Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Stratford football team figures to enter summer workouts knowing a special season could lie ahead.
Coach Ray Stackley’s team reached double figures in victories in 2012, finishing 10-3 and reaching the second round of the Class AAAA Div. I playoffs. It was their best mark since going 12-2 in 2006.
Stackley’s team rounded up spring practice this week and began preparation for their labor this summer in the weight room.
“It’s that time of the year where you know who your returners are and what they can do,” he said. “(In the spring) you just want to develop some new guys… It’s a time to try to teach technique and fundamentals.”
Among the players set to return will be senior quarterback Jacob Park. Park threw for almost 2,200 yards and 23 scores last season, while rushing for over 400 yards.
Thanks to his frame (6-3, 200), arm strength and deceptive mobility Park has raked in some serious Division I offers. By most prospect rankings, he’s considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country.
“I think he’ll do a lot of the same things (this upcoming season),” Stackley said. “He’ll have to be a playmaker… He’ll have to do some things for us leadership wise too. As he goes, we’ll go.”
In late April, Park reportedly narrowed his list to 10 schools, including defending national champion Alabama, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Louisville, Georgia, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, North Carolina State and Mississippi State.
Running back/receiver Jordan Johnson returns on offense too along with offensive lineman Michael Hughes (6-1, 260). Hughes may move to the left tackle spot after playing some guard and center in the past, Stackley said.
Defensively, the Knights are set to bring back seven starters, including defensive backs Taylor Morrison and Sheldon Reid. Led by Morrison’s 10 interceptions from his free safety spot, the duo combined to pick off 17 passes this season.
They will also bring back inside linebacker Cecil Smith, outside linebacker T.J. Deveaux and defensive lineman Stephen Hill. Joe Cook is a linebacker/defensive end with experience.
“We think we’ve got the makings of a great defense,” Stackley said. “We’ve only got one starter back up front but our perimeter people are pretty dadgum good.”