Like all high football practices that open today across the South Sound, optimism reigned at the Bellarmine Prep practice field Wednesday morning.
But the Lions, members of the Narrows Bay Division, have reason to be positive after a 5-5 campaign last season beset by injuries and a lot of green individuals getting varsity playing experience.
Bellarmine returns all 11 starters on offense and nine on defense this season.
Junior Lucas Schindele, shown above, will lead the lions offensively. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound quarterback has gotten the attention of some college scouts over the summer. Schindele started as a sophomore and took a pounding at times under center. But with a year under his belt he should be ready to lead the Lions to some improved results on the scoreboard this season.
A good athlete with quick feet, Schindele finished with over 300 passing yards and 546 rushing yards last season.
Schindele also will play safety on defense.
His prime target this year will be Dan Durkin, a 5-10, 175-pound senior receiver. Durkin is a good athlete with sure hands, and was a solid contributor on the Lions’ basketball team last season.
Senior Pat Shine (5-10, 195) follows in a long line of tough, hard-nosed running backs for the Lions.
Junior Kyle Able will provide speed out of the backfield.
Brandon Taft, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound junior, will anchor much bigger offensive and defensive lines for the Lions.
And junior linebackers Beau Baldassin and Jeff Manning anchor a solid defense that should keep Bellarmine in games this season.
Overall, Bellamine Prep head coach Tom Larsen is feeling good about the Lions’ chances to return to the playoffs for the first time in five years.