John Carroll Catholic High School Athletics


Young Cavaliers Take Aim


Homewood Star | 8/21/2018

The John Carroll Catholic High School football team only ascended from two wins in 2016 to three wins in 2017, but the margin of improvement was much wider than that in the eyes of head coach Logan Colafrancesco.

“We learned how to compete,” the third-year coach said. “We were competitive in every game, even if some of the scores might not indicate that.”

The Cavaliers knocked off Hayden and Hueytown to begin the season 2-0 and had an opportunity to kick a game-winning field goal against Parker the following week. They won just once more in the remaining seven contests, but there were flashes each week.

“Fatigue really got us, but our kids fought and we learned how to compete better,” Colafrancesco said. “We changed the mindset, I thought.”

Part of changing that mindset is getting a group of players to believe they are capable of achieving lofty goals. For Colafrancesco, the key to that is getting off to a strong start.

“Winning,” he said. “Last year, we won a game we probably shouldn’t have won. Then, we lost a game we shouldn’t have lost. But winning cures all. Having success like we did last year, that Hayden game was a really big game.”

There are many excuses that Colafrancesco, a graduate of John Carroll, could use as a crutch.

One of those is numbers. In his first two years as head coach, Colafrancesco has fielded teams with no more than 40 players, with only half of those receiving significant playing time on Friday nights.

The Cavaliers take a step down from Class 6A to 5A this fall, but their numbers will still pale in comparison to most — if not all — of the teams they play. But Colafrancesco believes he has the team to overcome the odds.

“This group of kids, they’re just different,” he said. “They’ve got a total different mindset. There’s no griping. We’ve got a really good group of kids with high character that want to win for John Carroll instead of themselves.”


Colafrancesco cut his teeth coaching on the offensive side of the ball, and the Cavaliers will remain an up-tempo offense this fall. However, they will have to rely on some different position groups to lead the way early on.

“Last year, we had a really good offensive line and a bunch of guys returning,” he said. “This year, we’ve got some younger guys, so we’re going to have to rely on our receivers. We’re going to have to throw the ball more to move the ball.”

Sam Reed, Isaiah Ambroise, Ethan Cull, Jackson Jeffery and Brock Sanders are some of those receivers that John Carroll will need to provide some stability. Colafrancesco said it is a solid group that will “do everything you ask them to do and run really good routes," while also touting the senior leadership and returning experience that Reed provides.

The Cavaliers will have a new quarterback in Nicholas Sellers, who earned a few starts last season as a freshman. He will be the one tasked with getting the ball to that stable of receivers.

“He’s gotten a lot better and a lot bigger. His arm’s gotten stronger,” Colafrancesco said. “He’s trying to become a leader even though he’s just a sophomore, but he’s got a bright future.”

The loss of Demetrius Ball and Jeremiah Fuller means the Cavaliers have no returning experience in the backfield. Zach Elliott, Aaron Mason, Mark Richard and Spencer Drouin will get the opportunity to step up and claim a significant role.

On the young offensive line, Gabe Wood and Graham Russell serve as team leaders and anchors of that unit. Jack Horton, Chris Ohagwu, Zane Boackle, Nathan Wright, Jack Carlisle, Rich Connell and Greg Shunnarah will attempt to slide into the other three slots.


Jared Bonvillain will take over as coordinator of the John Carroll defense, which will feature many athletes who play on the offensive side of the ball as well.

“We’re going to be aggressive like we are offensively,” Colafrancesco said of the defense, which will feature a three-man front. “I told coach to bring the heat. We’ve got to.”

Russell and Wood will likely play on the defensive line as well, along with Trey Grissett, Tyler McFadden and Ohagwu. Richard is likely to be the Cavaliers’ primary middle linebacker, with Elliott and Reed playing as outside backers. Pow Harrell, Mitchell Walker and Drouin will also be in that mix.

Reed, Ambroise, Cull, Mason and Sanders are among the expected contributors in the secondary.


Colafrancesco said he expects Nick Bodin to take over the kicking and punting duties for the Cavaliers.


Making the playoffs will be an uphill climb for the Cavaliers. Even with the move down to 5A, John Carroll will play i... Click here to read full article