New head coach Ryan Pittillo takes over the football team at Towson High and he plans to make some changes a year after the Generals won only one of nine games.
“I like to start things off with a new slate, new kids,” said Pittillo, a 2008 graduate from Perry Hall High School. “A lot of kids graduated last year, so it is pretty much wide open.”
One of those who returned is senior Roger Holcombe.
Holcombe was the quarterback for a 2016 Generals’ squad that lost three of their eight games by a total of 16 points, including two in overtime.
With the Generals running a single wing offense this year, Holcombe will take some of the snaps in the shotgun.
“He has a great attitude and his athleticism is off the charts.” Pittillo said. “I’m going to try to get him in the open field. Any time you get the ball in his hands good things usually do happen. That’s going to be our goal a lot this year.”
Pittillo, who coached the 14-and-under Loch Raven recreation league last year and the 14U Perry Hall league the year before that, is not afraid to implement the new offense.
“It’s more of a non-traditional offense,” said Pittillo, who took over the head coaching position from Chad Knippenberg. “It’s shotgun every play and different people throw the football.”
Junior Brian Carter will take snaps along with Holcombe, after not playing last season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.
“He’s another kid with a great attitude, very good athlete and he’s very fast,” said Pittillo, who played college football at Salisbury University. “He’s one of the kids who will just do anything you ask.”
Junior Alex Simet returns after being a captain as a sophomore and he’ll play linebacker and fullback.
“He’s a very intelligent and tough player,” Pittillo said. “He will do anything for the team. He is one of those kids who will give 100 percent all the time. He’s a natural leader.”
The offensive line will get a newcomer in 6-foot-4, 250-pound freshman Omari Lewis.
He will be joined on the line by sophomore Cory Gray (6-2, 240), junior Jamiel Carlton (5-10, 240) and seniors Jake Orendorff (6-1, 220), Dyson Adams (5-10, 175) and Matt Jahries (6-1, 190).
Orendorff, a standout pitcher on the baseball team, will be the lead guard.
“He’s kind of our leader on the offensive line,” Pittillo said.
Jahries takes over in the middle of the line at center.
“He’s a very good lacrosse player, but we were looking for a center and he stepped up and said ‘Coach, I think I can do it,’ ” Pittillo said. “He put the team first. He had never even played center before.”
Adams is also a standout lacrosse player who has made a smooth transition to the gridiron.
“He will start on both sides of the field,” Pittillo said. “He’s strong, solid, fast and athletic.”
Sophomore Nayshin Simmons (5-10, 180) will be featured in the backfield after he transferred in from Parkville High after not playing football there last year.
Pittillo is familiar with Simmons, having coached him in the Perry Hall recreation league two years ago.
“He’s a tough kid,” said Pittillo, noting he will play inside linebacker.
Sophomore Karon Ball should make an impact at wide receiver.
The Generals open the season in Anne Arundel County against Chesapeake High on Sept. 2, before they return for back-to-back home games against Perry Hall and Dulaney.
Pittillo knows how big the Dulaney game is and he’s heard about last year’s 30-13 loss from his players.
“The big rivalry game is Dulaney and like Roger Holcombe said, ‘he’s never beaten Dulaney,’ ” Pittillo said. “That will be a big one for us this year.”
Beyond that, he has higher goals for the Generals.
“I’m really hoping this year that we can give them a winning season,” Pittillo said.
Sept. 2 at Chesapeake (AA), 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Perry Hall, 2 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Dulaney, 1 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Patapsco, 4 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Sparrows Point, 6 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Chesapeake (BC), 1 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Loch Raven, 1 p.m.
Oct. 21 vs. Lansdowne, 1 p.m.
Oct. 27 at Woodlawn, 7 p.m.
Nov. 3 at Pikesville, 7 p.m.