In his first year, St. Joseph Catholic School head coach John Bond is hoping to build on the success of his predecessor, who helped get the Bruins back to their winning ways.
In just two years, former coach Todd Lott returned the Bruins to championship form, guiding them to two straight winning seasons and two straight playoff appearances.
As a former assistant at Mississippi State University, Bond himself knows about championships.
The quarterbacks coach and graduate assistant was on the sidelines from 1998 to 2000, when the Bulldogs won the Southeastern Conference Western Division Title, and in the following years, when State won the Peach and Independence bowls.
Prior to that, Bond played for Valdosta High School, one of the winning high school programs in the nation, followed by a stent at MSU and the Canadian Football League.
In 1980, the freshman quarterback led Mississippi State to a 6-3 win over then Number One Alabama.
“This is my first head coaching job. I had some friends here with kids at the school, and when the job came open, they said dust off your resume,” Bond said. “It turned out to be a pretty good deal.”
Prior to joining St. Joe, Bond served as director of business development for Eutaw Construction and later started his own business.
“It was easy for me, because it’s home. I live here in Madison and I love the game of football. St. Joe is a great school and there are a bunch of great guys playing.
“The ones who are here want to play and that’s what I like,” he said.
St. Joe will have a roster of about 25 to 30 players, including some Division One college football prospects.
Starters this year will include senior quarterback Daniel Clarke, senior wide receiver/defensive back Kiland Harrison, and senior tackle Tyler Brown.
“Kiland can do the 40 in 4.3 seconds. He was one of the fastest guys (at the) New Orleans summer camp,” he said.
Last year, Harrison caught the ball 43 times for 926 yards and eight touchdowns. Harrison also had one touchdown on the ground, according to Maxpreps.
Bond said the key to success this year will be keeping the game fun.
“At this level of ball, you have to get the kids having fun,” he said. “Football is tough. You have to put in a lot for a little reward.”
One of the toughest aspects of Class 2A football, though, is probably one of his players’ favorites.
Because teams are so small, oftentimes, players will play both defense and offense.
“They have grown up with this mentality, so it doesn’t phase them,” Bond said. “They know it’s coming and they like it. They get something out of both sides ... they can score touchdowns and stop folks.”
St. Joseph Catholic School Bruins
Head Coach: John Bond
Assistants: Matt Sigler, Mark Girard and Bryce Randall
Record last year: 7-5
Class 2A, Region 6
(photo) Coaches Matt Sigler, Mark Girard, John Bond (Head Coach), David Streit, Brice Randall; (third row) Joe Pearson, John Beard, John Hornback, Bleau Hickman, Jaden Coleman, Tyler Brown, Wyatt Davis, Matthew Blackwood, Sam Harrison; (second row) Stone Hickman, Clifton Goodloe, Chris Watson, Andrew Sanli, Zach Shelton, Chandler Thornhill, Ethan O’Rourke, Brandon Taylor; (first row) Daniel Clark, Kevin May, Stephen Wolf, Kiland Harrison, Josh Briscoe, Jason Green, Aidan Lipovetsky, London Walker