Indians on offense
The 2014 Indians will have a stable presence under center in senior Cambrun Graham. He started all 11 games for the Indians last year, and there’s no reason to believe that he won’t hold the position for the entirety of this season as well.
Graham played the role of game manager for most of last year. No wonder, considering starting running back Logan Allen ran for 100-plus yards in every game, save the playoff match-up against eventual state runner-up Heritage (Newport News).
Now that Graham has a full year of varsity experience under his belt, don’t be surprised if head coach Jim Woodson puts a little bit more trust in his signal caller. If Woodson does, and Graham responds positively to the increased responsibility, fans could be in store for more performances like the one he put on at Orange County last October, when he thew for 216 yards and two touchdowns in a 40-16 dismantling of the Hornets.
If there is such a thing as a sure thing on the Indians’ offense this season, it resides four steps behind Graham and has a 6’2, 195-pound frame. Senior Logan Allen, a second team all-region running in 2013, is the real deal. He has Division I size, power, and speed, and will look to improve upon a junior campaign in which he ran for 1,500-plus yards and 20 touchdowns.
The only question with Allen is whether he will be able to stay rested and healthy, considering he doesn’t pay many visits to the sideline
When Allen needs a breather, junior L.J. Jackson, who nearly ran for 1,000 yards in 2013, will offer an explosive alternative.
Jackson is small (5’5”), but highly deceptive and quick. He came on strong at the end of last season, breaking the century mark in three of the last four regular season games.
The starter at the h-back position, which is a sort of fullback/tight-end hybrid in Woodson’s offense, is still to be determined. Sophomore Cameron Kerr spent some time there last year, and it seems he may get the nod again this season.
Kerr, an old school-style runner who brings to mind John Riggins (who was a running back for the New York Jets and Washington Redskins in the National Football League), had a breakout performance against Fluvanna last fall, running for 57 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior Elijiah Goode will return to fill the tight end position. Though he’s known more for his prowess on the defensive side of the ball, he offers a heady and consistent presence at the end of the line, and is versatile and athletic enough to catch the occasional pass in the flat whenever he is called upon.
Senior Chance Morris, who was one of Graham’s favorite targets in ’13, will return to the split end position.
Johnathan Caporale will play flanker after the departure of quarterback-turned-receiver R.J. Thomas.
As for the front five, expect Dan Meeker, Tony Maiolo, Stephon Lemmons, Will Schwartz, Nelson Sutton, Hunter Smith and Trevor Beers to vie for significant playing time.
The Indians on defense
The linebacking corps may very well be the strongest unit on the Indians defense.
Three of the four starters saw significant playing time in ’13, including Allen at weakside outside backer, sophomore Lamont Henderson (son of Indians defensive coordinator Ernie Henderson) at one inside backer and second team all-region selection Elijiah Goode at the other.
The only newcomer is junior Harrison King, who will surely take some pointers from the stable of veterans that surrounds him.
On the defensive front, Schwartz and Sutton will provide pressure from the end positions, while Justin Stoner and Lemmons will hold down the interior.
In the secondary, Morris will man the safety spot, while Jackson and Caporale return to their respective corner positions.
Woodson has expressed concern about the lack of height at the two corners, but seems content to stick with Jackson and Caporale for the time being, considering their innate athleticism.