Traverse City St. Francis Aims to Advance to State Semis for Third Straight Season
TRAVERSE CITY – When Traverse City St. Francis football hosts Ithaca in the regional championship on Saturday afternoon, the Gladiators will be looking to win their consecutive regional championship.
St. Francis has looked like a state championship-caliber team all season long but will face a tough test against another perennially strong program in Ithaca.
The Gladiators have been ranked No. 1 in the state for most of the season and have impressive wins over Jackson Lumen Christi, Lawton and Detroit Country Day to their credit. Coach Josh Sellers said he feels the tough schedule they’ve played this season has prepared them well for this game.
“They’re two very similar teams going at it on Saturday,” said Sellers. “Even from all the way down to how many two-way players we both have going so it is very much like looking in a mirror and hopefully our strength of schedule will help us out a little bit.”
In 2021, the Gladiators lost to Pewamo-Westphalia in the state semifinals. In 2020, the Gladiators fell in the state championship game to New Lothrop. The Gladiators are ultimately hoping to win their first state championship since 2009, but know they must take it one game at a time.
“This is our last game at our home field and this could be the last game that I ever wear the St. Francis pads which is scary,” said senior Wyatt Nausadis. “So I think that’s a little bit of extra motivation as a group and as me individually just to play your hardest and leave it all out there.”
“It’s just a lot of dedication from years past and this summer in the weight room paying off,” said senior Joey Donahue. “I think we’re doing alright and I say that a lot’s paying off but there’s still a lot more to accomplish.”