After winning their second straight WCAC Championship last November, St. John’s Football can expect a conference of determined opponents who will be looking to knock them off the throne. Their 2023 campaign will feature its usual battles against local opponents, but they will also face off against four out-of-state teams that players and fans may not be as familiar with. Here, we will analyze those four matchups, three of which will take place on the road.
The Cadet’s travel down to South Florida in the season opener on August 26, where they face the American Heritage Patriots. Heritage, who participates in 2M District 12 football, was absolutely dominant during their 2022-2023 season, easily winning their district and finishing the season at 13-2. In their three regular season division games, the Patriots allowed only 2 points. Their success carried into the playoffs, in which they went all the way to the FHSAA 2M Championship. It was there where they finally met their demise, suffering a heartbreaking loss to Miami-Central, who finished as the #2 ranked team in the entire nation. High School Football America has American Heritage as the #16th ranked team in the country going into 2023. As the season approaches, St. John’s has a very daunting task awaiting them in Week 1.
Things don’t get much easier from there. The second non-conference game will take place on September 9, when St. John’s makes the hike up to Brooklyn, New York to take on Erasmus Hall. Last year, Erasmus Hall took home their fourth consecutive PSAL Championship. Their season was dominant from top to bottom, as the Dutchmen went undefeated in league play and 10-2 overall.
On September 23, Mission Viejo will make the cross-country trip from Southern California to DC to take on the Cadets. Mission Viejo is coming off a 10-2 season in which it won its division with ease. After winning in the first round of the state playoffs, the Diablos were routed by the eventual national high school champions, St. John Bosco. The St. John’s defense should have their hands full in this game. Last year, Mission Viejo averaged an astounding 40.4 points/game.
The final out-of-conference game that St John’s will play in this year is against Massillon Washington High School out of Massillon, Ohio. The Tigers, who are part of the Freelance Conference, went 12-2 in 2022 and made it all the way to the OHSAA State semifinals where they lost to Archbishop Hoban. With eight defensive players and eight offensive players returning in 2023, it’s a solid bet that they will be another tough opponent for St. John’s.