UPPER SCHOOL SPORTS
MIDDLE SCHOOL SPORTS
Monday ‘Walkthrough': Five more football teams
August 18, 2010The Avalon School
This is the second installment of The Gazette's online-only series, "Walkthroughs": first impressions from preseason football camps around Montgomery County. For full-length previews of each of these teams, look for The Gazette Fall Sports Special in the Sept. 1 editions.
Avalon: Knight and day
Last year was the Avalon school's first varsity season since 2006, and at times, the inexperience showed.
Head coach Jerry Sarchet believes that there were times when his team was not as focused as it needed to be, letting winnable games slip away and watching close games turn into blowouts in the fourth quarter.
However, with a year's experience under their belts and a bevy of returning starters, the Black Knights look to turn several of the close games into victories this season, and as always, it starts on the practice field during the dog days.
With its limited numbers, most of Avalon's starting lineup will be playing on both sides of the ball again this season, and in the fourth quarter of tight contests, it is usually the better conditioned team that is able to come away with the win.
- Joey Sabet
Poolesville: Tire-ing of the losing
Shortly after wrapping up the 11-on-11 portion of practice Monday morning, Poolesville head football coach Steve Orsini instructed his squad to head down to the campus' lower field. There, all 55 members of the Falcons varsity and junior varsity programs ran a series of 40-yard sprints with 18-wheel truck tires in tow.
While the Falcons are certainly not the most talented team Montgomery County has to offer, there is not a doubt they are one of the best-conditioned, as every single member of the program successfully completed the sprints.
"We have a very positive attitude, and that's the difference," Orsini said. "We are full-speed every play and every meeting right now. If you are changing speeds, you are loafing. We need to break all the bad habits."
As for action on the field, the Falcons are working to overcome a dismal 3-7 campaign last fall. Senior quarterback Tyler Holston looked sharp as the team's third practice session was focused on audibles at the line of scrimmage.
"I honestly think we can go 5-5 or 6-4," Orsini said. "That's our expectation."
- Kent Zakour
Rockville: One Pierce-ing question
Blaine Pierce has played football for eight years. Never once has he played quarterback.
Rockville's starter last year, Chris Brown, dropped the sport to concentrate on baseball. That means a sophomore new to varsity is helming the program fresh off its best season in school history.
"I'd rather play safety," Pierce said.
He hasn't taken many offensive reps thus far, playing in the defensive backfield during Monday's two-a-day practice. Luckily, he's got a believer in the guy lined up behind him.
"I already got a lot of confidence in my man," says Crusoe Gongbay, the county's leading rusher last year. "Seeing him in passing leagues, he's going to get it done."
But can the backfield mates lead another playoff run?
- Dan Greenberg
Springbrook: In for a ‘big' year
Everything about the Springbrook football team is large right now. Well, almost everything.
The numbers certainly are, with over 100 players on the practice field for Monday's morning session. Size? The Blue Devils have at least three 300-pound players. First-year lineman Bryce Miller, who two-way starter Devon Pestano calls "our [Michael] Oher," may be closer to four bills.
"But the egos aren't big," said head coach Rob Wendel. "Our first practice, of all those people, only a freshman was late."
Pestano looks terrific as usual in early workouts, but Wendel's "Defense wins championships" dictum appears equally encouraging in undersized but gifted junior safety Brandon Creary.
In short, the defense will have studs all over the place, and the 2010 Blue Devils have the tools up front and in the backfield for another playoff run.
- Dan Greenberg
Whitman: Not getting too high
Two words sum up the Whitman football team's attitude this preseason: cautious optimism. The Vikings are fresh off their first playoff appearance since 2007 and feeling good.
But Whitman won a lot of close games last year - five of their eight wins were by six points or less - and the Vikings know better than to take anything for granted.
Still, there are a lot of playmakers back.
"Last year's success has helped motivate us to really take this program to the next level and take that next step and going further in playoffs," senior running back Miles Davis said.
Davis had a couple of big games stepping in when last year's leading rusher, Kevin Cecala, was injured. He and classmate Henry Kuhn at quarterback will be the leaders of a veteran offense with rare size on the line.
- Jennifer BeekmanTo continue reading this article, please visit the Gazette at: