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Wildcats Begin Season On the Road
August 22, 2014St. Lukes Episcopal School
The Wildcats compiled a 12-2 region record in John Beverly’s first two seasons and advanced to the second round of the playoffs each year.
That was then.
Beverly and his team step into a new world in 2014 as they move up to Class 2A.
“I don’t think moving up changes our goals,” senior wide receiver/tight end John David Favors said. “We still have to get it done on the field. We still have to play our game. No matter what class we are in, we have to work hard to get better.”
Still, Beverly has made the jump in classes a rallying point for his team this summer.
He said at Mobile County Media Days last month that his team has “worked their tails off” and is ready for the season to begin. He also admitted the staff adjusted the team’s summer work to better prepare them for 2A competition.
“We definitely changed it some,” he said. “We are now a little more based on speed where as it used to be based on power. Now, we are trying to be quick and explosive. We have done less on long-distance conditioning and more on quick spurts. We know it will be an adjustment.”
St. Luke’s won’t have to wait long to get a preview of how it might fare in 2A.
After opening the season against former 1A region rival McIntosh and then having an open week, the Wildcats face a three-week gauntlet of 2A powers. They host Sweet Water, travel to Washington County and host Leroy.
“We had the draw for region scheduling in February,” Beverly said. “I was the new guy so I drew the first number. I felt pretty good until everyone else drew their numbers. It will definitely be a challenge for us.
“Those are great programs, and we have great respect for them. We understand the tradition with all those teams. But we are ready to mix it up a bit and see how we can compete. I think our guys are fired up for that. I think we will be competitive.”
St. Luke’s returns 13 seniors and has 37 players on the team overall.
Versatile Luke Phillips is back at quarterback and is receiving some attention from colleges. Harrison Downing and Matthew Holland anchor a veteran offensive line. Senior Will Phillips should be a key in the middle of the defense at linebacker.
Though the number in front of St. Luke’s classification has changed, Beverly said the goals have not.
“I definitely believe the bar has been raised,” he said. “Our goal is to go compete and to make the playoffs. There is no reason for us to set it any lower no matter what classification we are in.”
St. Luke’s tidbits:
Scheduling: St. Luke’s will play its two Mobile rivals at the end of the year. The Wildcats host Mobile Christian – a new 2A, Region 1 rival – on Oct. 24, then end the regular season at Cottage Hill on Oct. 31.
Improving in the pocket: Luke Phillips says he has worked on his pocket passing in the off-season. He also knows 2A defenses will present more of a challenge than most 1A defenses. “I think I will see a lot more looks,” he said. “I think they will mix up coverages more. I expect the linebackers to be better overall, and I know I will have to watch out for the defensive linemen for sure.”