With the three-year reign of former coach Rocco Bruno in the rear view mirror, Friends is starting over with Jason Murphy at the helm of a program that hopes to grow under his experienced tutelage.
After all, Murphy was a two-way lineman at Virginia Tech and logged time on the practice squads of several NFL teams. The 2000 Baltimore Sun Defensive Player of the Year from Edmondson Westside High School also played professionally in NFL Europe.
His roots in the game run deep, and he’s hoping to use his expertise to help the Quakers get up to speed in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference this fall.
Murphy added that it was the perfect time for him to leave his job as an assistant coach at Stevenson University for the past three seasons to take over at Friends.
“I wanted to make a difference at a school that hasn’t had a lot of success,” Murphy said
Like his predecessor, Murphy is looking for a way to forge a winning season.
“I have to teach them the way to work,” he said. “They have to learn to pay the price by putting the work in.”
He said that a core group of 15 players did just that this summer, and the effort is continuing with preseason practice.
To that end, Murphy’s new charges competed in a seven-on-seven league this summer at Gilman where he felt the squad more than held its own.
What Murphy has learned about his team is that junior quarterbacks
David Gantt (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and Ethan Seifert (6-0, 185) are skilled enough to give the Quakers’ spread offense — with a little Wing-T thrown in for good measure — two able field generals.
When they aren’t throwing, the signal callers will hand off to junior running backs Kavon Samuels (5-9, 160) or Tres Conaway (5-10, 190). Senior Tommy Enokian (5-9-185) will either spread wide or man the backfield at fullback.
Senior tight end John Schreck (6-3, 245) and his junior counterpart Tyler Kessenich (6-2, 190) also figure to be keys to the offense, whether in blocking or receiving schemes.
Samuel Billups (6-4, 315) will anchor the line on offense and defense.
The senior standout will be joined on the D-line by ends Schreck, Kessenich and Seifert while Gantt will fill an outside linebacker slot opposite Enokian in the 3-4 defensive alignment.
Samuels and Conaway will shore up the secondary for the Quakers.
“Our goals is to win at lest half our games, but we’d like to win more than that,” Murphy said. “If we perform the way we should, we can do it.”