FORT WAYNE – Bishop Dwenger is looking for more consistency – and more success – in 2013.
After losing their starting quarterback to a knee injury in the preseason, the Saints were up and down in a season that saw them use four quarterbacks, finish under .500 (6-7) for the first time in 13 years but still win a sectional championship.
“The ones who were with it, they are dissatisfied,” Dwenger coach Chris Svarczkopf said of last year. “They want to make sure they leave something. This is the 50th anniversary of our school, and they want to set the tone for the kind of year we have at the school.
“I am looking to see where the payoff is for the investment that these young men have made. They have done everything we have asked, and we have asked more of them than anybody else.”
Last year’s rocky season came on the heels of 2011’s 7-5 campaign that ended the Saints’ five-year run as SAC champions and 10-plus win seasons. Also, Dwenger had advanced to at least the semistate for five straight years.
“Especially with the seniors, (the hunger for success) is a lot more than it has been the last two years,” senior lineman Nathan Niese said. “We all want it so bad.”
It all starts with getting senior quarterback Mike Fiacable back. After a year of surgery, recovery and rehabilitation, Fiacable returns after being the starter as a sophomore.
“We are excited that we have Mike back and a lot of other injured players back,” Niese said. “Last year wasn’t one of our best seasons, but we really want to come back and make a statement this year.”
Despite losing running back D’Marcus Moon after his move to North Side, the offense still looks to have the makings of a solid unit with senior tight end Ryan Wattercutter as Fiacable’s main target. Wattercutter, who was an All-SAC defensive back last year, has already broken some of former Notre Dame star and Cincinnati Bengals rookie tight end Tyler Eifert’s school records. Receivers Kennan Centlivre, Marcus Stepp, Gabe Espinoza and Gus Schrader also return. Watercutter, Schrader, Centlivre and Stepp also return on defense.
And the four QBs who filled in for Fiacable last year are all back. Some will be moving to other positions, with a possibility of returning to quarterback if warranted. Cody Miller, who threw for as many passing yards last year as Fiacable did as a sophomore, will be used as a running back and defensive back as will Peyton Philpot.
Sam Schenkel and John Kelty could be used elsewhere and also be backup quarterbacks.
“We are at the point where we have four or five of them who we wouldn’t hesitate to put any of them in, and we didn’t at the competitions we were at this spring and summer,” Svarczkopf said of the abundance of quarterbacks.
“They have all had to learn other positions too because only one quarterback can play. We have found places for them to go, but they have still keeping their hand at quarterback just in case we need something because you run an offense like ours and play against the competition we face, you never know.”