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Cadets hope hard work pays off

September 01, 1999|By DAN KAUFFMAN

FREDERICK, Md. - How does a team recover from an 0-10 season?

Work. And lots of it.

That was the theme in the off-season for Frederick. "Any success this year is due to the amount of work done in the offseason," head coach Vince Ahearn said at a preseason practice.

The work started in January with weightlifting. Several Cadet players participated in powerlifting competitions. Most of the backs and receivers ran track in the spring. And more than 30 players, along with the coaches, attended a Navy football camp during the break.

"We went down for four days, and the Navy coaches were great," Ahearn said. "We did our homework in the off-season."

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Yes, this is a different year for Frederick football.

Only eight of the 35 players on this year's team are seniors, but 25 juniors are ready to fill the gaps.

"Last year, it was rough with the sophomores having to play," Ahearn said. "It's nice to be a year older ... to have that year of experience."

Last year, Frederick switched to a 3-4 defense that allowed a state-high 444 points. "We got better each week, but we just couldn't get it together," Ahearn said.

It's back to a 4-3 set this year, something Ahearn is much more comfortable with. "The kids were thinking too much last year, and now we're just going to attack."

Frederick wants to give other defenses too much to think about. With three senior rushers in Jermaine Williams, Jimmy Gray and Issac Solomon, and a mobile quarterback in senior Steve Jones, Ahearn plans to run a triple-option offense.

"We'll have more talent on the field," Ahearn said. "(Defenses) can't key in on one guy or one play."

Not only is Frederick set for improvement now, they're ready for the future as well. 35 players are on the junior varsity team, and over 100 kids turned out for the freshman team tryouts, with 50 making the cut.

"People are enthusiastic about football recently," Ahearn said. "And people should be enthusiastic. Cadet football has nowhere to go but up."

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