Two-A-Days 2016: Bishop Heelan

The Crusaders boast one of the strongest traditions in Iowa

By Chris Palmquist |

Published 08/24 2016 10:55PM

Updated 08/24 2016 10:55PM

When you talk about some of the top football programs in Iowa, it doesn't take long before you get to Bishop Heelan. The Crusaders have six state titles and nine more runner-up finishes. They hope to go on another deep run this year.

Jerry Steffen is entering his second season as head coach after leading the team to an 8-2 finish last year. He only has four starters back on both offense and defense but some of those are key players.

Mason Heaton led the team in tackles a year ago and he'll be counted on to spearhead the defense.

Offensively, Mekhi Bianchini is entering his second year under center and he'll have help in the backfield. Saybein Clark ranked seventh in 3A with over 1,600 rushing yards as a sophomore last year.

"He's very crucial because there's going to be a lot of focus on him, but even more than that as coaches we have to find someone else to take the pressure of him," said Steffen. "We've got four great receivers we can throw the ball to and of coarse the quarterback running and then were going to add a fullback in the game as well, so we try to mix it up a little more to take the pressure off Saybein."

"It's nice having a running back like that where it could be a short hand off and he can bust it for 50 yards," said Bianchini. "It's great. It's easy for everyone, it makes it easier on the offense."

"We did make up for the Jake Noel and the John Oakley and Branden Hohenstein," said Heaton. "We've got big guys from the sophomore team and junior team so, I don't think we're going to be missing too much."

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