St. Aloysius hitting stride headed into division opener

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2000

St. Aloysius has found home-cooking good this season.

But on Friday, the Flashes take to the road again in their division opener against a winless Madison St. Joe (0-5) team.

The Flashes (2-3) are coming off an emotional victory over Cathedral, the team’s second straight win this season at newly refurbished Balzli Field-Farrell Stadium.

So it looks like the team could be finding its stride at just the right time, coach Jim Taylor said.

“The win last week put a little wind back in our sails, being that is was Cathedral and they were a good football team,” said Taylor, who has won three straight over Class 2A Cathedral. “We were also better prepared for that game more than any other. I think that stresses to our players the importance of preparing.”

In the grand scheme of Division 7-1A, St. Joe does not pose as big a threat as other teams.

In last year’s meeting, the Flashes dismantled an overmatched Bruins’ team, 48-14. To put that many points on the board this week, though, the Flashes will have to do it without leading rusher Michael Strickland.

Strickland, who left the game against Cathedral midway through, has not practiced this week and will miss the St. Joe game with an injured shoulder. He has 366 yards on the young season.

Clay Simmons and Michael Mazzanti, who Taylor said had their best defensive games last week, will fill in for Strickland on a defense that has been the Flashes’ most reliable weapon.

“We’ve been doing more things we need to do to win football games,” Taylor said. “We’ve had more and more people step up.”

The most comforting thought for Taylor may be the fact that the team will take its first road trip without a sweltering bus ride.

The opening three games of the year, all with pre-game temperatures in the upper-90s, caused problems to and from the games on buses without air-conditioning.

“It was some kind of hot,” Taylor said. “It was hard to keep a good attitude about the heat and it was a real problem for the kids.”

The forecast calls for cool temperatures on Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Madison.

“Regardless of how good they are, this is still a game we have to win,” Taylor said. “Anybody can beat you on any given day, so we’re not preparing for them as if they were down. We’re preparing for them as another team on our schedule.”