BSM football coach Jon Hanks helps lead team to success

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BSM football coach Jon Hanks helps lead team to success

Coach Hanks uses many strategies to help the team win.

Coach Hanks uses many strategies to help the team win.

Lauren Beh

Coach Hanks uses many strategies to help the team win.

Lauren Beh

Lauren Beh

Coach Hanks uses many strategies to help the team win.

Riley Miller, Staff Writer

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As the 2017 high school football season unravels, the BSM football team looks to defend their State Championship. Key pieces to their State victory, such as Eric Wilson and Ricky Floyd, have graduated, and now the Red Knights look for senior leadership to lead them back to US Bank Stadium for a chance to defend their crown.

The team faces the difficulty of playing with a target on their backs; everyone wants to beat the state champs. “We have the same expectations as last year, if not a little higher,” head coach Jon Hanks said.

Without Ricky Floyd, the Red Knights have adopted more of a passing game this year. Averaging just 89.4 yards per game last year in the passing game, they now have bumped that number up to 168.5 led by senior quarterback Tommy Anderson.

Despite the numbers in the rushing category dropping, seniors Liam Ford (last year’s State Championship game offensive star), Quinn Ehlen (lacrosse star playing football), and Gabe Jackson (wide receiver turned running back), look to continue Benilde-St. Margaret’s dominant running game. “Yes, we lost some superstars, but our core is back, if not better,” Hanks said.

Coach Hanks claims that their play isn’t much different than last year, despite their run heavy 2016 season. “It doesn’t [make a difference not having Wilson and Floyd], we just had two really special players and it just enhanced what we have been doing…..we will continue to do what we do,” Hanks said.

The team has certain steadiness between the running and passing game this season, but they also having a multitude of players at every position. This includes a receiving core led by seniors Gabe Alada, Henry Wolfe, Clyde Sellke, and Turner Wine, as well as junior John Landry and sophomore transfer Nick Peterson.

At the running back position, the Red Knights have four players with at least 25 carries (Ford at 71, Jackson at 27, and Ehlen at 78). Plus, the team has played with three quarterbacks in many of the games: Anderson, Tino Fialo, and Nick Peterson.

The Red Knights are not only putting in work on the field but also in the film room. The coaches study film of themselves and the opposing team all weekend and then once practice starts, the players watch film of their upcoming opponent and put together a scout team, so they are able to mimic the defensive and offensive looks the opponent brings to the table. “It helps us figure out how to attack them with our offense,” Hanks said.

Benilde-St. Margaret’s recent football success can be attributed to their off season program––FAST. This program works on players’ strength, agility, and speed four days of the week during the summer; the program was adopted eight years ago from the University of Wisconsin-Madison football team. The BSM football team is always looking for an edge to gain on its opponents and this training program has propelled them into elite shape. “It’s made a difference on how physical we are out there and how fast we are,” Hanks said.

As the season gets closer and closer to the Section tournament, Coach Hanks would like to see his squad carry on their motto of “playing hard and fast,” and continuing to get better every single day.

Hanks knows there are things the team can improve though. “We need to see more consistent blocking, tackling, and execution,” Hanks said.

The simple things are the most important factors to winning football games. It is everyone’s goal to win their last game of the season, but for Coach Hanks it is also about, “the journey, everyday grinding with the kids, that’s what’s neat about it”.

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