Spaniol steps into big shoes at Cathedral
It’s been a while since Jake Spaniol last started a game at quarterback — since the eighth grade, in fact.
But it is Spaniol — a 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior — who has drawn the task of replacing Jeff Fasching under center at St. Cloud Cathedral this season.
“I can’t worry about what Jeff did,” said Spaniol of Fasching, the University of Minnesota baseball recruit who threw for 2,773 yards and 31 touchdowns last season while leading the Crusaders to a 6-5 record and the school’s first berth in a section title since 1993.
“I just have to make sure I’m doing what I need to do to make us a better football team.”
Spaniol did not play as a freshman or sophomore because of injury and was moved to wide receiver a year ago, though he did see some time at quarterback late in games.
But Cathedral coach Andy Auger expects he will quickly settle into the starting role.
“Jake’s a kid who’s always had leadership skills,” said Auger, who begins his second season as the Crusaders’ head coach. “Even going back to when he was young.
“We’re hopeful he’ll grab the bull by the horns and go with it. We know he understands what we’re trying to do offensively. So we have a lot of confidence in him.”
It will help that Cathedral returns four of five starters on the offensive line — making line play a real team strength at a school that has recently been better known for its talent at the skill positions.
“We actually ran out of linemen numbers this year, which is weird for us,” Auger said with a smile.
“We think our line is pretty far ahead of the game right now. And not just the starting five. We feel like we can play eight or nine guys up there over the course of a game.”
That depth up front will only assist the Crusaders in their effort to develop more of a balance between the run and pass.
And Cathedral’s roster is certainly filled with players who are used to taking part in big games.
Not only did the Crusaders reach the Section 5-3A title game a year ago, but five players on this year’s team were members of both the Cathedral baseball team — which won the Class 2A state title last spring — and the St. Cloud Chutes American Legion team — which recently advanced to the final of the Great Plains Regional.
“It helps that we have a lot of guys who are used to winning,” said senior Tommy Auger, a two-way starter who had a team-best 131 tackles at linebacker last season and caught 44 passes for 585 yards and seven touchdowns.
“We haven’t been on many teams growing up that expected to lose games. We’re used to being in pressure situations.”