If stamina comes into play on the football field this season, expect Western Tech to use to its advantage.
“I tell the kids every year, we may not be the best team in Baltimore County, but we are going to be the most in shape team in Baltimore County,” said Alan Lagon, in his 12th season as head coach of the school that celebrates its 20th year of football.
The Wolverines have to be in shape because they run a no-huddle option offense. The key to that offense will be three returning starters on the line and three veteran leaders in the backfield.
Returning linemen include senior guard/defensive end DeMarcus Wirsing (6 feet 4, 235 pounds), junior center Shawn Kaslak (5-10, 230) and senior tackle John Smith (6-0, 205).
Wirsing is from Arbutus, but didn’t play youth ball, but Kaslak, a Lansdowne resident, played for the Arbutus Golden Eagles.
“Both of them are setting good examples so far,” Lagon said.
They bring different skill sets.
“Shawn is very good technically and sound using his feet, and he loves football,” Lagon said. “DeMarcus is one of the pulling guards and he can move. He’s turning into a pretty good ballplayer. He’s starting to use his size and length for leverage.”
Wirsing’s leadership has also surfaced.
“Right now DeMarcus is doing very well setting an example for the offensive line. He’s usually the first one out there and Shawn is not far behind him,” Lagon said.
Smith, who lives in Catonsville, and senior Okeze Nwator (5-11, 200) are the tackles with senior Deven Harris (5-10, 210) filling the other guard slot vacated by Sheriff Adewumi (5-9, 230).
Adewumi moves from guard to feature running back and he has proven to be a leader on and off the field.
“Sheriff does everything right,” Lagon said of the third-year varsity player. “Whatever you ask him to do, he is going to do it right. I don’t have to tell him to do things twice.”
He also likes to hit.
“He just likes lighting people up,” Lagon said. “Our fullback is usually our best running back. He’s going to be a workhorse and he’s going to just plow into the line.”
The backfield also features running back Anthony Pompey (5-11, 180) and quarterback Angelo Payne (5-10, 180).
Both of them played some quarterback last season when starting signal-caller Jamal Pryor went down early with an injury.
“We rotated a lot of people there because of injuries,” Lagon said. “The problem last year was inconsistency.”
Lagon likes the early returns on the pair.
“Angelo is really stepping up and Pompey is really a better running back and we are going to move him all over the field,” Lagon said. “We are expecting a good year out of Anthony.”
Pompey showed his mettle last season when he scored four touchdowns, including the game winner against Owings Mills.
The Wolverines graduated top running back Tejon Anthony, who went to wrestle at George Mason University.
They also lost Josh Miles, who is now playing football at Morgan State.
They were among four starters lost from last year’s squad.
“We are going to be a running team,” said Lagon, who will also employ senior Quentin Austin (5-7, 150), Malcolm Facey (5-7, 185) and Michael O’Neil (5-11,185) at running back.
When they do pass, all-division senior wide receiver Kelechi Kalu (6-2, 175) should be a prime target, along with senior Aaron Bailey (6-2, 200) and juniors Cole Stephen-Hill (5-10, 165) and Miles Dorsey (6-0, 175).
“Kelechi Kulu is probably the best athlete in the school,” said Lagon, noting the track standout’s ability to dunk. “He’s just a freak athlete.”
“I think Miles Dorsey is going to be a sleeper because he’s a very fundamentally sound player and he’s a smart kid,” Lagon said.
With only 25 players on the roster, the coach will have to use several players both ways.
The defensive line is anchored by the biggest player on the team, junior Oluseyi Adeoyi (6-0, 315), and senior Carlos Winston (5-6, 190).
They’ll be flanked by Bailey and Wirsing on the ends.
Linebacking candidates include Pompey and Facey on the outside and Adewumi on the inside.
Nadir Banfield (5-10, 190) and Dorsey add linebacking depth.
Starting cornerbacks are junior Harmony Obasi (5-9, 180) and senior James Leverett (5-10, 160) and safeties Payne and Kalu.
Juniors Zaki Gregory (5-10, 160), Shamar Harry (5-8, 155), Gary Logan (5-10, 165), Munyarad Mangwende (5-9, 160) and Boris Marboah (6-0, 170) could also help in the defensive backfield.
Although Lagon wouldn’t make a prediction on a record, he likes his team’s makeup.
“What I like about the team is they all have good attitudes,” Lagon said. “They are enthusiastic, which is a good sign.”