(Rick Hickman/American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, August 25, 2014 10:25 AM
Numbers and spirits are up at Hamilton Christian, as a deeper and more experienced roster give the Warriors hope for a rebound season.
“We averaged about 20-25 kids working out four days a week in the offseason,” said head coach Tim Sensley. “We have about 32 out and we have a good senior class.”
“Last year was growing pains for them,” Sensley said. We lost four kids that were two-way starters. We had a lot of ninth graders who were thrown in, it was trial by fire for them. Now, they are not normal sophomores. They understand the speed of the game and what is expected.”
Sensley said depth should help most along the offensive and defensive lines.
“Last year Easton Massey did not come off the field in the playoff game,” he said. “Now we can get guys some rest. We can get them in a rotation. Last year we were great in the skill positions, but the linemen got wore down.”
Most of the skill players return on offense, which Sensley said will have a varied look with multiple formations to take advantage of versatile playmakers.
“Kenan Fontenot came in and made all-Southwest as a freshman, he had 13 interceptions,” Sensley said.
“Chris Elly is moving to receiver, he is a playmaker with the ball in his hands. He will be a collegiate receiver. He is rangy, runs great routes, has great hands and breakaway speed. It is going to be hard to stop him 1-on-1 in space.
“We have Ben Avery, Brandon Blackwell is being sought after at defensive end but also plays tight end and receiver. We have Patrick Tizano, Xavier Ramsey, Deaundre Dejean, a host of guys that can play at any given time. We have a good problem — who is going to play where? Last year the problem was having someone to play.”
Julian Marcantel will take over at quarterback.
“He is a competitor, he is quiet but he commands the huddle. When he says something, they will listen to him. He is knowledgeable. He puts together a great combination of skill, agility and ability. He is a baseball pitcher and throws the ball really good. He will also be our starting middle linebacker again, it is quite the combination.”
The Warriors will have to break in just two new starters on defense.
“The leaders are Julian who does a great job of commanding the defense and Elly who orchestrates the secondary,” Sensley said.
“On the line, we have Blackwell and Massey. We have a new kid that is helping, Nick Fletcher. They all understand their roles. We will be able to play some zone and mix up the coverages.”
Sensley said he expects his team to make some noise.
“We are going in as the sleeper,” he said. “I think a lot of heads are going to get turned by this team, they are going to do a great job.”
The Warriors suffered a tragedy over the summer when team member Shaun Edwards passed away.
“Shaun played with us last year,” Sensley said. “The team is playing with a purpose bigger than them. He was going to be a senior and the guys want to send Shaun out with a bang.”