St. Mary’s Knights
Division I Section I
Coach: Todd Williamson
Last year’s record: 4-8, lost to Tucson Salpointe in first round of 5A Division I playoffs
Returning starters offense: 3, including junior quarterback Lukas Treffers, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder who’ll have to improve the passing game and leadership for the young Knights to be effective offensively.
Returning starters defense: 3, including Joey Bustamonte, a senior linebacker who moved up from junior varsity during last season and embedded himself at linebacker.
Aug. 26 at North; Sept. 2 at Ironwood; Sept. 9 vs. Basha; Sept. 16 at Boulder Creek; Sept. 23 vs. Central; Sept. 29 vs. Westview; Oct. 6 at Maryvale; Oct. 14 at Brophy (at Phoenix College); Oct. 21 vs. Tolleson; Oct. 28 vs. Alhambra
Sept. 23 vs. Central: Sure, it’s Todd Williamson going against the program he just left to take the St. Mary’s job, but it’s also an interesting stop on the schedule beween Basha, Boulder Creek and, afterward, Westview. That makes this stop an important one to win during this daunting stretch.
Sept. 29 vs. Westview: Widely considered the leading candidate by outsiders to win Section I, the Westview Knights have a top-notch running game with junior Seivion Morris (1,414 yards, 18 TD). Will the Knights be up to this big-time task?
Oct. 14 at Brophy: Throught new schedule bedlam, the rivalry remains, and last year’s St. Mary’s win snapped a seven-game run by the Broncos. But the Knights will see a different Brophy team this time, so they better be ready for revenge.
There was no sugar-coating or hyperbole. Todd Williamson knows it’s about the long haul.
The former Phoenix Central coach came over to St. Mary’s when Eddy Zubey left for Higley during the winter, and he knew this was going to be a project.
Before Williamson arrived, St. Mary’s put itself in a bind. Despite calculating as a Division IV school, the Knights elected to move up to Division I in football (their enrollment of 602 is four times smaller than the average Division I school). The silver lining here being the Knights are lumped into Section I which primarily consists of Phoenix Metro and Yuma schools.
Still, it’s going to take awhile. Williams brougth his spread offense over from his successes at Central, and a 4-2-5 defense. With three starters back on each side of the ball and approximately 40 on Varsity, depth will again be an issue. The Knights figure to have about 35 kids on a freshman team, but may not have enough for a junior varsity team.
Despite a mass exodus of kids during the offseason for a variety of reasons, there some athletes still on board, including quarterback Lukas Treffers and linebacker Joey Bustamonte. Despite a rough one-month stretch, a top three finish in Section I is attainable, though Williamson wouldn’t put his finger on any tangible win-loss benchmark.
“I think with the kids we do have we enough athletes to do some things on offense and defensively, and they’ll work for us,” he said.
In the interim, he’s trying to change the kids’ work ethics and discipline while hoping an influx of outside money and continued administration support helps kids stay at the school in the long run.