Coach: Mike Brodowicz, fifth season (58-4)
2017 Record: 16-0, 7-0 in Southern Carolina Conference
Returning Starters: Offense, 7; Defense, 8
Is it possible the unbeaten defending champs can be even better? The Cougars certainly think they can be. This team is loaded with big, imposing linemen, a seasoned quarterback, sure tacklers and a three-headed monster in the backfield to back up that optimism.
The traditional Wing-T offense has gone through some changes under Brodowicz, but it’s still the Cougars’ bread and butter. Running back/receiver Michael Neel gained over 1,000 total yards last season, and three-back Lamagea McDowell is an imposing runner in his own right with nearly 1,000 yards a season ago. They’re joined by JV call-up Paul Neel, who ran for over 2,000 yards on an unbeaten JV team last year.
Up front, the Cougars are loaded. Billy Hambrook, Malik McGowen and Luke Gagnon anchor the offensive line. They are all next-level prospects.
When Catholic does go to the air, they will be dangerous.
Quarterback Christopher Walton threw for 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns as a freshman. He’ll lean on Michael Neel and Garrett McKernan, who will line up everywhere including tight end.
The Cougars defense allowed less than 10 points per game, and this unit may be even better.
Up front, Ari Rodriguez is a ball carrier’s worst nightmare. He’s joined by fellow next-level talents Kevin Koss and Providence transfer Nick King.
Billy Brewer slides into the middle linebacker spot after making 95 tackles last season. He joins Ty Foley, who recorded 93 tackles.
The secondary is another strength, with leading tackler and Davidson commit Brian Jacobs back in tow. Adam Robbe will start at the other safety. Sam Boll and Joseph Satori will also figure in the mix.
Drew Morais is back to handle the kicking duties, and he’s a weapon. Jacobs and Michael Neel will handle most of the returns.