HARRELLS — Head coach Mike Brill begins his second season with the Harrells Christian Academy Crusaders seeking to surmount the loss of some key players and improve on last season’s 7-6 overall record.
“Last season was a good season, but we lost several key players to graduation, eight that played both ways on offense and defense. We currently have four returning players on the offensive line, which means the upper classmen will have to step it up a notch or two to be competitive,” noted Brill.
Those who graduated last year include Marcellos Allen, Marcus Scarborough, Cole Hardison, Jake Register, Kevin Carney, Nathan Casteen, Isaac Edgren and Ethan Hall. Scarborough led the team with 1,559 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns. Casteen led the team in tackles last year with 66.
This season Brill is looking to Gray Fussell, Ty Scarborough, Harley Batchelor and Don Banks to be the go-to guys.
During Fussell’s junior year he threw for 486 yards and completed 24-of-59 passes. Scarborough scored seven touchdowns and pounded out 739 yards on the year, including three games of 100-plus yards.
Defensively, Batchelor, Scarborough, Banks, Elliott Madden, Colby Thomas and Amos Lanier will be called upon to ignite the defense. Batchelor, Banks and Scarborough each had a prominent season a year ago. Banks had 49 tackles, while Batchelor amassed 31 and Scarborough added 28.
Brill said that several players are out of the state playing baseball and they will be missing some practice this week.
“When they return, we will hopefully make up some ground work,” the coach said.
Tyson Newkirk, Wilson Escalante, and Cody Wells are sure to get more playing time, Brill noted. Newcomers to this year’s team include Derrick Bryant, Jalen Washington, Shaquor Newkirk, Luke Davis and Zack Worley, which all show good potential, Brill attested.
“We have 22 on the team right now and players will be called on to step in and be leaders right away. We have a lot of shoes to fill, but the effort and the amount of hard work they put in will hopefully pay off in the long run,” added Brill. “Inexperience and the numbers are hurting us. If we have any injuries, it could be a long season, but hopefully we will stay positive and form a united front.”
Assistant coaches include Kevin Johson, Winfred Johnson, Steve Paylor and Clayton Hall. Brill concluded the Crusaders will run a multiple four defense and a Delaware wing-T offense.
“It should be an interesting season,” Brill stated, “but I’m looking forward to it.”
Melony Henderson can be reached at [email protected] or at 910-376-2127.