Aug 24, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Everyone connected to the Jamesville-DeWitt football program is just about tired of ho-hum regular seasons and brief post-season stays.
That’s what happened, again, in 2010. Despite the all-around contributions of Ahkeen Wiliams (more than 1,300 total yards passing and running), the Red Rams could only rise to fourth place in the Class A American division and got ousted in the first round of the Section III playoffs by eventual champion Whitesboro.
Not since 2006 has J-D reached the sectional semifinal round, and its last title came way back in 1984, long before any of the current players were born. So while the school has flourished and claimed state championships in many other sports since then, success on the gridiron has proven elusive.
Head coach Eric Ormond is in the process of trying to change the Rams’ fortunes. Now in his third year at the helm, he said that the offensive and defensive systems are now ingrained, and that the players are ready to move up.
“Hopefully, we start to see the execution of these systems,” said Ormond.
Doing so without Ahkeen Williams might prove tough, and the race to succeed him at quarterback remains unsettled. Seniors Brendan Flanagan and Eric Thompson, along with junior Ryan Wright, all could start under center this Friday when the Rams open against Fowler.
Typically, J-D runs a spread formation without a tight end and with a single running back. Jake LaRussa, Amani Jackson, Austin Tousaw and Josiah Williams all could line up as runners. At the very least, the Rams have a deep rotation, and whoever doesn’t start could go out wide.
Ormond likes his top pair of receivers. With senior Will Sterriker and junior Taumeras Howard (both standout track athletes), J-D has fast, athletic players that could go deep or turn short completions into long ones.
Even though the Rams have to replace four of five offensive-line starters, Ormond said the group could be better, especially since senior tackle Dave Barletta returns from the shoulder injury that sidelined him for all of 2010.
John Gallauresi, at guard, is the lone returning starter, while junior Lyndon Pisanski steps up in the other guard spot. Two seniors, tackle Tommy Zheng and center Zach Shapiro, round out the line.
On defense, the Rams could line up as many as five up front, or as little as three, depending on the situation. Seniors Steve Vallery, at nose guard, and Koy Adams, at tackle, both give J-D strength inside as LaRussa and Josiah Williams could play at end or linebacker.
If they go back, they join junior Dan Miley, who should make an instant impact in the middle, along with Tousaw and Willie Walker. J-D is set in the secondary, with Howard and Sterriker covering the field at cornerback and Jackson between at the safety spot.
One of J-D’s tasks is to bring more balance to a Class A structure tilted, for a long time, toward the National division. As part of the American division, the Rams play four of its first six games at home, only having to travel to Fulton (where coach Mike Conners returns from a one-year absence) and Whitesboro.
According to Ormond, J-D can only rise if it starts well, and that means “to beat Fowler, and then we’ll see what happens. We have very high expectations, but we can’t have any single loss of focus or purpose, and we can’t get ahead of ourselves.”