SIOUX CITY, IOWA (KCAU) – The Bishop Heelan Crusaders were a youthful team in 2022 as many of its underclassmen were thrusted into the forefront in Heelan’s 2-7 2022 campaign.

But now, it’s that nucleus of young players that have grown through those experiences and are ready to lead the way in a season full of expectations. Quarterback Quinn Olson aims to take charge of the Crusaders offense with the electric duo of Sir Brandon Watts and Isaiah Favors looking to contribute big seasons.

Bishop Heelan feels its team is full of potential, noting how they’re working on themselves this offseason.

“We’re just really focused on being disciplined and playing the game from a mental standpoint, not just physical. The last few years, we kind of have been down in that standpoint. We had a lot of penalties. So, kind of just bouncing back like that and getting stronger in the weight room and everything,” Favors said.

“A lot more mentally focused, a lot more mentally sharp. Guys are locked in more. Even when they aren’t in a drill, they’re focused and they’re ready to go, opposed to last year,” Olson added.

In 2022, Heelan started off the season with four consecutive losses. During that span, the Crusaders scored just 24 points. Heelan head coach Jon LaFleur and company followed that up with a pair of wins against MOC-Floyd Valley and Carroll, preceding three losses to end the season.

It’s a combination of using the end of last season as motivation for 2023 while the team is also focused on staying disciplined, which the Crusaders feel could be the difference maker for them to elevate its play.

“Here and there, we think about that to fuel us and get the energy up and get practice intense. But at the same time, we’ve got to look past that and just work on ourselves and get better as a team,” Watts mentioned.

“It’s the most important thing to me and we’ve been preaching that as a staff because discipline comes down to not having penalties and not having turnovers. Those are the little things that create a marginal team into a winning team and that’s where we want to be. If we impose those things and do those things right, then we’ll have an opportunity,” LaFleur highlighted.

Bishop Heelan opens up its season at home against Kuemper Catholic on August 25th.