Villa Angela-St. Joseph football coach John Storey was all smiles as two-a-days opened on Aug. 1.
"There's not a cloud in the sky, there's a nice breeze coming off the lake and we are playing football. It doesn't get much better than this," Storey said.
The excitement at East 185th and Lakeshore Blvd. goes way beyond the late summer weather as the Vikings return the nucleus of a team that went 9-2 in 2013 and advanced to the Division VI postseason.
VASJ was a junior-laden squad last fall who rebounded from a 1-9 campaign in 2012 to win eight straight games and qualify for the playoffs.
This year, the Vikings are ready to take the next step.
"Physically, you can see we are bigger up front and I think we have matured as well," Storey said. "The guys had a great off season and they are ready to prove themselves all over again. We got great experience last year making the playoffs, but they want more. The past is history. Our biggest game is the next game on the schedule."
Storey said 20 incoming freshmen will add depth to a team that features All-Ohio running back Marvelle Ross, quarterback Tre'Von Williams and a host of other talented athletes who gained valuable experience in 2013.
VASJ will scrimmage Beachwood on Aug. 16. The Vikings open the regular season against Youngstown Liberty on Aug. 30 at Sparky DiBiasio Stadium.