The Mount de Sales Cavaliers have been building towards something special over the last few seasons.
A year ago they finished with nine wins for just the 10th time in school history. This comes on the heels of a 6-5 season and they are just two years removed from a two-win campaign.
“We have a great group of seniors,” head coach Keith Hatcher said. “They have seen our program at the worst.”
The Cavaliers capped last year with a 9-1 record but were left disappointed following a first-round exit against Holy Innocents, Hatcher said.
“We were not happy with the way the season ended,” he said. “Our guys want to improve this year. They’ve been hungry in the off-season to do more than we did last year.”
The Cavaliers have their star quarterback and Telegraph Player of the Year Dexter Williams returning for his senior season. He finished up his junior year with over 2,500 yards and 28 touchdowns.
“Dexter is a great football player, he is also a high character kid, a great leader on the team,” Hatcher said. “Having him lead our offense is certainly a benefit to us going into the season.”
During the off-season, he landed over 20 offers from various schools but eventually committed to play for Indiana in the Big 10 conference, fulfilling a lifelong dream of playing Division-1 football.
“At first it was scary, it was kinda like ‘why does everyone want me, I didn’t understand,’” Williams said. “The proudest people were my two parents. I am happy to give them a chance to not have to pay for my education.”
Williams is excited to get started at Indiana but he isn’t looking ahead quite yet. He has some unfinished business at Mount de Sales.
“We are changing the culture every year,” he said. “That region championship is what we are looking for.”
KEY MATCHUPS THIS SEASON
Tattnall, Oct. 18
Tattnall was the only team to hand Mount de Sales a loss in the regular season a year ago. The Trojans took over in the fourth quarter behind senior standout Jamal Marshall, who has since graduated.
The Cavaliers will need to be able to knock off Tattnall if they want a shot at that region title and will be looking for some payback from that lone loss.
“We are looking forward to another opportunity this season,” Hatcher said. “The intensity level that the kids bring to those games, it has gotten to be a lot of fun.”
Greene County, Sept. 20
Greene County won the region last season which means Mount de Sales is looking to knock them off the top. Greene County, coming off a three-win season in 2017, surprised many fans when it took home the region title.
The Cavaliers actually knocked off the Tigers 20-14 early in the season and will be looking for similar results this season.
“We have to go up to their place to play. That will be a really tough one,” Hatcher said. “You got to show up each and every Friday in our league to have an opportunity to win.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Running Back Josiah Cotton: The Cavaliers are excited to get their dynamic running back on the field after he suffered a broken leg that sidelined him for most of last season.
“He has had a really big off-season,” he said. “We expect really big things out of him.”
Hatcher said that Cotton is expected to take some of the pressure off of Williams this season.
Wide Receiver Akhori Jones: Expect to see Jones lined up all over the field this season as he could be the breakout star in the Mount de Sales offense.
He is just a sophomore but will be given a chance early on to be one of their key playmakers.
“He is a younger dynamic player that we have,” Hatcher said. “We will find ways to get the ball in his hands.”