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J-D football now seeks long-term success

Red Rams will carry on without stars like Williams, Howard

— All the years spent by the Jamesville-DeWitt football program working hard and scraping to climb from the bottom of the local Class A ranks culminated in a 2012 season that included a league title, a win streak not seen in 45 years and a trip to the Section III final at the Carrier Dome.

And now comes the difficult part – staying on top after so many of the players that keyed the turnaround have graduated.

Gone from last year’s magical 9-1 campaign that ended in a tough sectional finals defeat to Nottingham are Josiah Williams and Taumeras Howard, the big playmakers both on offense and special teams. Also gone are stalwarts like Ryan Wright, Zach Shapiro and Kalaar Wynn.

According to head coach Eric Ormond and his staff, the focus has not been on returning to the Dome or grabbing league and sectional honors.

“We’re trying to emphasize the process that goes into that outcome – practice, film sessions, chalk talk and weight room,” said Ormond. “If we put up maximum effort there, the outcome will be favorable.”

J-D will still work out of the triple-option “Flexbone” offense that proved so effective when Williams and Howard were running opposing defenders ragged.

Only now it’s senior Rasheed Baker that will be the focal point of the ground game. Baker has bulked up 20 pounds, to 205, in the off-season, and with combination of quickness and power, he could put up big numbers. Ben Honis and Kayvon Anderson will help out in the backfield.

After splitting quarterback duties with Wright a season ago, sophomore Jack Brotzki takes over full-time this fall. At 6-foot-3, Brotzki, said Ormond, is a “dynamic” player, capable of long throws or long runs and looking over defenses.

The triple-option does not have a traditional tight end, so the wide receivers have to be versatile. Rob Murphy, Ben Wipper and John Werbowsky all fit that category, so they could line up wide or go up to the line, even carry the ball on occasion.

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