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FB Preview -- Saint James transitions into a new era

September 02, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE/koelble@herald-mail.com

They were firmly entrenched at Saint James for what seemed like forever.

It was Mike Russ, Justin Barr, Spencer Draper and others everywhere.

The time has come for the post-Russ era to begin Sept. 11 when Saint James School travels to Hancock to begin a nine-game schedule.

It will be hard to replace numbers such as Russ' 2,173 yards passing and 87 receptions between Barr and Draper, all helping the Saints post a 6-3 record last year. Someone gets that nod and it appears to be veteran Dylan Zimmerman.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior will be thrust into the limelight on both sides of scrimmage -- as a tailback, wide receiver and defensive back.

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"We'll still run the spread and go out of an 'I' formation and we've got to get the ball in Dylan's hands," said second-year coach Chris Milmoe. "We want to get him the ball in the open space with screens and short passes."

At other skill positions, however, there are questions to be answered.

Junior Jamie Peterson (5-10, 170) is the likely successor at quarterback as he moves up from junior varsity. And two sophomores -- Emmett Orfan and Avery Wilmore -- are top candidates at wide receiver. The speedy Wilmore (6-2, 195) is a transfer from Bullis School.

"A lot of questions ... We're green at receiver," said Milmoe.

Tackles Joe Perri (6-3, 220) and Mo Townes (6-3, 250) will anchor the offensive line.

Even though Saint James had a winning record, there were times the Saints defense was ransacked by opponents, especially in the more than 500-yard barrage by Randolph Macon Academy.

"After that game, we switched back to a 4-3 defense and that's how we'll go this year," said Milmoe. "We play some zone and use some blitz packages."

Milmoe is excited about his pair of ends -- Perri and Will Smith, a 6-7, 220-pound senior. Perri had nine sacks last year.

"They are the strongest part of our defense," Milmoe said. "We'll have some other spots to tighten up."

The Saints' goal is to go 3-1 in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, according to Milmoe, but the overall goal is to be at least 6-3 this season.

"I think it's realistic," he said. "I feel good about the work that has been done in the offseason by those that live in the area."

Milmoe said perennial MAC favorite Flint Hill graduated about 24 players but still has about 60 in camp.

"Bishop Walsh, Maryland School for Deaf, Potomac ... those are big games this year," he said.

Click here for Saint James football roster and schedule.

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