Bay Area Preps HQ football preview: No. 10 St. Francis – The Mercury News


Editor’s note: This is part of our monthlong football previews of teams and players.

MOUNTAIN VIEW — It’s hard to find a bigger enigma in the Bay Area than the football team at St. Francis.

The Lancers graduated 33 seniors after winning an outright West Catholic Athletic League title, with seven finding homes in FBS programs, including outside linebacker Joshua Pakola at Stanford.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever have another year like that,” coach Greg Calcagno said. “We’re going to miss them a ton and the guys that are working out right now know they’ve got some big shoes to fill and we’re going to go back to basics and try to win some games.”

To evaluate the next crop of talent, seven weeks of summer workouts began June 3.

“A lot of lifting, a lot of running, some 7-on-7 stuff,” said Calcagno, who will begin fall camp Friday. “Just trying to get a lot of experience for some kids that don’t have a whole lot.”

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Left tackle Mose Vavao, a three-star recruit, is one of the exceptions as a fixture on the offensive since his sophomore year, when the Lancers won a state title in 2017.

It’s one of the reasons he was chosen as a co-captain.

“We know this team is very young and we’re raw in terms of talent,” Vavao said. “We know this is going to be a hard-working offseason and that we need to stay focused and trust each other, because that’s one of the biggest things we do.

“We might lose, we might win, but we’ll be sound in our movements, technique and we’ll trust each other to do their job on the field.”

The only returning starter on defense is nose guard Afa Sanft, last year’s WCAL most valuable defensive lineman.

“He is an anchor for us,” Calcagno said. “He can rush the passer and he’s going to play some offense for us, too. He’s a difference-maker, for sure.”

Possible impact players on defense include juniors Carsten Rawls and Joe Tongamoa at linebacker. Rawls, who will also play wide receiver, is the reigning Central Coast Section wrestling champion in the 182-pound weight class, while Tongamoa is likely to be deployed at fullback or tight end.

The depth chart took another hit when running back Andre Bishop transferred to Menlo-Atherton. Candidates to replace him in the backfield could form a three-headed monster with sophomore Camilo Arquette, along with juniors Tylar Winston and Adonis Hernandez.

Regardless of who takes the handoff, Vavao will pave the way.

“There’s no doubt what we’re going to do,” Calcagno said. “We’re going to go over him.”

Quarterback Ryan Daly is another rare player with experience, forced into action under center after a knee injury to Jack Perry a month into last season.

“He came into a very, very difficult situation with Jack getting hurt and in game No. 5 he’s our starting quarterback,” Calcagno said.

Daly, the other co-captain, led the Lancers to eight straight wins before back-to-back brutal losses in the postseason, finishing with 15 touchdowns and three interceptions in a run-heavy offense.

“He’s pretty battle-tested,” Calcagno said. “He’s a leader that our guys are going to look to when we go on the road in some tough environments.”

No. 10 St. Francis

Last season: 11-3


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