. Once we finish that off we’ll be okay,” Coach Smith pointed out.
Coach Smith went on to explain the history of the Monsignor Martin League rivals. “It used to be Timon, St. Francis but and stuff but with the way the league has been structured over the years every one of our games are pretty big. I mean you do have those traditional Canisius, Joe’s games but St. Francis used to have Baker back in the day but that’s closed,” Coach Smith explained.
“We used to have us and Turner for a while when Turner was around so it seems like everybody I mention ends up closing. Hey Canisius!,” Coach Smith added with a laugh.
St. Francis opens up the 2013 season at home against Monroe-Woodbury on September 7th.