Don’t expect Jesuit to become complacent after making history during the 2013 football season. If anything, players and coaches agree they’re using that success as motivation to keep that momentum going.
The Rangers completed their best season in the decade since joining the University Interscholastic League with a 55-30 loss to Lake Travis in the Class 5A Division II regional semifinals.
The eight straight wins that preceded that defeat included playoff victories over Plano West and Rockwall. And the offense will return seven starters from a unit that scored at least 40 points in six of its last eight games.
“The bar has been raised from the success we had last year,” said Jesuit head coach Brandon Hickman. “We’ve got the experience and guys who are battle-tested.”
Most prominent among the returnees is quarterback Bo Schneider, who — like his team — finished strong last season after a slow start.
Schneider finished with 3,185 passing yards and 31 touchdowns, including an eye-popping performance against Plano West, in which he tallied 509 yards and five scores through the air.
His late-season heroics, with more than 1,000 passing yards in the playoffs alone, earned Schneider a scholarship offer from the University of Central Florida, which topped Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl last season.
“He’s a poised player with a big arm,” Hickman said. “I knew Bo had the tools and the potential. He started settling into the offense and adjusted well throughout the season. I was very pleased with his progress.”
Schneider verbally committed to the Knights this summer after also receiving offers from Oregon State, Colorado State, and Tulsa, among others.
UCF coaches contacted Schneider via Twitter in the spring, then came to Jesuit to watch him throw before extending an offer the next day. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of former UCF quarterback Blake Bortles, another pocket passer of similar size who was selected third overall in the NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars in May.
“I felt it was the perfect fit,” Schneider said of UCF, which is located in Orlando. “Everything about it made me feel like I was at home, and the facilities were awesome.”
Other top returnees for Jesuit this season include receiver Garrett Amy and running back Matt Slovak on offense, and lineman Taylor Stine and cornerback Josh Cummings on defense. Cummings has verbally committed to Rice.
Before he signs in February, Schneider can turn his attention to his senior season at Jesuit. He said he’s gotten stronger and faster during the offseason, and also plans to become a more vocal leader for the Rangers this fall.
“Last year we had a historic season, but that’s never good enough,” Schneider said. “We were a young team, and our whole team has grown a lot. I think that will definitely help this season.”