Lewis, Stapleton talk Jesuit football

By: Zachary Manning | C&G Newspapers | Published December 2, 2020

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DETROIT — While the record may show the University of Detroit Jesuit football team had a subpar season, coach Matt Lewis knows that’s not the case.

The Cubs finished the year with a 3-5 overall record, but they were a highly competitive group. They had to forfeit a game in the middle of the season and lost the four other games by a total of 34 points.

Three of Jesuit’s losses came to opponents that were still playing in the state playoffs prior to the halt in play. Not counting the forfeit, the opponents in Jesuit’s four losses had a combined record of 21-11.

That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement, but Lewis knows his group played far better than the record may indicate. He is proud of the way his guys battled, despite the ongoing challenges teams faced this year.

“I was proud of them. I was proud of their effort,” Lewis said. “Their resilience, the way they didn’t back down to any challenge. We took on all comers. We traded some games during the season for some big-time opponents. We took on all comers, and our kids never batted an eye. I was really proud of them for that. I was proud of them for overcoming things that no team in U of D history has ever had to overcome with the pandemic.”

A key ingredient to Jesuit’s ability to stay in games was the play of the defense, which allowed opponents to score just under 15 points per game.

The unit was spearheaded by senior Adam Stapleton, who topped the team in tackles and tied for the team lead in sacks. Magnuson Lott and Nick Kouza were the other sack leaders.

Outside of Stapleton, JonMarcus Roland and Drew Kremhelmer were flying to the football as they tied for second on the team in tackles.

Offensively, the Cubs found a balance on the ground and through the air. In total, they ran for 871 yards and threw for 650.

Aaron Richard led the team in rushing with 424 yards and three touchdowns. Patrick McVeigh collected 331 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

Through the air, McVeigh had 354 yards and four touchdowns, while Nathan Brown had 296 yards and three touchdowns. Their favorite receivers were Chris Mutebi, who finished with 248 yards and two touchdowns, and Shawn Smith, who collected 154 yards and two touchdowns.

“Our defense is a very good defense,” Stapleton said. “We kind of rely on our defense every game. We respond well to different challenges. All around, we’re good on pass, good on run.”

Jesuit has had strong teams in the past, but Lewis is hoping to build the program into a consistent winner that reloads instead of rebuilds.

He mentioned this year’s group left a legacy of toughness and showed future groups that Jesuit is going to play hard and make every opponent earn everything they get.

“U of D football will back down to nobody. We’re going to battle anybody, anytime, anywhere,” Lewis said. “Teams know now that when they play U of D, they’re going to be in for a 48-minute dogfight. When they play U of D, it’s going to be a battle. We might not win every game, but we know that we’re going to go out there and compete.”