SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Catholic Bears

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Catholic Bears
Catholic head coach Gabe Fertitta (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Sportsline Summer Camp stop No. 2 was a visit to the Catholic High Bears, last year’s Division I runners-up.

Catholic has beefed up the schedule with a game against IMG Academy out of Florida.

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Catholic Bears - Part 1
SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Catholic Bears - Part 2

The Friday before schools could start summer workouts, Catholic High already had its equipment out and ready to go for Monday. It was somewhat symbolic of a team that couldn’t wait to get back to work after coming so close to winning last year’s title game before falling 14-10 to hometown favorite, Rummel, in New Orleans.

Although head coach Gabe Fertitta and the Bears lost lots of stars, including a pair of Warrick Dunn Award finalists at running back and quarterback off the 12-1 team from 2019, the cupboard isn’t bare.

Quarterback Landon O’Connor had lots of reps as the backup to starter Jackson Thomas and O’Connor knows his role’s importance.

Almost a mirror image of O’Connor’s progression is running back George Hart. Fertitta likes to say the ball carrier worked his turn, rather than just waiting. He and O’Connor already have a connection, having played JV ball together.

There is at least one new wrinkle to the offense that’s not really new. There’s a new in-coming offensive coordinator, 65-year-old Norm Joseph.

On the defensive side of the ball, Catholic made a dramatic improvement with takeaways, including 19 interceptions. The defensive backfield returns pretty much intact, with big playmakers like Josh Robertson.

The quarterback of this year’s bears defense will once again be three-year starter defensive back Michael Cerniauskas, who’s headed to West Point after heading to the end zone a couple of times as a junior playmaker.

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