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Red Rams look to continue gridiron turnaround

J-D went 5-2 a season ago, hosted first playoff game in 14 years

— Something new, novel and refreshing has entered the Jamesville-DeWitt football program – a taste of success, followed by reasonable expectations to do even better.

The Red Rams’ long, tough climb out of the Class A basement, under the watch of head coach Eric Ormond, reached a tipping point in 2011 with a 5-2 regular-season mark, a second-place finish in the Class A American division and the team’s first home playoff game in 14 years.

But J-D lost that playoff contest to Watertown, 22-14, leaving Ormond and his players with a feeling that work remains for the Rams to challenge for a sectional title.

“We got better,” said Ormond. “But we also had breakdowns that cost us a couple of games.”

Tempting as it is to build upon success, Ormond said that the 2012 edition of the Rams, who open Friday night against Johnson City in the Kickoff Classic at the Carrier Dome, needs to first establish itself as a team before it can chase loftier goals.

“This group had to build its own identity, so that they can have their own accomplishments,” he said.

On the offensive side, Eric Thompson, a dual run/pass threat who effectively ran J-D’s flex-bone, averaging more than seven yards per carry and scoring 11 touchdowns last fall, has to be replaced.

J-D is trying out a pair of quarterback options. Senior Ryan Wright, at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, is a top-flight athlete capable of running to daylight, while freshman Jack Brotzki, at 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, is the star of the future, and not yet fully developed from a physical standpoint.

“There’s no quarterback competition,” he said. “They’re teammates, they’re working together and they’re both going to play.”

As that situation develops, J-D can take lots of comfort in its trio of experienced running backs.

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