Four teams all hoping and working for a better 2013 gathered this week for camp at Carmel High School: Carmel, John Jay, Fox Lane and Arlington. All four fell short of expectations in 2012 to varying degrees, and all four face very different questions as the summer continues to unfold.
The focus here is on John Jay, which lost about as much offensive talent as any team in Class A. The Indians had seemed poised to contend for a sectional title after falling just short the year before, but their defense struggled and their lack of depth proved troublesome. They collapsed in Week 2 against Harrison, blowing a four-touchdown lead in the second half, and never seemed to recover.
The biggest issue facing John Jay is how to replace the production of its talented skill players, particularly QB/WRs Jack Lambert and Tyler Keech. Junior Ryan Lee will step in as the new starter, a job that is as fun and provides as much opportunity as any in the section. The only back joining Lee who received a decent amount of work last year is Vince Foti.
The leader up front is now Etnik Rraci, a three-year starter who is big and strong. Both Lee and Rraci give their thoughts on my video.
Arlington’s QB Brandon Tobin was among those who also impressed me last night. He threw well on the run and showed plenty of accuracy. He also had a hard hit and an interception at defensive back and should play a vital role on both sides of the ball for the Admirals, who try to rebound from a winless 2012. Another factor will be Ketcham transfer DeAndre Jones at RB. Jones was banged up during a scrimmage against Carmel Tuesday night and didn’t participate Wednesday, so I didn’t get a chance to see him.
Despite low numbers, according to coach Steve Quinn, Fox Lane had a pair of guys who impressed. RB Chris Johnson had a few tough runs against Arlington and has plenty of quickness. NG Adan Barrientos was a monster up front at 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, breaking through the Arlington line on a couple occasions.
Unlike Fox Lane, Carmel had solid numbers, but the Rams were smaller up front than you’d expect. They struggled moving the ball against John Jay’s defense, although Carmel had a stronger showing Tuesday night against Arlington. The Rams rotated three quarterbacks and seem to have a real competition for the coveted position.