Eastmoor Academy

Warriors will have different look this year

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Senior Jahmal Hughes is in a three-way battle to replace Davion Barrow at quarterback for the Warriors.

Eastmoor Academy football coach Jim Miranda has been quite content playing a power game, but the Warriors will look much different this season.

"We're going a little bit out of our comfort zone," said Miranda, who begins his 11th season Friday, Aug. 30, against visiting Westland. "We've been a two-back, go get 'em team and now we're trying something different. Everybody is learning it, including the staff, so it's challenging for us."

Eastmoor intends to spread out its opponents and utilize a number of running backs in returning starter and senior Derrick Wilson Jr., senior Martine Perez, senior Kevin Jackson and junior Jaylen Woody.

Miranda expects all of them to contribute. Perez missed much of last season with an injury.

While extremely young up front, Eastmoor does have a mobile group that will be led by junior returning starter Jaylen Smith. Juniors Lawrence Dailey (6-foot-5, 240 pounds), Issah Ray, Zahir Hicks and Lane Applin will move into starting roles on the line.

Competing at quarterback are senior Jahmal Hughes and juniors Tyler Simmons and Brandon Stepter. One of them will take over for 2013 graduate Davion Barrow, who threw for more than 1,000 yards last year.

Junior George Daniels and sophomore Terry Johnson are new at wide receiver.

"We really have a three-back, spread offense this year," said Miranda, whose team went 6-4 overall a year ago. "We just have too many skilled kids and we want them to get a lot of touches. Hopefully as they get better we'll be able to attack on the perimeter and run up inside as well."

Eastmoor, which last reached the playoffs in 2011 when it lost to Elida 37-10 in a Division III regional final, has been a consistent contender in the City League-South Division.

The Warriors were third (5-2) last season behind Marion-Franklin (7-0) and Walnut Ridge (6-1).

Eastmoor came up short in back-to-back losses to Walnut Ridge (21-6) and Marion-Franklin (6-0) in weeks eight and nine last season. The Warriors also fell 42-13 to Dayton Thurgood Marshall, a team that reached a Division III state semifinal.

The Warriors' defense also is a work in progress with seniors Cameron Jackson (LB) and William McCarey (DL) as the only returning starters.

The competition has been strong at linebacker, where sophomores David Via and Quincy Colvin, who was a third-team all-state punter last season, appear to have secured starting roles.

In the secondary, Wilson, Perez, senior Cameron Horner and junior Christopher Allen-Spiller will be the starters.

Miranda will put Dailey, senior Treyvon Kee and sophomore Chauncey Coleman up front.

"The good news is we're going to have most of these guys back next year," Miranda said. "We have good depth, but we just lack experience. It's made for competitive practices. When one guy does well, the other is going to step it up."