After a roller coaster football season, Jesuit’s future looks bright

In a season permeated with upset wins, historic losses, and injuries, it’s difficult not to ponder what the Jesuit High School Marauders’ football season could have been.

Jesuit’s season took an unpredicted turn before it even began when the Marauders found out their projected starting quarterback, Daniel Susac ’20, would miss some time due to injury. Without Daniel, Jesuit lost the first three games of the season, including a stinging defeat in the Holy Bowl to longtime rival Christian Brothers High School for the first time in nine years. 

Upon Daniel’s return, Jesuit became a different team, winning five of its next seven games. In one of those wins, Jesuit upset Elk Grove High School, who was ranked No. 6 in the area at the time. 

The team’s success earned them the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in the Division II Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs. Jesuit defeated No. 5 seeded Central Catholic High School in the second round, but lost to No. 9 seeded Whitney High School by a field goal with a minute to go in the semifinal game.

Not only did the loss end Jesuit’s season, it denied them a crack at EGHS in the Section Championship, a team the Marauders proved they could defeat. 

Although Jesuit missed a shot at a Section Title, wide receiver Jagger Saca ’20 is satisfied with what his team achieved. 

I am proud that our team never quit,” Jagger said. “After Holy Bowl, many people had already given up on our season. No one thought we would make it as far as we did. Although it was disappointing because we could’ve made it further, I am still proud and appreciative of what we were able to accomplish.” 

Jagger is one of Jesuit’s 19 seniors who played important roles this season. While the loss of some of the team’s best players and leaders will hurt the team next year, Jesuit has plenty of talented players returning for the 2020 season.

These players include important offensive contributors such as running back Ace Saca ’21, who led the team in touchdowns, Kai Santos ’22, one of the Jesuit’s primary running backs before getting injured, and wide receivers Nate Lewis ’21 and Jake Hall ’21, who made a combined eight touchdowns and more than 800 receiving yards. 

Jesuit will remain strong on defense as defensive backs Roman Canaan ’21 and Garrett McGriff ’22, who led the Marauders in interceptions, will be back for next season. Also returning will be linemen Noah Clay ’21 and Carsen Keim ’21, who should be a pass-rushing tandem to watch. 

Another player who will be back, lineman Jack Hemmert ’22, believes competing at the varsity level helped him improve his skills.

“As a sophomore, playing varsity football has helped me develop as a player physically and mentally,” Jack said. “My knowledge and IQ for the game has advanced. Also, my strength and conditioning has increased during my time playing. My time in Jesuit’s football program, especially at the varsity level, is helping me develop into the great football player I strive to be everyday.”

While the returning players offer some certainty that Jesuit will be good next year, there’s still one question. Who will be next season’s quarterback?

Right now, it looks likely to be Jake Peluso ’21 or Charlie King ’22, who competed for the position when Daniel was out with an injury. 

Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the Marauders will hit the ground running next season as they attempt to win a Section Championship.