Blue Jays’ Scrimmage on Thursday Will Show Coaches Strengths and Weaknesses

Posted August 17, 2016 / Last updated August 25, 2016

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Kickoff Against McDonogh 35 Is 5 PM at Tad Gormley Stadium

Coach Songy talks to the team following practice on Wednesday, April 18, at John Ryan Stadium.

Coach Songy talks to the team following practice on Tuesday, August 16, at John Ryan Stadium.

View the 2016 Jesuit Varsity Football Schedule

View the 2016 Jesuit Varsity Football Roster

A scrimmage between the Blue Jays and the Roneagles of McDonogh 35 on Thursday, August 18, will give Jesuit football fans a first look at their team — at least since the annual spring game last May — as the 2016 varsity season gets underway.

The Jays and the Roneagles line up against each other at 5 p.m. at Tad Gormley Stadium. Admission is $5 for adults and non-Jesuit students and $1 for Jesuit and McDonogh students with IDs (children ages 6 – 11 are also $1 each).

Junior Alex Watermeier (left) and senior Denny McGinnis are competing for a starting quarterback role.

Junior Alex Watermeier (left) and senior Denny McGinnis are competing for a starting job as Jesuit’s quarterback.

“I’m just really anxious to see us play,” said head coach Mark Songy. “I know we have some weaknesses in some spots, but you look at those and you always try to get better… I think we have depth and that’s critical. You go through a season and schedule like we play and you got to have depth because guys are going to get nicked up. From time to time, they’re going to miss a couple of plays and, God forbid, a ball game. We’re deep enough to where we can substitute some guys and hopefully not miss a beat.”

Jesuit’s varsity team this season features a hefty roster of 103 players, including 36 seniors, 21 juniors, 30 sophomores, and 16 freshmen.

Coach Songy said the scrimmage against McDonogh has the Blue Jays excited.

“This is the first time we’re going out against somebody else since the spring,” he said, adding, “I like what we did in the spring (against De La Salle). I like how we’ve been working. I think we’re really stale right now because we’ve been beating on each other for two weeks.”

Coach Songy described the Roneagles as a “quality opponent.” In last year’s pre-season scrimmage at John Ryan Stadium, Coach Songy admitted that McDonogh embarrassed the Blue Jays.

“They came out and took it to us pretty good,” he recalled. “They came to play and we did not. I think the scrimmage tells you a whole lot about how the rest of the year is going to go. Some of the same things that you see in a scrimmage you see later on in Week 10. It might be the same mistakes you’re making, might be guys doing things that you need to catch in the scrimmage and you see later on in the year. We’re going to make some mistakes and we’re going to try to correct them.”

Coach Songy observed that the 36 seniors on the squad are a “spirited bunch,” adding, “I don’t know if we have one standout leader, but I think we have maybe 30 that realize what’s on the line. They realize that they want to turn things around a little bit and get back to how we were in 2014.”

That was the year the Blue Jays captured the school’s first state championship since 1960.

The scrimmage could well determine which of the two leading candidates for quarterback will solidify their position: Senior Denny McGinnis (8) and junior Alex Watermeier (12) have been battling to win a starting quarterback role since practice began last spring. Maginnis and Watermeier “are stepping up and simply working real hard, and competing with each other every day,” noted Coach Songy. “I think it just needs to play itself out. We’re going to play the best guy and that’s the bottom line.”