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Saints turning over Keyes

August 31, 2000

Saints turning over Keyes



By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer

photos: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Huguenin, Keyes and MoyetST. JAMES - St. James football coach Daryl Hayes is playing host to an informercial.

He's no Ron Popiel, but the Saints' third coach in three years is not only trying to prepare the small private school on the south side of town to open the season in just eight practice days, he's doing it while trying to make one heck of a sales pitch.

"We are as bare bones as a team could be," Hayes said. "We are going to have a lot of freshman and first-year sophomore starters ... We are going to be small in size and in numbers, but we are trying to win over their hearts and minds. If you are a 1-9 team, it's tough to pay attention. I want to win right away."

It almost sounds like an advanced game of "rock, paper, scissors."

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Billy KeyesHayes is working with a young team consisting of 32 players ranging from grades 7-12. There is little size and less experience. St. James' major asset is senior quarterback Billy Keyes, who has sailed to the rescue more often than the host of "Survivor." And he has the marks to prove it.

"Billy has the strongest arm of any high school kid I have ever seen," Hayes said. "But he has the habit of throwing off his back foot because he is used to throwing to get away from the rush."

Keyes holds one of the, well, keys to the Saints' success but he's only one skeletons on the ring.

Hayes plans on shuffling in two other quarterbacks - Sid Huguenin and Will Moyet - to diversify the offensive looks and possibilities starting this afternoon against Maryland School for the Deaf.

"Billy has the strong arm but Sid is faster and can move around the pocket," Hayes said. "Will is the school's first all-state wrestler and has a lot of quick moves. All of them will help our wing-T offense."

Keyes will be the primary starter with Huguenin working as the wingback where he can throw out of some option plays if needed. Brandon Monroe and Antoine Cooper will be running backs for the Saints.

"I like (the idea of splitting time,)" said Keyes, who is the only prep player to be selected the All-Mid Atlantic Conference first team in three sports. "It opens up other opportunities for me. Last year, everyone was keying on Keyes. They did that and they shut down St. James. This year, we will be more diversified."

Defensively, the Saints will be looking at the same cast to stop the ball that they are counting to move it on offense. Keyes and Huguenin will be playing ends in the 50 set with Michael Lilchitski playing middle linebacker. Monroe and Cooper will be the cornerbacks while Will and John Moyet will play the safeties.

"Lilchitski is the biggest hitter we have," Hayes said.

While St. James may be missing a lot, Hayes says the Saints possess the ability to have a big season.

"My problem is my ability to be optimistic is limited," Hayes said. "I wasn't here ... We are better than they were last year. How we do against MSD will be a barometer. Last year, they lost by 14. If we lose by 14, then we are in the same place. If we lose or win by one or two, things will be a lot different."

And Keyes can handle that.

"I'm totally comfortable with this," the senior said. "If I'm not the shining star, I don't mind not being the shining star, as long as we win."

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