Football preview: No. 1 Jesuit


At a glance

Coach: Matt Thompson, ninth season

Class: 6A, District 10

Last season: 14-1, lost in state semifinals

Key players: OG/OT Trequan Alexander, Sr.; WR Jarriett Buie Jr., Jr.; OLB/RB Troy Bowles, Jr.; MLB AJ Cottrill, Sr.; WR Carter French, Sr.; WR Jaydn Girard, Sr.; QB/P Luke Knight, So.; DL/TE Michael Leonardo, Sr.; DE/OLB Peter Pesansky, So.; RB/WR Joquez Smith, Jr.;WR/RB/DB Junior Vandeross, Sr.; CB/FS Caleb Williams, Sr.; FS Wade Woodaz, Sr.


Aug. 26 d. Ocala West Port 35-0

Sept. 3 vs. Wharton, 7:30

Sept. 10 vs. Bloomingdale, 7:30

Sept. 17 at Hillsborough, 7:30

Sept. 24 at Plant City, 7:30

Oct. 1 Bye

Oct. 8 at Clearwater Central Catholic, 7:30

Oct. 15 at Jefferson, 7:30

Oct. 22 vs. Blake, 7:30

Oct. 29 vs. King, 7:30

Nov. 5 vs. Tampa Catholic, 7:30


The Tigers have made it to the state semifinals five of the six seasons. Last year, they came close to reaching the final, losing 16-13 to eventual champion Plantation American Heritage on a last-second field goal. The painful memories of that game served as a powerful motivator throughout the offseason. Now the goal is to take the next step with a title game appearance. Jesuit has the team to do it. Nearly everyone is back from last year. The most significant loss is at quarterback with Joe Pesansky, the Class 5A state player of the year, now playing in college. Luke Knight, the heir apparent, is now the starter. The play-caller is new, too. Former Clearwater coach Don Mesick took over as the offensive coordinator, replacing Joe Gerena. The offense has plenty of weapons with Toledo commit Junior Vandeross and Wake Forest commit Jaydn Girard headlining a dynamic receiving corps. The running game, led by Joquez Smith, can also do some damage. Last week, Knight played in his regular season debut, completing 15 of his 18 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-0 win over Ocala West Port. The defense is just as impressive. Among those returning on that side of the ball are defensive linemen Peter Pesansky, linebackers AJ Cottrill and Troy Bowles and defensive backs Caleb Williams and Woody Woodaz. That unit has not allowed a point in two games counting the preseason.