Cascia Hall welcomes move up
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Monday, May 21, 2012
5/21/12 at 4:46 AM
Cascia Hall is ready for its next challenge.
After a combined five football titles in Class 2A and 3A, the Commandos will make the jump to 4A in the fall as the result of a new Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association rule.
"We're very comfortable moving up to 4A with this group of kids," coach Joe Medina said. "I think we can compete and go make the playoffs, and our goal is always to win a state championship."
The controversial rule affects select successful programs at non-public schools. It was approved last summer and went into effect for the 2011-12 school year for all sports except football.
"The reason we're up is because we've dominated 3A, and so it's time to play new teams," Medina said. "Every time they've moved us up, we've been successful.
"I don't think there's any reason to not expect to be successful here in this class."
For the players, the new territory brings excitement.
"We're the first class to do it (play in 4A)," running back Abrm McQuarters said. "We're looking forward to the challenges and just to quiet some naysayers."
Cascia Hall has made the playoffs for 25 straight seasons and advanced to the championship game in five of the past seven years, including a 35-18 loss against Anadarko for the 3A title in December.
Tate Swab and Bryce Carter are the team's quarterbacks after the graduation of two-year starter Thomas Rouse.
"I think for the first time ever in my career, we'll probably play two quarterbacks," Medina said. "The one that isn't in is going to play wide receiver, so both of those guys will be on the field offensively."
The Commandos will continue to make their living running the football, with McQuarters as starter, Camden Cecchini contributing, and Broc Smith and Charles Cook at fullback.
Three-year starters Brett Asher and Ryan Nigh will anchor the offensive line.
The traditionally tough Blue Swarm defense lost some key starters, but again will have a strong front behind linemen Parker A'Neal and Turner Chesbro.
"(Chesbro) is the biggest kid we've had here in a while," his coach said. "He's about 295 pounds and he's got great feet. He finished third in the state in wrestling (at heavyweight). He's athletic for a big man."
Swab, who also plays cornerback, will bring crucial experience to the secondary. In his best performance last year, he held Oklahoma City Heritage Hall star Sterling Shepard to 54 receiving yards.
Special teams has been a strong suit for Medina's teams, but record-setting kicker Erik Testa is gone.
"Biggest hole we have to replace is Erik Testa, without a doubt," Medina said. "He's just going to be so hard to replace. ... That just means that our kickoff coverage has to be that much better."
2011 record: 14-1 (Class 3A runner-up)
Coach: Joe Medina (14th season, 152-18)
The Commandos will compete in Class 4A for the first time in program history. They lost a lot of talent from last year but will have a major advantage in size, while depth is a concern.
Senior Tate Swab and junior Bryce Carter will split time at quarterback. Both will contribute at receiver and on defense. Carter also will be the team's punter for a third season.
Lineman Brett Asher recently placed fourth in the discus at the 4A state track meet, and lineman Turner Chesbro took third in the state wrestling tournament in February.
Cascia Hall again opens the season against rival Holland Hall and has won five of the last six in the series.
Aug. 31: Holland Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7: at Glenpool, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14: at Edison, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21: Stilwell, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28: at Sallisaw, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5: Muldrow, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12: Poteau, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: at Fort Gibson, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 25: at Rogers, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2: Broken Bow, 7:30 p.m.
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
Cascia Hall's Ryan Nigh (left), Brett Asher, Parker A'Neal, Tate Swab, and Turner Chesbro expect to be top contributors for the Commandos this fall. KT KING / Tulsa World