PHILADELPHIA — The turf field behind Indian River High School buzzed as the Warriors reconvened for football training camp ahead of the 2019 season. The reigning Section 3 Class A champions are preparing for Norwich in week one at the Carrier Dome.
While the Warriors return quite a few notable players from a season ago, there are plenty of new faces joining the varsity team. Of the 36 players, 11 are sophomores, the most in coach Cory Marsell nearly 15 years.
Marsell noted a few of the sophomores who can play big roles this season.
“Well one of them was up last year, Jake Whitmore is looking very good, he’s a difference maker,” Marsell said. “Some of the other sophomores that are up that are going to be playing big roles are Michael Davis, he’s a linebacker, and Gabe Lynch played some linebacker and fullback.”
It wasn’t that long ago that the veterans on the team were in the same position of the current sophomores. Senior quarterback Bobby Alexander knows he has to step up as a leader to help the new players along.
“I just always have to be there for them and make sure that I’m always helping them with whatever questions they got,” Alexander said.
Alexander’s role at quarterback has slowly increased each year he’s been on varsity. Marsell hopes to get Alexander more involved in the offense during the quarterback’s senior season.
“He’ll get more calls specifically for him whether that be the option or other run plays or even pass plays,” Marsell said. “[His legs] aren’t a strength of Bobby’s but it’s not a weakness anymore either as he’s gotten older. He doesn’t need to hit the home run, matter of fact, in the sectional semifinals game versus Auburn he had a 50-yard run.”
Alexander has weapons around him, most notably senior running back Guillermo Rosario-Acosta. Backing up Kwazsi Gaddis last season, Rosario-Acosta still ran for 1,811 yards and scored 22 touchdowns.
With three of the five linemen returning, led by junior Garret Decker, the Warriors should again be a very dominant rushing team.
“We have to be able to have that dominant attitude; we have to be able to set the tone for the offensive line,” Decker said. “It’s teamwork stuff, too, so we’re encouraging each other and just getting better as a team while we’re getting stronger and faster.”