Comets football trip puts full focus on team
MCCOMB, MISS. — Free from the distractions of technology, the St. Charles Catholic Comets team has spent the week bonding as a brotherhood on the quaint grounds of Percy Quin State Park in McComb, Miss.
It’s an end-of-summer Comets tradition of 18 years, picked up from head coach Frank Monica’s time with the Tulane Green Wave.
The goal, according to Monica, is to return home this weekend with fully installed offensive and defensive systems, building upon progress made in spring football and summer conditioning.
Training camp stands apart with a greater focus on mental preparation through teaching, individual and team meetings and “open mic” forums, Monica said.
“We do a little bit of conditioning, but it’s not designed for that,” Monica said.
“We’re getting them into a different environment, away from home and away from the cell phone and TV. It’s all football. Knowing that, the focus is on learning the system and, most importantly, being a good teammate.”
Earlier this week, 93 new and returning players introduced themselves to the local community during Meet the Comets Night.
Monica said there are a lot of new faces this year, which could make the upcoming season “awfully tough” without an intense level of preparation to place athletes in ideal positions.
Following a lackluster spring performance by the team, Monica said incoming junior Justin Dumas and rising seniors Jacob Ganote, Cameron Fabre, Sutton Bourgeois, Nick Lorio and Bryce Authement have performed well throughout the summer.
Lorio emerged as a possible punter, showing versatility as he diverged from his mainstay position at cornerback. Narcisse also proved powerful and difficult to block during camp, Monica said.
Dumas continued to perform well at quarterback, while Fabre showed strength subbing as a kicker.
Sophomore Mandel Eugene and senior Anderson Sirmon are shining as linebackers.
The offensive line is still developing its sea legs, according to Monica, be the depth chart should be solidified in the coming weeks.
“There’s a possibility some young kids will come in and break through, but we don’t know that for a fact yet,” Monica said. “We won’t know for sure until we get pads on them. When you put pads on, it magnifies weaknesses.”
Previously held at Nicholls State University and St. Joseph’s Abbey in Covington, the five-day training camp is unique to St. Charles Catholic within the River Region.
The boys started each day early, waking up at 5:30 a.m. to prepare for 6 a.m. practice. After a couple of hours of running plays, they headed over to a full breakfast and transitioned into individual meetings.
Practice picked back up in the afternoon and continued on through the evening, followed by more individual attention and an hour-long group meeting.
Just before bed, the Comets bonded in an open forum setting.
“What’s talked about there is kept confidential for the kids, because sometimes personal stuff comes out,” Monica said. “It stays within the team. It makes the kids feel pretty special. It’s a rite of passage and makes them feel they belong to something.”
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