Gabriel Richard is looking to get back on track this season. That track winds around and ends in the state playoffs – a trip the Irish are familiar with.
The Irish, who started 3-3 on the season a year ago before dropping its final three against quality opponents, open the season on Aug. 24 at home against Bridgeport. Kickoff is at 4 p.m.
On his way down south to a four-way scrimmage, Richard Coach Brian Lewis expressed plenty of excitement over the way the team has looked over the course of the first 10 days of camp.
“Camp is going well and the kids are working hard,” said Lewis, in his first season as the head coach after a year running the team’s offense. “The key for us is staying healthy and for the most part we are. The effort has been good and they are grasping what we are trying to do.”
Richard has about 65 players in the program with 31 targeted for varsity. The Irish will also field a junior varsity team.
“The numbers aren’t where I would like them be. I would prefer 35 or 36 but we have 31 and that’s what we will roll with,” Lewis said.
The Irish have a lot of new players, a new head coach and several new assistant coaches. So it’s taken a little bit of time just to get to know each other.
“The players are starting to understand what our expectations are and that’s been positive to see,” Lewis said.
Lewis not only brought into camp his energy and knowledge of the game but also certain goals to accomplish during the first couple weeks of practice. And so far, the to-do list has featured several checked off items.
“The first thing I want to see is comradery and we’ve seen that from the first day,” he said. “Next I want to figure out how good of a team we are. And by that I don’t mean how good are the players but how good of a team are we.
“I want to see them playing as a team on offense, defense and special teams. We can’t play as individuals and still be successful as a team.”
Lewis also wants to see the fight in their eyes and how they are going to take on different challenges – especially when things aren’t going their way.
“I want to see how they respond to adversity and how we battle through adversity,” he said. “Camp is a grind. It’s not easy. So how do we deal in those situations? Do we stand up or do we fold?”
The answers will tell Lewis exactly the type of football team he has to deal with and what challenges he has to overcome to put the Irish back on Playoff Road.