AIA365.com

Don Ketchum
Former Staff Writer, AIA365.com

Summer sweat helps Notre Dame make strides in football

The football program at Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep continues to evolve.

After many years without a home field, the school is finally building a field on the north edge of the campus on Bell Road. School officials are hoping the team can play on it at least once late in the 2014 season. Until now, the Saints had played their home games at Scottsdale Community College.

And head coach Gary Gregory is doing his best to make his team a factor in Division II.

The process began with spring ball and is continuing with the team’s play in summer passing leagues, such as the one at Phoenix Brophy Prep on Tuesday nights through the end of June.

The Saints finished 6-4 in 2013 and lost quite a few players to graduation.

The current group (sans linemen) is working to refine its throwing, catching and route-running skills on offense, and coverage abilities on defense at linebacker and in the secondary.

“The players we have coming back are working hard to be competitive,’’ Gregory said. “We’ve handled ourselves pretty well so far.’’

There are three starters returning on the offensive line, and there are a handful of players vying for the quarterback spot.

“They are competing. We want to get a good look at them,’’ said Gregory, whose team opens the season against Laveen Betty H. Fairfax.

Among the top returnees participating in summer drills are free safety Scooter Bankofier, wide receiver Alex Manov, and wide receiver-outside linebacker Jeffrey Kindorff.

Gregory also noted two sophomores-to-be who have a lot of promise.

They are Kyle Soelle, an outside linebacker and tight end who figures to get bigger and stronger, and wide receiver Nick O’Brien, who Gregory said has very good hands.