Countdown to kickoff: Nolan Catholic Vikings

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Nolan Catholic

TAPPS Division I District 1

Last season: 10-4 (4-2 District 1)

TAPPS Division I state champions

Key players: TE Nick Boudreaux (5-11, 240), DB Frank Colin (5-8, 165), DT Jon King (6-2, 300), OL Will Elmer (5-10, 265), QB Jake Walden (6-1, 200), OL Joe Pina (6-0, 265), OL James Hill (5-10, 260), LB Dane Hucklebridge (6-2, 210)

The big picture: Nolan Catholic is seeking its fourth consecutive TAPPS Division I state championship. But the Vikings won’t be able to think ahead to another successful postseason run. That’s because Nolan opens the season with three nondistrict games against formidable public school programs: Lancaster, Everman and Saginaw. “We don’t know what to expect,” coach Joe Prud’homme said. “Every year is different. We’re playing a warhorse of a pre-district schedule. ... It’s a good primer for us.” Nolan’s offense and defense each returns five starters, plus a number of others who saw significant playing time in reserve roles last season. The Vikings buck the spread-option trend in favor of a physical, ground-based approach. Offensive linemen Will Elmer, Joe Pina and others should open plenty of holes for a bevy of ball carriers. “So many people want to throw, and they don’t have the ground and pound like we do,” Prud’homme said. The team’s top returning ground threat is quarterback Jake Walden, who rushed for 465 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore last season, and passed for another 578 and four scores. “He was a young quarterback, and we were trying to help him as a unit,” senior tight end Nick Boudreaux said. “As the games went on, he played better and better. He’s really an asset for us.” Defensive tackle Jon King and safety Frank Colin are two of the top playmakers on an experienced defense. Prud’homme cautions his players not to rest on past seasons’ triumphs. “They’re pretty humble. They know the challenges,” he said. “They know that it’s never easy.”

Quotable: “We want to be a ball-control offense, and I know that’s not what everybody does nowadays. They want to have the big plays and spread you out and run. We don’t have that kind of speed, so this is what we do.”

— coach Joe Prud’homme

“We have a bunch of hungry guys who are never satisfied with what we have. Everybody puts in the effort every single day.” — tight end Nick Boudreaux

“This year coaches are emphasizing that those other championships might have meant something. But there’s nothing like your senior year. If we win, this is our championship as a senior class.” — defensive back Frank Colin

Notable: Nolan’s Oct. 24 district game at Plano Prestonwood Christian is a rematch of last season’s state championship game that the Vikings won 24-21.

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