Last season was a memorable one for the Fighting Irish of Father Gabriel Richard and only an injury or two away from being historic. FGR was Catholic League Prep Bowl finalists and reached the MHSAA state playoffs after an impressive season in which they went 7-3 overall on the season.
But change is in the air at FGR – both on the field and on the sideline.
Brian Lewis, who coached last year’s team, has moved on to coach in Plymouth and Deacon Dave Lawrence is taking over a young but talented and always hard-playing roster. Lawrence certainly isn’t new to the program and his familiarity with the players and the program will make for an easy transition.
The former head football coach at Mattawan High School near Kalamazoo, Lawrence coached special teams and several different positions at FGR before this year. He will be quite comfortable wearing the head set and calling the shots for the Fighting Irish.
Last year’s misfortune should help going forward this year. After the Fighting Irish’s two starting quarterbacks were hurt last year, they called up sophomore Greg Kendziky to take over. It was learning on the fly for the young quarterback who more than held his own on the varsity team.
This year, the now junior Kendziky is the starter and has plenty of time to get used to the position. He also has varsity experience in his back pocket.
“Greg will take over at quarterback,” Lawrence said. “He was brought up to varsity to start our opening round playoff game after both our senior QB’s were hurt last year.”
The key to success for the Fighting Irish?
“We will need to mature quickly,” Lawrence says. “Our strengths are at receiver, running back and defensive back.”
Key players returning for FGR include seniors Alex Winnie, Charlie Falvey, Connor Ostrowski and Rob Smith.
FGR opens the season at 6 p.m. on Aug. 23 at Toledo Scott.