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For the last two years, the song has remained the same for South River football.

"We're thin depth-wise, so we'll need to stay healthy," said third-year coach Dave Summey, whose squads have had records of 7-3 and 6-4.

"We only had 57 players come out, which is kind of a disappointment, but as always, our goal will be to make the state playoffs."

Lost to graduation are four impact players -- running back/defensive back Kevin Tydings, tight end Brian McElhenny and linemen Chance Hall and Mike Mazzola.

But the Seahawks return a solid corps of two-waystarters -- eight to be exact -- including senior quarterback Jake Cameron, who saw limited action as a sophomore playing behind second-team All-County quarterback Keith Stone.

Cameron brings a year of experience running South River's multiple-set offense and will have veteran running backs Kevin Ferguson, Chris Messineo and Ricky Brookmanat his disposal.

Ferguson has good size at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds.Messineo is 5-10, 155 pounds.

When Cameron drops back to pass, hewill look for protection from returning linemen Ryan Mansur, Edmund Hicks, Trevor Perkins and Joey Fuqua.

At 6-1 and 180 pounds, Perkins, a team captain a year ago, is among the team's biggest players. His experience will come in handy from his defensive post as linebacker. Ferguson and Hicks also will play linebacker.

"We're small, so we'll have to rely on our quickness," said Summey.

"We'll look fora lot of leadership from Ferguson, Cameron, Perkins and Messineo, but we'll be as strong as our weakest link."

Newcomer Jason Fullmer,a tight end and defensive back, will try to transfer his prowess as a hurdling specialist in track to the gridiron.

Other newcomers expected to contribute are seniors Joe Messenese (running back/defensive back) and Derrick Raikes (offensive tackle/nose guard).

Last year, the Seahawks demonstrated their abilities to stay with top-notch teams.

Among South River's four setbacks was a 25-15 loss to eventual Class 3A state semifinalist Oakland Mills, and a 25-20 decision toNorth County, a team that finished at 8-2.

The Seahawks also lostto Glen Burnie and regional champion and state quarterfinalist Old Mill, but none of those four teams is on South River's schedule this year.

The Seahawks do visit Class 4A state champion Randallstown onOct. 4, however.

The Rams will be without Larry Washington, the area's leading rusher last year, who is now at the University of Maryland.

Also on the Seahawks' 10-game schedule are a Sept. 13 battle at South River with Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference tri-champion St. Mary's, and an Oct. 18 home game against perennial Baltimore County power Perry Hall.

First, however, the Seahawks hope tobegin the season the same way they did last year -- with a victory over host Broadneck Friday night.

"They're well-coached, and they always have skilled players," said Broadneck coach Jeff Herrick, whosesquad never has beaten South River.

The Seahawks had to overcome a 6-0 deficit to win last year's season-opener, 7-6, when Jake Cameron found McElhenny on the end of a nine-yard touchdown catch. Fergusonand Messineo rushed for 83 and 60 yards, respectively, in that game.


. . . in brief

School nickname: Seahawks

Schoolcolors: Silver, blue and white

Name of field/stadium: Papetti Field

Address: 201 Central Ave., Edgewater, Md. 21037

Phone number: 956-5600

Principal: James Hamilton

Athletic director: Jim Haluck

Cheerleading adviser: Terri Bradford

Marching band director: Bill Sturgis

School enrollment: 1,100

League/classification: 3A-2A; 3A

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