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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

New Coach Has High Hopes for St. Mary’s Football

Chris Dickson will be wearing different colors this season but his lofty expectations remain the same.

After coaching Lancaster High School to the Section VI Class AA playoffs in each of the last three seasons, Dickson has moved about five minutes down the road to St. Mary’s. And the veteran coach is ready to watch his new Lancers do some damage in the Monsignor Martin Association.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity here at St. Mary’s,” Dickson said during lunch break of a preseason practice. “The opportunity here is endless to build this program up and get this program where it needs to be, at the top of the MMA, is what we’re striving for.” Dickson is the fourth head coach in as many seasons for St. Mary’s. He replaces Nick Todaro, who led the Lancers to a 4-6 mark last season.

St. Mary’s has just 27 kids on the roster – only one of which is a senior – making it a challenge to compete with larger schools. But being the little guy has never been an acceptable excuse at St. Mary’s before and it certainly won’t be this time either. The coaches here have always taught us to never back down,” junior quarterback Matt Ciezki said. “Size doesn’t matter, it’s heart in the dog.”

After several strong seasons at the junior varsity level, Ciezki takes over under center for the big club this season. And he has huge shoes to fill.

The biggest challenge for Dickson and the Lancers will replacing all-star quarterback Takal Molson, who excelled all over the field for St. Mary’s last season as a senior.

“With Tak not being here, it’s hard to replace an athlete like that,” Dickson said. “But, you know what, I think the boys are up to the challenge. I think some of the guys that sat back last year watching now are getting the chance to get their reps. They’re looking forward to getting their opportunity.”

Ciezki said he’s excited to take on the challenge and extremely excited about the weapons at his disposal. A strong group of receivers includes the 6-foot-4 Dequon Hunt, the lone senior on this season’s roster. Junior running back Derek Johnson is also back after performing well at the varsity level last season. Juniors Ja’Shawn Collins and James Miller have also shown some skills in the preseason and are expected to be a focal point of the offense. Up front, the line on both sides of the ball will be led by junior Jake Lukasik.

Many of the names are the same on defense, with Miller and Collins leading a strong linebacker corps. As is the case for most small schools, the Lancers will look for players to go both ways.

“Obviously we have a smaller roster and a younger roster too,” Dickson said. “But the kids are working hard and putting in their time. My expctiation is just to compete. THese kids have that competitive attitude to them. Now we just have to get to work. We have to protect the football and be able to get the football back when we need it.” The Lancers open the season at 4 p.m. Sept. 3 against Hutch Tech at All-High Stadium. MMA play starts on Sept. 24 at Bishop Timon.

“We’ve just got to compete, bring everything we’ve got,” Hunt said. “We’re short on guys so we need everything out of everyone.”

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