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Little Rock Catholic looks to build off historic season | Preps on 11

After reaching the state semifinals last season, the Rockets are out to prove they're here to stay in Class 6A.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — What a difference a year makes at Little Rock Catholic.

“Fans and other teams are definitely looking at us as a big-time team to make a long run this year," Senior linebacker Matthew Barthol said. "It’s a lot different from last year."

The Rockets entered last season as a three-win team with an uncertain future in a new conference — Class 6A.

Then came history.

Little Rock Catholic put together its first 10-0 season in school history and reached the state semifinals for the first time since 2005.

The rest of Class 6A didn't know what was coming, but senior wide receiver Thomas Duch said that won't be the case in 2023.

“They all want to get us back because we beat everyone in the conference," Duch said.

Barthol agrees and thinks the Rockets have a target on their back.

“We’re trying to bring the energy up in practice," Barthol said. "Last year they weren’t ready for us. This year they definitely will be.”

Catholic’s only loss in 2022 came in the state semifinals to the eventual champion Pulaski Academy.

It's something the Rockets haven’t forgotten.

“We’re all using that as motivation," Duch said. "We’re trying to get to that state championship."

All-state quarterback Sam Sanders graduated, but junior Jackson England is ready to take control of the Little Rock Catholic offense

“I think he’s going to do good," Duch said. "He’s been doing good out here."

Barthol sees the same from the other side of the ball.

“He’s looking good," Barthol said. "He’s got some stuff to improve on, we all do, but he’s going to do good.”

Duch said it helps that almost everyone else is returning, from the offensive line to the wide receiver group.

“All four of our receivers are back," Duch said. "We all know the plays [and] are used to getting into games.”

After a season for the ages, excitement is through the roof at Little Rock Catholic, and head coach John Fogleman said winning has played a part in it.

Little Rock Catholic kicks off its 2023 campaign on Aug. 25 at North Little Rock.

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