Boys' Latin football coach Ritchie Schell is not one to exaggerate. So when Schell says his defense could be even better than last year’s dominating unit that gave up only 75 points in nine games, you tend to believe him.
Nine returning starters fuel Schell’s optimism.
“We were the best defense in the (Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B) conference last year,” said Schell, a 14-year coach whose team went 6-3 last year. “And our defense could be as good as it’s ever been. We are fast, athletic and strong.”
The most experience in the 3-4 defense is at linebacker, where all four starters are back.
Senior outside linebacker Preston Waters (6 feet 1, 215 pounds) leads the group.
He had 13 sacks last year, including four against two-time defending B Conference champion St. Paul’s.
“He is the real deal and is being recruited by Maryland, Towson and Delaware,” Schell said.
Senior William Wingo (6-2, 200) starts outside with Waters and seniors Luke Brown (6-0, 190) and Gavin Howell (6-1, 225) are the playmakers inside.
Senior ends Michael Short (5-10, 170) and Devin Shewell (6-0, 205) will anchor a line that also includes sophomore end/tackle Victor Dimukeje (6-2, 218).
The secondary features two retuning starters, senior safeties Stephon Hill (5-11, 185) and Anthony Wyler (5-9, 170), and two newcomers at cornerback, junior Sam Bowen (5-10, 175) and sophomore Desmond Banks (5-8, 160).
The offense graduated quarterback Frederick Bopst, who went on to to play at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania on a football scholarship.
Now, the offense can be built around junior Logan Wisnauskas (6-4, 195), who led the Lakers’ junior varsity to an 11-0 record last year.
“He has a chance to be very good,” Schell said of Wisnauskas, who will play lacrosse on a scholarship at Syracuse University. “He is a very good athlete, has a strong arm and great football acumen.”
Wisnauskas’ targets will include junior wide receiver Davy Lizana (6-3, 195) and senior wide receivers Myles Cohen (5-10, 180) and Gavin Callahan (5-11, 170).
There should be plenty of carries for senior tailback Jerel Archer (5-11, 180).
He’ll work behind an offensive line of seniors Dimitri Lezcano (6-0, 245), Tyler Jarman (6-4, 240), Nick Morton (5-10, 235), Jacob Rubenstein (5-9, 195) and junior N.J. Black (5-10, 235).
If the offense struggles, Schell can look to junior kicker Domonic Maggio (6-0, 135), who has committed to Wake Forest University.
“This team reminds me of the 2009 team that was undefeated,” Schell said. “We have excellent leadership and 20 really good seniors. We have eight guys, who want to play college football. They are serious players.”
Boys' Latin opens the season Sept. 6 against Landon (Noon) at home.