2000 Grid Preview
Photos: Head coach John Parker (top), quarterback Jamil Young (middle), and wide receiver Jeremy Maddox (below).
Woodbridge experienced a true rags to riches tale last season as the Blue Raiders went 10-1, won their first Henlopen Conference Southern Division title, and earned their first Division II state tournament berth after a pair of 0-10 campaigns.
The Raiders return a number of players from that team, but missing are the four seniors who guided the team emotionally, including Corey Sanders, the state's defensive player of the year in 1999. Also gone are first team all-conference picks Jason Rust (quarterback), Adam Hickman (linebacker), and C.J. Pitts (running back).
Leading the returnees are all-state wide receiver Jeremy Maddox, who totaled 558 receivings yards last season, and all-state defensive end Chris Horsey, a bruising, 6-foot, 220-pounder. Sophomore Jamil Young steps into Rust's position at quarterback after playing mostly as a running back last year.
Woodbridge also has more size this year with 6-2, 275-pound lineman Ernest Hudson, 6-foot, 230-pound lineman John Handley, and newcomers Bobby James (6-1, 230), Cody Hartzell (6-3, 265), Billy Webb (6-0, 220), and John Parker (6-2, 262).
Head coach John Parker, who won every coaching award in the state in 1999, hopes the success of last season will carry over. Early evidence in training camp is that it has, with nearly 50 players trying out, the most in Parker's three years as coach.
Following is a detailed look at the 2000 Woodbridge High School football team.
Photo: Woodbridge head coach John Parker.
Coach: John Parker
Career: 3rd Season, 63-40 overall
1999 Record: 10-1, 6-0
Key Returning Players:
Key Players Lost: Jason Rust, QB/LB; Corey Sanders, FB/LB; C.J. Pitts, RB/DL; Adam Hickman, OL/LB
Strengths: Wide receiver Jeremy Maddox and defensive end Chris Horsey both earned all-state honors last year and are the Raiders' marquee returning players this season. The defense will be hard-pressed to repeat its performance of 1999, when it posted seven shutouts and allowed only 46 points during the regular season, but it still figures to be the strength of this team. Parker believes the 20 returning players with varsity experience can adequately fill the holes left by the graduation of the four sparkplug seniors. He is also happy with the team's work ethic and attitude, citing its much improved team strength and speed as evidence. Parker says that the Raiders have their largest senior class in a long time with 12 seniors on the team. Eleven juniors are behind them.
Weaknesses: Parker says the Blue Raiders must develop leadership to replace the four lost seniors who were the heart and soul of last year's club. He says the Raiders' success last season has carried over but that the players need to avoid overconfidence as everyone will be gearing up for them this year, including the four Division I opponents the Raiders start the season with. Parker is also concerned about his special teams, which he says must improve despite the presence of returning kicker Ben Passwaters.
Parker's Outlook for the Raiders: "We have a challenging season beginning with four Division I teams. We have the returning nucleus, if the team gels, to compete in the always tough Henlopen South. Our overall enrollment positions us as the smallest public school in Delaware, and this could present a problem with depth at some positions. We have a veteran offensive line with six senior starters with varsity experience. We have a good mix of personality, talent, and community support. The team has dedication and mental toughness. We're looking to improve with each practice and game. The team has good potential and as always is looking for a successful season. We may have some speed in the backfield if we can remain healthy."
Parker's View of the South: "The always tough and well-balanced Henlopen South is even tougher with the return of Seaford. Any one of the teams in the South has the ability to compete for the conference title as was was proven by us in 1999. Delmar is returning Dustin Johnson and Ian Hudson in the backfield, which makes them a threat to go all the way. Lake Forest has many outstanding athletes, as well as Laurel. We could continue our winning ways if we stay healthy."
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