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Woodbridge Blue Raiders

2001 Preview ...

Raiders Intend to
Continue Tradition

Photos: Quarterback Jamil Young (top) and head coach John Parker (below).

The Woodbridge High School football team couldn't defend its Henlopen Conference Southern Division title in 2000, but the Blue Raiders did earn a state tournament berth for the second straight season.

Woodbridge Quarterback Jamil YoungThe 2001 season figures to be more challenging with the loss of all-state wide receiver Jeremy Maddox, all-state defensive end Chris Horsey, second team all-state punter and kicker Ben Passwaters, and all-conference defensive lineman Bo McDowell.

But Raider head coach John Parker is encouraged that his program can withstand such losses as he enters his fourth season.

For one thing, Woodbridge returns one of the conference's most talented players in junior quarterback Jamil Young. The two-year starter earned second team all-conference honors at quarterback and first team all-conference honors at defensive back as a sophomore.

Young wll be joined by returning first team all-conference linebacker Andre Cannon -- the team's top tackler in 2000 -- second team all-conference linebacker James Faulkner, and honorable mention all-conference lineman John Handley.

Young's athletic ability enables him to improvise on improbable runs, a skill that will probably serve him well as the Raiders rebuild an offensive line that lost five of six startes to graduation. The newcomers to the line are big, however, as they average 230 pounds.

Following is a capsule preview of the Raiders' 2001 campaign.

Woodbridge head coach John ParkerHead Coach: John Parker (fourth year)

2000 Record: 8-3 overall, 4-1 Henlopen South (first round of Division II state tournament)

Key Returning Players: Bobby James (G-DT), James Faulkner (TE-LB), John Handley (OT-DT), Andre Cannon (RB-LB), Michael Cannon (FB-LB), Brandon Hopkins (RB-DB), Jamil Young (QB-DB), A.J. Neal (TE-LB), G.L. Jefferson (G-LB)

Key Players Lost: Jeremy Maddox (WR-DB), Chris Horsey (RB-DE), Ben Passwaters (P-K), Bo McDowell (RB-LB)

Key Newcomers: Brandon Whitmore (OT-DT), Emilio Perry (RB-CB), Cody Hartzell (OT-DT), Michael Eastman (C-LB), Rusty Emory (SE-CB), Billy Webb (OT-DT), Matt Short (TE-DE), Brandon Horsey (RB-LB), John Parker (G-DT), John Passwaters (QB-DB), Ryan Murray (G-DT), Phillip Schrock (QB-DB), Joey Tallent (QB-DB), Chris Waldridge (SE-DB), Ross Horsey (SE-DB)

Coach Parker's Comments: "It will be a challenging season beginning with four Division I teams. Team chemistry is always of paramount importance as a team gels, to compete in the always tough Henlopen South. Overall, enrollment positions the Raiders as the smallest public school in Delaware, and this could present a problem with depth at some positions. A young, but big offensive line must develop to open holes for our running game. We have a good mix of personalty, talent and community support. In addition, the team has dedication and mental toughness. The team has good potential and as always, we're looking for a successful season. As Jamil Young states, 'Coach, push us like champions so we can continue the Woodbridge tradition'."

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