By Tom Worgo, firstname.lastname@example.org
8:10 AM EDT, September 12, 2013
Wind up Franklin's offense and watch it go. At least that's what the Indians hope they'll be able to do this season.
Despite averaging 35 points a game last year, those gaudy numbers won't be enough production for head football coach Anthony Burgos and offensive coordinator Ryan Hain this fall.
The coaching staff thinks the offense can be more explosive and take another step forward, despite the graduation of quarterback Jackson Thornton (Lycoming College) and big-play wide receivers and brothers Marquise and Reggie Ellis, both of whom are playing at Shepherd University.
"We think the offense will be more dynamic than last year," said Hain, whose team returns seven offensive starters from a 10-2 squad that fell to Milford Mill in the 2012 Class 3A North Region final. "Fifty points a game is the number we are shooting for. We want to pick up the tempo and huddle less."
Junior Jacquez Adams (5-foot-11, 160 pounds) steps into the starting role at quarterback, and he may be even a better overall player than Thornton.
Adams started two games last year and played in several others while running the spread offense.
In his 2013 debut, Adams threw for 303 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 56 yards and score, although he also had costly interceptions in a 28-14 loss to Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference power Calvert Hall, ranked No 5 in the metro area by the Baltimore Sun.
Despite the season-opening setback, Hain knows Adams will have some standout performances soon.
"He can run and pass well," Hain said. "We haven't had that in recent years."
Burgos, an 11th-year coach, likes Adams' ability to scramble when the pocket breaks down.
"He is a Division I athlete and he really can create a lot of offense using his feet," Burgos said. "If we hadn't had Jackson last year, we would have been fine with Adams. He played a lot last year and was tremendous."
The Indians have size and speed at wide receiver in senior Taurus Bruton (6-1, 185) and juniors Jordan Adams (6-0, 170) and Steven Smothers (5-11, 160).
The fleet-footed Smothers is a dangerous deep threat, who runs a 4.5 40-yard dash and averaged a healthy 29 yards per catch last year. He torched the Cardinals' secondary for seven receptions, 117 yards and a touchdown in the Indians' opener.
"He will be one of the major players in the area for the next couple of years," Burgos said. "He is so elusive. He has that next-level of speed. He has the potential to be like a (University of Maryland wideout) Stefon Diggs or a (St. Louis Rams top draft pick and Dunbar grad) Tavon Austin. He is the real deal."
Senior Marquis Miller (5-8, 160) should also be a valuable pass catcher.
Juniors Darius Hinton (5-11, 200) and Maurice McFadden (5-6, 175) will be the focus of the running game. They'll be working behind junior fullback Kiandre Burrell (5-6, 189) and a big and physical offensive line anchored by junior tackles Patrick Allen (6-5, 270) and Evan Ostrow (6-2, 250), junior guard Eric Ostrow (6-1, 240) and senior center Josh Cohen (5-10, 306), a transfer from Pikesville.
Allen has attracted attention from some of the nation's best college football programs.
"Patrick has 12 Division I offers from schools like (the University of) Georgia and Florida State (University)," Burgos said.
On defense, Franklin is switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme and returns six starters from a unit that gave up only 185 points.
"Our defense didn't necessarily hold up its end of the bargain last year at times," Burgos said. "We want to utilize our personnel a little bit better. We were playing guys out of position last year."
Burrell could be the biggest benefactor of the new defense. He'll move from defensive end to linebacker and lead that unit along with senior Bruce Damon (5-11, 205) and Sonny Csorba (5-9, 190), a transfer from St. Vincent Pallotti.
"We think we can utilize all his skills better," Burgos said of Burrell, a Rivals.com all-state honorable mention pick last year.
Junior cornerback Jordan Adams (6-0, 170) highlights a secondary that also features Bruton and RJ Mays (5-7, 143).
"He is a Division I cornerback," Burgos said of Adams. "He has offers from Rutgers (University) and Virginia Tech."
Junior Matthew White (6-0, 172) and Julius Fakhoury (6-1, 245) spearhead the line.