The Falcons especially benefited last week with O’Daniel out resting some bumps and bruises. And with a tough Washington Catholic Athletic Conference slate ahead — beginning with a Saturday game at No. 19 Gonzaga (3-1) — Jones figures to be a major factor for the Falcons moving forward.
“He didn’t bicker, didn’t talk about the program, didn’t start quitting,” McFadden said. “He just took his [orders], came back out with a plan of attack and he’s rolling, man. It shows how you can overcome adversity.”
St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes turns to yoga
After going 1-8 in his first season as head coach at St. Stephens/St. Agnes, Bernard Joseph designed a different weekly schedule for his program heading into the 2012 season. Teams from around the region, he said, were viewing the Saints as an easy win a year ago, and to change that stigma, he needed his players to buy into a new system that promised new results.
So on Thursday afternoons, while other schools are typically running walk-through practices in preparation for weekend games, the Saints are indoors, in a room on campus taking an hour-long yoga session. No football, just meditation and relaxation, together. And Joseph believes it has been a major factor in the Saints’ surprising 3-0 start, not only cutting down on the cramping and injuries that snuck up on St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes a year ago, but also changing the way his program carries itself mentally on game day.
“I think its helped. We’re not cramping up as much, the kids are getting a little more flexible...I think its great for the school community,” Joseph said.
Joseph has had no problems persuading his players to buy into the yoga classes, and much of that is due to Darius Manora, who started yoga at the school a year ago and has led by example.
Manora’s play on the field has done plenty of talking as well. In Saturday’s 57-27 win over Bishop Ireton, the senior running back had 255 yards rushing and four touchdowns in what Joseph calls “one of the single most outstanding performances by a high school player I’ve ever seen.” Manora had touchdown runs of 60, 57, 68 and 26, and he also recorded an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was Manora’s second pick of the day, and his fourth of the season from his defensive back position.
“It’s been a long way coming, getting these guys the confidence over the past two years,” said Manora, a 4.2 GPA student who is drawing interest from all the Ivy League schools and the Naval Academy, among others. “I had a great game thanks to my guys up front, the freshmen lineman.”
The Saints are starting four freshman on the line - which could be the team’s greatest liability and its greatest asset. Joseph knows the front will be challenged in the weeks to come as the competition stiffens - the Saints play defending MAC champion Potomac School next week - but the atmosphere has changed this fall at St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, and the future is bright.