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Josh Ross, St. Mary’s defense will lead the way

Geoff Robinson
Special to The Detroit News
Josh Ross

Orchard Lake — The two-time defending Division 3 state champion Orchard Lake St. Mary’s football team woke up bright and early Monday morning for the team’s first organized practice. And while St. Mary’s stout defense will drive its attempt for a three-peat in November, it was obvious Monday that an offense replacing many key positions still has a long way to go.

Coach George Porritt was shouting at his offense to clean up its act and make things crisper.

“We’ve got a lot of kinks to work out,” Porritt said. “It takes time.”

Junior Caden Prieskorn and senior Logan Karn will battle for the No. 1 quarterback job. Prieskorn and Karn both struggled with the timing of handoffs and making the short throws following a play fake Monday, though it was just the first practice of the season.

“I’m just trying to learn and get better overall,” Karn said. “We need to both get better.”

“You’ve got to be consistent every day,” Prieskorn said. “That’s the main thing in competition.”

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St. Mary's will have an elite defense to lean on this season. It’s a group that returns nine starters, including at least five seniors who will be playing Division 1 football in 2017.

The star of the unit is linebacker and Michigan commit Josh Ross, who knows the first day of practice isn’t a barometer for where St. Mary’s will be at the end of the season.

“When you start this early, people get a little slow,” Ross said. “We just need to work on building a sense of urgency and we’ll be alright.”

While the offense works to find that sense of urgency, Porritt has little problem letting his star-studded defense shoulder the load.

“Hopefully (the defense) can carry the mail for us until the offense catches up,” Porritt said. “It’s got to lead the way.”