2012-08-31 / Sports

Far Rockaway Has Optimistic Outlook For New Campaign

By Elio Velez

Walter Wilkerson (wearing red hat) gives instructions to the offensive line during a recent practice. Photo by Elio Velez. Walter Wilkerson (wearing red hat) gives instructions to the offensive line during a recent practice. Photo by Elio Velez. There is an air of optimism so far permeating throughout the varsity football training camp at Far Rockaway Educational Campus.

Head coach Walt Wilkerson is looking for his team to climb up the PSAL Cup Division standings this season. The team struggled through lack of depth in a 2-8 season in 2011, which coupled along with key injuries didn’t help the Seahorses cause.

“Our goal is to be a better team at the end of the year than when we started,” Wilkerson said. “We’re just looking to every day move forward with the kids who come down here. We have a good core of kids and I’m excited about the potential that’s out there.”

Wilkerson believes the team is strong in key positions on the offense and defense. With the team low on numbers in terms of the roster, the plan is to not field a junior varsity this season. The goal is to grow the program, and add on to roster when school begins on Thursday.

The offensive plan is to have a balanced attack. Returning to the team this season is Co-captain Romello White, who can provide versatility at a number of spots on the field.

White, a 17-year-old senior, started last season at quarterback, but will see plenty of time at the runningback spot. The speed and cutback ability White has can be more effective if he comes out of the backfield.

Wilkerson is also looking for White to help lead the defense at starting middle linebacker. White echoes his coach’s assertion that a winning season, and fighting for a playoff spot can be realistic goals to strive for.

“With the JV being put together with the varsity, we can get things done,” White said. “Try to make it the playoffs and win as many games as we can.

White added, “I just want to lead the team. Be a leader. There are a lot of young kids on the team.”

There is competition at quarterback with senior lefty Jannick Brown battling newcomer Tresean Harper. There will be some new players that will fill the two wide receiver spots and start on the offensive line.

Jordan Cutler starts for the second year, and the junior was appointed a captain by Wilkerson to become a leader on the offense and defensive line. Senior lineman Terrell “Steak” Lucas is the only other returning starter.

“The receiving core will have to step up from last year,” Wilkerson said. “We’re very young on the offensive line, we’re big, but we got only two starters returning.”

The defense will have a faster and aggressive approach with the appointment of Mark Bacchus as defensive coordinator. Bacchus has coached the junior varsity team for six years.

Cutler and Lucas will have to use their experience to anchor the defensive line. White will start at middle linebacker with Harper and Roquan Conley starting at the outside linebacker roles. Terrelle Lue and Kendel Collis Edwards both return to play cornerback, and a competition is ongoing to fill the two open roles at safety.

“I’m hoping with the new defensive schemes that we can score points, put our offense in better position to score points,” Wilkerson said. “Field position in football is a huge advantage and a huge plus if the defensive can give us better field position and the chance to score more points.”

The team is looking forward to starting the season at home on September 8 at 11 a.m. when Adlai Stevenson High School comes to visit.

Our goals and the theme for this team is to get better every day we get on the field,” Wilkerson said. “Be a better team at the end of the season.”

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