Being the team to beat in the Tri-City Athletic League doesn’t make St. Mary’s football nervous. The Rams haven’t lost a league game since 2013, a brutal 40-32 loss to Stagg on Nov. 1, 2013. Having a target on his back doesn’t make coach Tony Frank sweat in his 20th year as a head coach.
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“We don’t focus on things that we can’t control like what our opponents are doing – or like the weather,” Frank said. “I worry about whether we will have enough balls for training. I just worry that everything is in place so that we can turn the crank every day and commit to our process.
The process for Frank and his team a few days into padded practice involves sets of drills for each power position with a trainer leading them. The Rams are filled with staff, some of whom are alumni, who are familiar with the school’s football program. Each practice begins with a prayer led by the player, just a glimpse of the spiritual rituals they will do throughout the season.
Along with having the freedom to practice religion with his players, Franks notes that having so many people on his team is what helps them stand out in the T-CAL.
“‘I’ve been here a while, but so have our staff, we’ve been together a long time,'” he said. good dedicated people.”
Some of the St. Mary’s coaches who have come through its dominance in league play over the years are assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Doug Carruesco, running backs coach Harry Brown, coach Adam Pile wide receivers and JD Willis the offensive line coach.
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Rams personnel will play a big role this season as the roster is quite young with mostly juniors, sophomores and a few freshmen. Senior wide receiver and safety Naseri Danielson made his college debut as a sophomore and considers personnel a critical part of his development.
“It’s not just football for them, you know we’re here 12 hours a day during the season, but you never feel like going home because it feels like home here” , did he declare. “All the coaches are player coaches, they’re there for the players, so it’s really fun.”
As one of the few seniors on the team, Danielson will not only look to be St. Mary’s go-to receiver, but also take on a leadership role to help guide his younger teammates. During the off-season, the team was able to bond throughout the weightlifting and seven-on-seven tournaments.
Star junior running back Asante Carter, who was also a sophomore in college, already feels more comfortable with his team.
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“We hang out all the time, so we kept the connection going in the offseason,” Carter said. “And then when we came back to training, we still had the same connection.”
Through St. Mary’s connection, discipline and structure created by the coaching staff and their rituals, they will remain the team everyone wants to beat in the T-CAL. Similar to their coach, Danielson and Carter don’t care about maintaining the legacy of being undefeated in the league. Instead, the Rams want to soak up the thrill that Friday nights will bring in just under three weeks with their opener Aug. 26 against West.
“It goes by so fast, it’s over like that before you know it, so I think as a team we’re always excited and we’re always ready to play,” Danielson said.
Record journalist Shannon Belt covers the sport. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ShannonBelt3. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow.