The Golden Lions opened the 2012 season with a roster brimming with the ever unpredictable combination of talent and inexperience.
Ten games later — with a region championship in tow — Standard was there wondering just how far this bunch will go.
All the way, provided they continue to peak while playing mistake-free football, he surmised.
“This group right here, I’m not going to say they exceeded expectations because our expectation is to compete for a region championship every year,” said Standard. “But, I will say that these young men have grown tremendously … they’re confident and have attained our first goal.”
Any hopes of flying under the radar this season while the Golden Lions underwent their on-field maturation dissipated with each win. St. Pius finished the regular season with an 8-2 mark, aided by a collective of eventual All-Region players and a solid supporting cast.
On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Jack Spear has looked like a proven veteran instead of a first-year starter. His presence plus that of fellow All-Region selections, running back Ryan Braswell and O-linemen, David Marsau and Phineas Andrews, virtually assures that the Golden Lions will be in every game the rest of the way.
On defense, St. Pius has studs in each unit — including All-Region honorees, lineman Quincy Nieporte, linebacker Daniel Crochet and cornerback Michael Sikorski.
Thus, the question remains.
“How far can we go? I think we’re in a pretty good bracket,” Standard noted. “I can see us playing two or three rounds, if not further if our guys continue to work at getting better, which I think they will.”
St. Pius crushed Dawson County 72-28 in first round Class 3-A play last week. The Golden Lions will next play host to Hart County Friday night.
Tucker, a 42-25 winner over Creekview last week, will next host North Paulding in second round action. Stephenson also passed its first postseason test in Class 5-A, beating Pope 31-11. The Jaguars will play at East Paulding Friday night.