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August 28, 2013
District, Class 6A, Region 6A South
Blanding should remain productive as usual if not more productive as he will be the highlighted weapon on offense at all times. A pair of sophomores, Donte Lampley (6-0, 170) and Dequan Bagley (5-8, 185), are slated to start at the quarterback and running back spots respectively. It is realistic that both Lampley and Bagley eclipse 1000 yards at their positions. Junior Elijah Alford (6-2, 235) enters his third year starting at offensive tackle and "brings much needed leadership to the position," says White.
Rounding out the offensive line with Alford are senior left guard Eric Moore (6-1, 225), junior center Alex James (6-1, 220), junior right guard Devin Bass-Truhlar (6-0, 210) and sophomore right tackle Tykee McCullers (6-2, 235). Where they are definitely most potent offensively is at the receiver position, not only with the presence of Blanding, but also Jamez Brickhouse (5-9, 170), a highly recruited junior that's "explosive and surprisingly strong." They have depth, too, with sophomore Phillip Patterson (6-0, 165), junior Deshawn Doby (6-1, 200) and promising freshman Chris Hunt (6-0, 150).
"Our defense this year will have the speed and football intellect to be very disruptive," believes White. In his career, Blanding has made 15 interceptions, and as a junior he racked up 111 tackles. Those two won't go at it alone either; junior Tayvon Burris (5-10, 165) could be on the verge of a breakout year at corner. Hunt will see some time at safety, junior Latawn Crocker (5-9, 175) is penciled in at Rover and sophomore Anthony Womack (5-10, 180) gets his chance to shine at strong safety.
For Bayside's defense to get better, crisp tackling from the linebacker position is paramount. Senior Anthony Christman (5-9, 190) has been a fierce hitter on special teams and will be a leader at that position playing alongside Doby and senior Fred Sharpe (6-0, 195). On the defensive line, Alford will be joined by three seniors in Josh Duhe-Harris (6-0, 190), senior Quanche Sadler (5-9, 210) and Donte Hargraves (5-11, 220).
Now, on the other side of the coin, serious question marks arise. There's youth, inexperience and unproven players at three key places on the offensive side of the ball - - quarterback, running back and on the offensive line. If things don't materialize early on, it could be a recipe for disaster. On defense, they will have to make up for they lack in size with hustle, all 11 men flocking to the ball, and being fundamentally sound.
Nevertheless, the Marlins couldn't have asked for a better situation when it comes to the long-term stability of the program than to replace Moore with a guy in White who played for the Marlins and has served as an assistant there.
Matthew Hatfield has covered football and basketball since 2004 for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to listen to him on High School Sports Talk Saturdays at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1 plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.