Scottsdale’s NDP remains hopeful in week 6 match-up

Last week, the Notre Dame Preparatory football team played its first varsity football game in the new Bemis Field, named for NDP’s first football coach, Scot A. Bemis.

The Saints (2-3) fell to Sunnyslope High School (4-1) in the debut, 34-7.

This week, the Saints take on Shadow Mountain (2-3) in their second home game and head coach Mark Nolan says the Saints should settle in to their new home quicker, while continuing to grow.

“I see our guys settling in and playing well this week,” Coach Nolan said in a Sept. 27 phone interview. “We’re at a position in this program where we’ve got a stadium that’s magnificent and awesome and the construction of that is complete. The construction of our team isn’t. We’re still growing up, we’re still working through kinks and we’re still building that championship tradition and expectations. We’ll get there, we’re improving but we’re not quite there yet.”

The Saints’ leading rusher, junior Kyle Soelle (35 carries, 200 yards, four touchdowns) says the youthful team may have had some nerves heading into the home opener, but he expects the nerves to go away this time around.

“We were already used to the stadium, practicing in it and everything,” Soelle said in a Sept. 28 phone interview. “I think with the crowd and everything, the young guys may have had some nerves. This week, I think we’ll be fine.”

Nolan says the Saints will continue to use their two-quarterback system featuring sophomore Kylan Weisser and junior Cameron Yowell this season and into the future.

“We like to run two quarterbacks in practice, we like to run two quarterbacks in games,” Nolan said. “If you play two quarterbacks, you can have two quarterbacks. If you only play one, you only have one.”

Through five games, according to MaxPreps.com, Weisser has thrown for 507 yards and four touchdowns on 47-of-80 passing; he also has thrown five interceptions. Yowell has completed 25-of-53 passes for 324 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

On Friday, passing will be the focus for the Saints’ defense, as the Matadors have a quarterback in junior Darion Spottsville who has thrown for 1,227 yards through his first five games. Spottsville has tossed 14 touchdowns and four interceptions this season.

Spottsville is also the leading rusher for Shadow Mountain, as he has rushed for 117 yards on 47 carries for two touchdowns.

His favorite targets are senior wide receiver Jake Welsheimer (25 receptions, 582 yards, five touchdowns) and junior wide receiver Jordan Pace (21 receptions, 360 yards, eight touchdowns).

Coach Nolan says the Saints will work on their game plan this week in practice and focus on moving forward as a team.

“They’re a good opponent,” he said. “We’re going to practice this week like we do each week to know our assignments and execute our schemes. We’re going to continue to push that envelope to get not only our starters, but all of our roster on the improvement plan and continue to get better.”

Notre Dame senior linebacker Tyler Taffuri says the Saints need to enter section play with confidence in order to get back to .500 on the season.

“We just need to regain some confidence heading into our section,” Taffuri said in a Sept. 28 phone interview. “We know that if we can win the section, we can make the playoffs and that’s our goal.”

Notre Dame Prep faces off against Shadow Mountain at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2, at home, 9701 E. Bell Rd. in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Independent Sports Correspondent Justin Maskulinski can be contacted at jmaskulinski@newszap.com. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/Maskulinski.

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