SIOUX CITY, I.A. (KCAU) – The Bishop Heelan Crusaders are perhaps one of the most stories football programs in the state of Iowa and a powerhouse in the Siouxland area. But after winning just three games combines in the last two seasons, the four-time state champions have had some trouble reclaiming their prestige.
The Crusaders were 1-7 a season ago, with their lone win against Sioux City North in week 2. For a team that made 17 state tournament appearances in the last 20 years, it wasn’t a favorable place for the Bishop Heelan program to be. But with the experience returning to Memorial Field, along with a simple mantra instilled within the team, the Crusaders are on a mission to prove to others, as well as themselves, that they belong at the top.
The Crusaders lost a laundry list of seniors from the 2020 team, most notably their leading tackler Carter Weiland, top receiver Brayden Pratt, and starting quarterback Nathan Favors, who transferred from East to Heelan his senior year. In his final high school season, Favors threw for 893 yards on 143 attempts, while garnering 7 TDs.
But the Crusader roster will return some firepower on both sides, especially with their leading rusher junior Devionne West, who scrambled for 537 yards on 134 carries with 7 TDs during an impressive sophomore campaign. On the defensive end, senior athlete Teddy Saltzman will provide some depth in the secondary while defensive end Michael Stansbury anchors the charge up front. Along with other upperclassmen and some newcomers eager to step up, this fall could prove to be interesting for the Crusaders.
Bishop Heelan kicks off their 2021 season tonight hosting cross-town rival Sioux City East at 7 p.m.