Ben Gaal ’14
Since the 2000s, the St. Edward football program has experienced the highest of highs, culminating in the team’s first State Championship in 2010, along with very low points and losing seasons without playoffs. Through the ups and downs of the last 14 seasons of St. Edward football, there has been one constant Eagles fans have been able to count on every season: physicality in the trenches. Since the 2000 season, offensive line coach Dan Scanlon ’95 has been putting forward one of the most physical and consistent offensive lines in the state year after year. After playing and graduating from John Carroll University, Coach Scans quickly returned to St. Ed’s in 1999 and began careers in the business office and football field that have lasted to today.
With the likes of Alex Boone ’05 (current guard for Super Bowl runner-up 49ers) and Kyle Kalis ‘11(guard for Michigan) and Tyler Orlosky ’11 (center for West Virginia), Coach Scans has had no problem coaching up big-time recruits. But what perhaps speaks most about his coaching ability and Holy Cross character has been the way he has still managed to produce some of the most productive offensive lines out of players who are not five star recruits or future NFL prospects. In his typical positive, calm, and assured attitude, Coach Scans teaches the fundamentals of the game to all players, whether they be sophomores, juniors, seniors, Varsity starters, or JV players. To quote Coach Finotti from a recent interview with St. Edward football beat writer Norm Weber, “He just implements the schemes and tailors them to their best attributes, building upon the players’ strengths.” Coach Scans possibly best demonstrated this ability last season with the offensive line of Team 64.
After the giant offensive lines of the graduating Classes of 2010 and 2011 were gone, fans, adversaries, and even those in the St. Edward community thought the cupboards were bare and the offensive line would hold the 2012 team back. But, trusting in five juniors who had never before started a Varsity game on the offensive line, Coach Scans worked throughout the offseason to develop sound fundamentals in the players and find schemes that complemented their attributes. The result was an offensive line that worked efficiently and powerfully with great camaraderie, leading to what was statistically the best offense in St. Edward history.
This year, Coach Scans doesn’t have a whole new offensive line of juniors to work with. Instead, he sees the whole starting line returning from last year as seniors in LT Jake Pruehs, LG Gage Blair, C Ben Gaal, RG Tyler King, RT Danny McManamon, and rotating guard Jackson Kirby. Looking to build on the dominance and coming-together of last year, Team 65’s offensive line players and Coaches Dan Scanlon and Mike Andrejack haven’t relaxed or lost their sense of urgency. Coach Scans knows what it takes to continue to develop a great offensive line, and sees that it’s not all there yet and Team 65’s line still hasn’t proven anything. But, come this weekend’s Home and Season Opener versus Glenville, fans can be assured that Coach Scans will have yet another great offensive line ready to play to win.