Scout stopped at the school on Tuesday in the midst of a three-hour practice the team held in preparation for this weekend's showdown.
Senior QB Ricaro Johnson
Leading the way this season has been senior quarterback Ricardo Johnson. In his first season as starter, Johnson has played well and is looking to continue to catch the attention of college coaches.
"I'm hearing from Wisconsin, Michigan State, SMU, and Army," Johnson said. "The senior year has been great. We have a very close knit team, we had some early injuries and players missing, but we are now at full strength and we are playing our best football. I really feel the coaching staff trusts what we are doing on the field and as a result we bring a different looking offense to each game depending on the opponent. We have lofty goals, but whatever happens I am very proud of what we've accomplished this year."
After several highly regarded seniors graduated, some may have wondered if Cretin would struggle moving the ball this year, but Johnson is proud of how his teammates have responded.
"Last season we had a very talented group of players and lost three receivers and a quarterback that are playing in college and yet after the fifth game of this season we passed the total yards passing last season. We do not have on the offense a group of high profile guys, but we are a cohesive unit. We believe in one another and we give it our all day in and day out. As a captain of this team, that's all one could ask for in a senior season, other than a state championship of course."
On a team full of great players, head coach Mike Scanlan says the one being slept on is Blake Banham. Having played multiple positions in other years, he has been the team workhorse at tailback this year and has made several highlight reel runs.
Banham told Scout he continues to hear from several schools including Northern Iowa, North Dakota, and others. He also has been in touch with Minnesota, where his older brother plays football and sister is on the basketball team.
Speaking of brotherly connection, senior Tim Gordon, a cornerback with an offer from North Dakota, has a younger brother coming up in junior free safety Rayon Gordon who is also looking to make a name for himself.
Then there is junior Jashon Cornell, who the entire country is recruiting. The 6-foot-4 and now 260-pound defensive end is continuing to field interest from the nation's top programs, but he says right now, the only program he is worried about is Stillwater.
"It's a big game obviously because they beat us on national T.V.," he said. "After that game, they've been struggling. They lost their last five games but they're still up one on us. Right now, in my mind, the score is 0-0 and we will play them like any other team. I still think their team is there to compete and you never know, they can surprise you at any time."
Johnson, one of the team's leaders, says his junior teammate is spot on with his assessment.
"The rematch with Stillwater is very big. We haven't lost a game since we played them and, their season has not gone as I imagine they planned since that game. Both teams recognize Friday is an opportunity to reintroduce ourselves. The challenges we faced against them hasn't changed; they are big up front, well coached and have great team leaders in their quarterback and lead running back. We will have to reduce or eliminate our penalties and play our very best to beat them. Every coach, player and fan is focused on doing just that."
Cretin-Derham Hall takes on Stillwater at home on Friday at 7:00 p.m.