Victoria Advocate On-Line

Season of change
St. Paul adjusting to new system

Thursday August 8, 2002
Mike Forman, Victoria Advocate Sports Writer

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SHINER - Jimmy Cox knew he was in for a change when he left Brenham to become the head football coach at St. Paul. St. Paul will shift to the wing-T with Justin Matias, front, at quarterback and Eric Patek, left, and John Paul Patek at running back.

"The biggest difference I can see is the number of kids going both ways," Cox said. "I'm kind of concerned about our conditioning."

St. Paul will shift to the wing-T with Justin Matias, front, at quarterback and Eric Patek, left, and John Paul Patek at running back.
Conditioning is only one of Cox's concerns as he takes over for Don Hamel, who resigned last spring after nine seasons at St. Paul.

An even bigger concern for Cox is installing a new offensive system. St. Paul will shift to a wing-T set after operating primarily out of the I- formation last season.

"Right now we're concentrating on putting in the system," Cox said. "Our offense is totally new. Some of the defense will be the same, we'll just bring in some different packages."

St. Paul will not only be going to a new offense this season, it will do so with a different quarterback. Logan Ondrusek, last year's starter, has decided not to play football this season. Junior Justin Matias has become the new signal caller and Cox is pleased with what he's seen.

"Justin is the one who's shown he's picked up the system the best," Cox said. "He can both run and pass, which is pretty important in this offense for a quarterback."

Matias will share the backfield with running backs John Paul Patek and Eric Patek - of whom Cox said, "Those two, they're players" - while Cox decides on a wingback, who will be used primarily as a blocker.


HEAD COACH; Jimmy Cox, first season overall.
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 8-4 overall, 4-1 in TAPPS District 2-2A.
RETURNING STARTERS: 14 (7 offensive, 7 defensive).
LAST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE: 2001 - lost to Rockwall Christian 54-7 in semifinal.
STRENGTHS: Experience and speed.
WEAKNESS: Lack of familiarity with system.
Guard John Aschenbeck is the lone true starter returning on the offensive line, but Rayce Wurz is back at center after an injury kept him out most of last year.

Cox is also counting on guards Will Pekar and Cody Mraz and tackles Chris Pohler and Blake Mikesh to make the offensive line a team strength. "I'm pretty happy with what we have," Cox said of his offensive line. "Size-wise we're looking pretty good."

Cox's main focus on offense is finding receivers, who will be able to take some of the pressure off the running game.

"We've got to move some people around," Cox said. "Getting people in the right position is where the key is going to be. It's a matter of finding out where they best fit into the system."

Cox is likely to do some shifting around on the defensive line, which must be totally rebuilt.

The remainder of the defense should be solid with the return of Eric Patek at linebacker and Matias, John Paul Patek and Cameron Kresta in the secondary.

Date   Time    Team                     Last Year

8/29   7:30    Texas School for the Deaf      DNP
9/6    7:30    Louise                         DNP
9/13   7:30    at Flatonia                    DNP
9/20   7:30    at S.A. Cornerstone            DNP
9/27   7:30    Fort Bend Baptist              DNP
10/4   7:30    at St. Joseph                  DNP
10/12  7:30    Concordia Lutheran            27-7
10/18  7:30    Bryan Alien Academy            DNP
10/26  4:30  * at Sacred Heart               0-52
11/1   7:30    at La Marque Abun. Life       58-6
11/8   7:30    Round Rock Christian          55-0

             * TAPPS District 3-2A game          

"The biggest thing we need to do defensively," Cox said, "is to do a better job of reading our keys."

Cox promises the Cardinals will be more aggressive on defense this season and plans to set the tone in practice.

"Depth is an issue," Cox said. "But we're going to get after it and be physical in practice and take that over into games."

St. Paul finished second in district to Sacred Heart last season and advanced to the TAPPS Class 2A semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Rockwall Christian.

Even with only six seniors on the roster, Cox is convinced the Cardinals have an opportunity to be even better.

"There is some talent here," Cox said. "When they learn the new system and learn they have to be aggressive, they have a chance to be pretty good."

Mike Forman is a sports writer for The Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at

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