High School Football: Everyday is new day as Rebels start next adventure

August 31, 2013|By MARK KELLER |
  • South High 2013 Varsity Football Team
By Joe Crocetta / Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Toby Peer knows it’s a cliche, but he’s not going to apologize for it.

He believes it.

“We’re a one-day-at-a-time outfit,” Peer said of his South Hagerstown program. “We have one goal: To get better every day. Champions strive to get better every day. We focus on what we can control and don’t worry about what we can’t control.”

If Peer did worry about things he couldn’t control, he’d probably worry about the fact that he lost about 75 percent of the starters from a team that went 8-2 last season.

Instead, more than anything else, the fourth-year coach is excited about what’s ahead for the Rebels.

“This is an exciting year for our program,” Peer said. “We’re young. We’re real young, and I’m excited to see how our young kids are going to respond. It’s as simple as ‘next man up.’ It’s time for the young pups to grow up, go out and make plays.”

While the Rebels will send a large number of new players onto the field as starters — including an all new offensive line — two key cogs are back in South’s offensive backfield.

Senior running back Isiaha Smith will try to top his historic 2012 season. Smith became the first Washington County player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season, gaining 2,004 yards and scoring 27 touchdowns.

After shattering every school rushing record in one season, Peer said Smith is looking to improve on those numbers by improving himself as a running back.

“He’s a pretty level-headed kid. He wants to extend his career beyond high school,” Peer said. “So he’s hungry to get better at his fundamentals. He wants to play running back in college, so he’s focused and working on his skills.”

Peer said Smith has received scholarship offers from Villanova and James Madison and is drawing interest from other schools.

Also returning for his senior season is quarterback Brandon Jackson, who showed marked improvement in his first year in South’s system after transferring from Williamsport.

“He really improved by leaps and bounds from the start of the year to the end, and he’s really come along since last year,” Peer said. “Quarterback is a difficult position to play, and then coming in and learning a new system in a hurry makes it more difficult. Brandon is a very focused individual and he’d like to go on and play in college, too.”

Jackson rushed for more than 600 yards and threw for 850 in his junior season, which — under normal conditions — would allow Peer to throw some new wrinkles into his spread offense.

“It would, but we’ve got new receivers and offensive line. We’re just trying to get the basics right now,” Peer said.

Tight end Michael Burgess and slot receiver Noah Wright also return, but the experience level drops off considerably from there.

Peer has yet to name starters along the offensive line. Eddie Slater, Gary Robinson, Sabry Mkamba, Dylan Jones, Travis Dodson, George Robinson and Avery Bolton all will see significant playing time, but Peer is still looking for the best combination of those individuals.

“The mindset of a lineman is entirely different from a skill player,” Peer said. “They just come to do their work every day, and they’re usually a tight-knit group to begin with.  Right now, we’re just trying to see what people work well together. We’re really proud of their progress and their attitudes.”

The Rebels will look to another group of players to fill out both the receiving corps and the defensive backfield. Tyrone Hill, Dom Johnson, D’morea James, Jason Smith, Jake Boutiller, Cole Stotler, Cole Barnhart and Miles Greenwood all are in the mix to play on one or both sides of the ball.

“We’ll train them all both ways so if we need to use them both ways, we can,” Peer said.

Kyrell McDonald returns at nose tackle, while Burgess and Ramal Martinez provide stability at the linebacker position.

“I think everyone is champing at the bit to go have some fun and make some plays,” Peer said. “I’d love to be a player on this team. They have nothing to lose. Let’s go have fun, put it all on the line.”

No.    Name    Class    Pos.    Ht.    Wt.  
1    D’morea James    Jr.    WR-DB    5-8    145
3    Dom Johnson    Jr.    WR-DB    5-6    133
4    Miles Greenwood    Jr.    WR-DB    5-10    160
5    Josiah Johnson    Jr.    RB-DB    5-9    155
7    Jake Boutiller    Jr.    WR-DB    6-0    186
9    Mike Burgess    Sr.    TE-LB    6-2    205
10    Brandon Jackson    Sr.    QB    6-1    245
11    Cole Stotler    Jr.    WR-DB    5-10    140
12    Tyrone Hill    Sr.    WR-DB    5-6    141
14    Brayden Tiner    Sr.    K    5-10    140
17    Indolfo Hernandez    Jr.    WR-DB    5-5    158
18    Jordan McGhee    Jr.    WR-DB    5-8    145
19    Chance Hendershot    Sr.    TE-LB    6-0    176
20    Keifer Smelgus    Jr.    WR-LB    5-11    172
21    Jaiquon Mckoy    Jr.    WR-LB    5-7    165
22    Rob Baker    Jr.    TE-LB    6-0    185
23    Ramal Martinez    Jr.    RB-LB    6-0    189
24    Collins Johnson    Sr.    WR-DB    5-7    141
26    Ray Breland    Jr.    FB-LB    5-7    206
28    Jason Smith    Jr.    WR-DB    5-10    148
33    Zach Hinebaugh    Sr.    WR    5-6    151
34    Jeremy Englehart    Jr.    WR-DB    5-9    139
36    Noah Wright    Sr.    WR-DB    5-7    150
39    Isiaha Smith    Sr.    RB-LB    5-10    223
42    Craig Coffin    Sr.    FB-LB    5-3    177
44    Cortland Nichols    Sr.    RB-LB    5-11    157
45    Colby Myers    Jr.    RB-LB    5-10    188
48    Justin Bertrand    Jr.    TE-DL    5-10    193
51    Eddie Slater    Sr.    OL-DL    5-8    240
52    Sabry Mkamba    Sr.    OL-DL    5-10    215
53    Jared Harman    Jr.    OL-DL    5-11    201
55    Damien Rhymer    Jr.    OL-DL    6-1    215
57    Travis Dodson    Jr.    OL-DL    5-10    233
63    Gary Robinson    Sr.    OL-DL    6-1    233
70    Kyle Cove    Jr.    OL-DL    6-0    201
72    Dylan Jones    Jr.    OL-DL    5-11    281
73    Kyrell McDonald    Sr.    OL-DL    5-7    170
74    Miles Jackson    Jr.    OL-DL    6-2    350
76    Adrian Thomas    Sr.    OL-DL    6-6    316
77    Avery Bolton    Jr.    OL-DL    5-10    238
78    Kyle Haskins    Soph.    OL-DL    5-7    263
79    George Robinson    Jr.    OL-DL    6-1    275
80    Cole Barnhart    Jr.    WR-DB    6-0    144
81    Robert Beasley    Sr.    WR-DB    5-6    134
88    Kenny Esstrada     Sr.    WR-LB    5-8    162

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