Jim Bloomfield isn’t promising any kind of overnight turnaround at St. Patrick.
The former longtime Vancleave coach is set to embark on his second season leading the Fighting Irish and thoroughly realizes the challenge he faces. Heading into Saturday’s opener at Resurrection, the Fighting Irish have increased their roster size to 23 and have even added some size in the trenches.
Building up St. Patrick’s football program will take a series of small steps that Bloomfield hopes will sooner rather than later lead to jogging and eventually running to contention.
“We’re working every day to try and create an atmosphere of toughness and create an atmosphere of being able to stick to our standards and philosophies of being accountable, being good teammates and working hard,” Bloomfield said.
Last year was admittedly a struggle as the Fighting Irish posted an 0-11 season
Once the Irish start to turn the corner, however, Bloomfield believes the winning will become contagious, not only with the players on the roster but throughout the student body.
“I can’t do anything about the past. Eventually we have to learn to win,” he said. “Our kids have to learn to fight through (adversity). When you do win, they will come out and play.
“Once they win, they’re going to figure out they can do it again. It’s just going to take time.”
Among the new additions is receiver Jack Magandy. A standout basketball player, Magandy, along with Luke Seicshnaydre, will add size to St. Patrick’s receiving corps.
“Jack is a 6-3 wideout,” Bloomfield said. “We plan to get the ball to him a little bit to try and give us a threat down field. Him and Luke Seicshnaydre have great hands. We’re able now to throw the ball and catch the ball a little bit. Hopefully we’ll try to keep people from loading the box all the time and keep people a little more honest.”
Junior Carson Bishop looks to be the quarterback to get Magandy and Seicshnaydre the ball. Bloomfield said the two receivers, plus junior Aaron Broadus and freshman Tyler Gerretse could also see time at quarterback.
“Carson has been out there since spring ball so he’s a little bit ahead,” Bloomfield said. “We’re still working to create depth at the quarterback position. That will help us out in case we have an injury.”
The Fighting Irish are transitioning to more of an I-formation on offense and expect junior Robert Starks to shoulder a bulk of the load.
“Robert is really strong,” Bloomfield said. “He’s not real big, but he plays hard. We want all of our kids to play like Robert does. When he’s out there, he gives it everything he’s got and is focused. I would hope he’ll step up. He did last year as a sophomore. We’re looking for big things from him this year.”
Leading on defense
St. Patrick’s defense will be led by linebackers Justin Pitts and Austin Schepens. Pitts started last year at linebacker and Schepens is transitioning from defensive end.
Up front, the Irish should be improved.
“Ryan Hymel started at nose last year,” Bloomfield said. “He’s a big 6-4, 280 kid who is going to try and size up the middle of the defense along with Jonathan Frederick. He’s a transfer from St. Stanislaus. He’s 6-4, 290. We’re going to have a little more size than we did last year. We just have to learn to get off the line, attack and be aggressive.”
After opening against RCS, St. Patrick will play Columbia Academy, Varnado (La.), Puckett, Bay High and St. Andrews before starting a difficult Region 8-3A schedule with a game at West Marion.
Collins and West Marion were the class of the region a year ago, boasting 15-1 and 13-2 overall records.
After suffering a loss to Hattiesburg on Sept. 4, Collins ran the table to claim the Class 3A state championship.
At a glance
2015 record: 0-11
Coach: Jim Bloomfield
Assistant coaches: Dave Gaunce, Stan Dellenger, Kim Letort, Bobby Underwood, Aaron Hommell
Offense: Double slot/I-formation
St. Patrick schedule
Aug. 20 At Resurrection
Aug. 26 COLUMBIA ACADEMY
Sept. 2 At Varnado (La.)
Sept. 9 PUCKETT
Sept. 16 At Bay
Sept. 23 At St. Andrews
Sept. 30 At West Marion
Oct. 7 PERRY CENTRAL
Oct. 14 TYLERTOWN
Oct. 21 At Collins
Oct. 28 At Seminary
St. Patrick roster
1. Luke Seicshnaydre
2 Jack Magandy
3 Ryan Crosby
6 Aaron Broadus
8 Evan Chubb
9 Carson Bishop
10 Jarrett Herron
12 Justin Pitts
13 Austin Schepens
14 Tyler Gerretse
22 Britton Tatum
25 Anthony Schloegel
35 Presley Harrison
44 Robert Starks
50 Logan Petersen
51 Christopher Ladner
55 Ray Frazier
57 Sami Turunen
62 Matthew Chouest
65 James Frazier
74 Jonathan Frederick
75 Ryan Hymel
79 Ian Jackson