2019 Football Preview: Pontiac Notre Dame Prep

By: C & G Sports Staff | C&G Newspapers | Published August 7, 2019

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Last season’s record: 4-5
League: Independent
Returning starters: 14
First game: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29 vs. Linden High

Offensive keys:
The offense will be a veteran group this season as the unit returns seven starters. Quarterback Jacob Bendtsen is a key component. The junior was an All-State cornerback last season and started one game under center.

Prep coach Pat Fox said he needs Bendtsen to have a good year.

“We’re a spread offense; we run and throw,” the coach said. “For us to be good, our quarterback must produce. We expect him to be very good.”

Other players expected to take on large roles are running back Connor Gaeschke and offensive lineman Nalin Fox.

Defensive keys:
Prep has seven starters returning on defense. In order to see defensive success this season, Fox wants the team to focus in on the fundamentals.

“We need to stop the run and be competent defending the pass,” Fox said. “We need to rally to the ball and create turnovers.”

Key players on defense include linebacker Alex Whalen, cornerback Caleb Webb, safety Clayton Bone and defensive end Blake Bur.

Coach’s outlook:
Finishing last season with a sub-.500 record and missing the playoffs was a disappointment in Fox’s eyes. The coach, however, is optimistic for this upcoming season and said the team has a chance to greatly improve upon that mark.

“We worked real hard this offseason, and our kids put in a ton of time,” Fox said. “Our scrimmage was pretty successful, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”


vs. Linden High (4-5) — 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29
The 2019 opener will mark the first meeting between the Eagles and Fighting Irish. Before missing out last season, Linden had made the playoffs every year since 2002.

vs. Muskegon Catholic Central (3-6) — 7 p.m. Sept. 6
The Crusaders and Fighting Irish met for the first time last season. Prep won the game 21-7.

at Dearborn Divine Child (4-5) — 7 p.m. Sept. 13
These two teams last met in 2015. In that matchup, Notre Dame Prep came away with the 35-25 win.

vs. Berkley High (2-7) — 7 p.m. Sept. 20
After three consecutive years of postseason contention, the Bears have missed the playoffs the past two seasons. When Berkley and Prep last got together, in 2016, the Irish came away with the 26-3 win.

vs. Detroit Leadership Academy (4-5) — 7 p.m. Sept. 27
This year will mark just the fourth season in program history for the Cougars. Detroit Leadership has a 8-18 overall record through three seasons.

at Guerin Catholic (Indiana) — 7 p.m. Oct. 4
The Fighting Irish will be looking for revenge when these two teams meet. Guerin Catholic beat Prep last year 31-14.

vs. Milford High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Oct. 11
The Mavericks have not made the playoffs or had a winning season since 2012 and have surrendered exactly 340 points each of the last two seasons. Milford and Prep will play each other for the first time this season.

vs. Detroit Public Safety Academy (7-3) — 7 p.m. Oct. 18
In just their third year as a program, the Eagles won seven games and made the playoffs. Despite the recent success, the Eagles are 0-2 against the Fighting Irish and were unable to score a point in either game.

at Troy Athens (1-8) — 7 p.m. Oct. 25
From 2017 to 2018, the Red Hawks scored six fewer points offensively but allowed 60 fewer points on defense. Athens has not made the playoffs since 2011 and has had just one winning season since that year.

Schedule provided by mhsaa.com and historical data provided by michigan-football.com.