Loy brings a new wave of energy to program

Published 8:44 am Friday, August 18, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Cathedral enters the 2023 season with a renewed spirit, hope and coaching staff. Head Coach Josh Loy is leading the team and living his dream job at his alma mater. 

Loy replaced Chuck Darbonne who resigned in October from Cathedral. In the offseason, Wright Graning helped lead the football team through a weightlifting regime to build strength. Cathedral’s new head coach came in and continued that work. 

Loy said he has seen growth from the team since he was hired in January. Cathedral has embraced the changes and welcomed his challenges. One of the biggest challenges was for the team to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

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“When you are uncomfortable you are forced to grow and be better. That is how I have approached it since February. Force some growth and ask them to do some things they haven’t done before. I have put them in positions they haven’t been in before. It has been a physical and mental grind.” 

Loy employed a speed program, agility drills and new stretches to forge strong players. Things have ramped up this summer as they near the football season. Competition is at the center of everything the team does. 

Cathedral has a big senior class with 13 players facing their final season. Cayde Jackson and Bennett Gilly were selected to the leadership council and have stepped up as leaders on the team. 

Defensively, the Green Wave will be in a new base scheme of 3-3-5. Loy said the change comes from how well it fits the team’s personnel. Cathedral has a lot of linebacker type players and not as many linemen. 

“We plan to be active and multiple up front and change our coverages,” Loy said. “We want to bring extra people and be aggressive. We have a scheme which fits the kids we have.” 

Vidalia’s former head coach Mike Norris is the defensive coordinator. On the field, Norris and Loy have a great relationship and off the field they are comfortable. Loy said he is blessed to have a defensive coordinator so he can focus on head coaching. 

Loy’s offense will be based on the spread offense with changing packages incorporating two tight ends and two running backs. Misdirection and screens will play a role in the offense too. 

While previous Cathedral teams were more pass heavy, Loy is bringing the ground and pound game. He plans to attack opponents with running backs and an athletic quarterback. 

Tristan Fondren and Trayln Cusic were competing for the starting role at the end of July. Loy said one of the guys was starting to take the lead but he hadn’t named a starter yet. The next quarterback has big shoes to fill in replacing Noah Russ who threw for 5,229 yards and accounted for 61 touchdown passes in his career. 

“He had a ton of production but this team will have a new identity,” Loy said. “We will use the quarterbacks more in the run game and have someone who can carry the load. We have linemen who will step up. We lost a lot of production.” 

Cam Tanner will be the main workhorse for the running backs. Fred Lane, Matt Kaiser and Paxton Johns round out the stable of backs. Each of them are straight line runners who will do a lot of downhill running. 

Fans might notice a new look with this football team. Cathedral’s helmets have ditched the C logo in favor of an angry Green Wave. Loy and his coaching staff are wearing Bill Bilechick style hoodies with cut-off sleeves and black caps with a white rope across the brim and a cursive Cathedral. 

Loy said it was time for a reset so they changed the look this season. New helmets and new uniforms brought excitement to the team and boosted morale. 

“We tried to implement what we could. We needed excitement because it was low when I got here,” Loy said. 

The biggest game of the year in Natchez might be the final week of the MAIS regular season when Cathedral and Adams County Christian School  meet. It will be a home game for the Green Wave and Loy would love to have playoff seeding on the line. He said his goal this year is to see his team grow so they can be ready for the last game against ACCS. 

“We want to see improvement and we need to be a lot better. I believe we are headed in the right direction and we will get there,” Loy said. “We will have setbacks and we have a tough schedule. This group is coming together and forming as a team. I hope we will continue to see that. Our final game will be a crazy atmosphere. It will be our senior night. I have known Coach David King for a while. I played for him, coached with him and against him. We have a good relationship. His program is at a different level and we are striving to get where they are and be consistent in competing for championships.”