The St. Dominic Savio Eagles return to TAPPS in 2016 to a newly created Independent division that includes a playoff and nine regular season games. Savio has been a TAPPS school for years, however they played independent football the past few seasons. The Eagles finished 4-5 last year under head coach Joe Gutilla, who returns for his third season. Gutilla has compiled a 9-9 record as the Eagles’ coach.
Because the schools in the new division span the entire state, making games against each other difficult to schedule, a point system will be used to determine playoff seeding. Savio has scheduled several public schools as well as TAPPS Division III powerhouse Hallettsville Sacred Heart to kickoff the season. The Eagles will also travel to San Antonio to face Cornerstone Christian and play two games against Division III teams Brentwood Christian and Geneva School of Boerne. Fellow Independent division teams TMI and St. John XXIII are also on the schedule, a great opportunity to earn playoff points in the head-to-head matchups.
Ten starters (5 offense, 5 defense) return in 2016 to help Savio make a playoff push. Offensively, junior Clay Orrison will start at quarterback and have two extremely dangerous weapons at receiver in junior Mark Lacayo and Mitch Romero. Senior Cory Hofmeister will lead an otherwise young running back crew.
Up front, Savio is reconstructing their offensive line and has some experience to do so. Seniors Will Bradley and Grant Nolette anchor the line and will get help from juniors Patrick Nicholson and Brandon White. After the four upper classmen, the line is a bit undersized and lacks depth so playing healthy will be paramount for the Eagles.
On defense, two seniors, Bradley and Nate Carroll, will lead the line while senior Grant Nolette and junior Brandon White will lead the linebacker corps. The secondary will be strong for the Eagles as Lacayo, Romero, and junior Johnny McNaughton all return.
While athletic, Savio is not a deep football team in numbers and will have to play mostly injury-free ball and make few mistakes to make a deep playoff run. Like most teams, the line play will be a strong indicator of how successful Savio will be in 2016.
Teams in TAPPS Independent Division
Austin St. Dominic Savio
El Paso Cathedral
Houston The Village School
Irving The Highlands
Katy Saint John XXIII
San Antonio TMI
Key departures: Marty Sedlacek, George Miksch, J.R. Flores
Key returners: Mark Lacayo, Brandon White, Will Bradley, Grant Nolette, Skylar Robinson, Patrick Nicholson, Corey Hofmeister
|2016 St. Dominic Savio Schedule|
|8/26||@Hallettsville Sacred Heart|
|10/21||Katy St. John XXIII|
|10/28||SA Lee Academy|
Written by David Fuller; Photo by Texas High School Helmet Project