Caroline, 33-29, to avenge a playoff loss to the Bulldogs the previous year, before seeing their season end with a 2221 loss to Harford Tech in the Class 2A East Region final.
Kent Island’s new group of players hopes to continue that postseason streak.
“The people we have in those positions are more than capable of being successful,” Ferragamo said. “One of our running backs, Ke’Juan Johnson, a sophomore, he was on varsity for the first half of last year, but we were a very heavy senior-laden team last year, so we had to put him down on jayvee just so he could get on the field a little bit.”
When Burnside isn’t handing the ball off to Johnson or junior fullback Isaiah Shockley, he’ll try to connect through the air with junior tight end Bryan Heim or senior wide receivers Thomas and Chase Cooney.
“Through our whole preseason, our quarterback’s done a great job. We haven’t asked him to do a whole lot, but when we have thrown the ball he’s been pretty successful,” Ferragamo said.
On the line, Kent Island features an all-senior group with Nolan Gallagher at center, Brendan Wilburn and Adam Bode at guard, and Grayson Colchagoff and Kashawn Tomlinson at tackle.
“Three of those guys were starters last year and Adam Bode and Grayson Colchagoff were both with us last year,” Ferragamo said. “They’re stepping into a bigger role this year but so far they’ve done a great job.”
Tomlinson (6-foot-5, 289 pounds) will also play noseguard on defense. Alongside him at tackle will be juniors Floyd Butler (6-3, 230) and Haydyn Blanchard (6-2, 245). Shockley (5-10, 174) and senior Taquan Courtney (6-3, 210) are the defensive ends.
“Obviously our strength is up front, on both our offensive and defensive line,” Ferragamo said. “Where we’re a little vulnerable is just depth, especially depth at the skill positions. So we need to stay healthy. So far, so good, but it could happen at any time.”
Gallagher (5-10, 225) and Heim (5-10, 200) anchor the middle of the defense at linebacker. Secondary players are senior safeties Cooney (5-10, 175) and Bradley Graff (5-9, 170) and cornerbacks Thomas (5-8, 162) and Johnson (5-9, 172).
Joe Garvey, a junior, returns to fill place-kicking duties and Courtney will handle the punting.
With seven players potentially playing on both sides of the ball, the Bucs will likely need help from reserves to be successful.
“What I’m excited about is the work ethic of the team,” Ferragamo said. “Our roster is pretty small. We have 33 kids on varsity. We’re usually up at 45 to 47. I have no complaints about their effort and dedication since football camp started. I’m just excited to see all the hard work they’ve done come through here and get the season kicked off.”
In addition to tough matchups against North Bayside opponents this season, Ferragamo sees increased competition from South Bayside schools. “I think some teams are going to make some strides forward,” he said. “I saw it happen a little bit last year. I know Wi-Hi is filled with a bunch of athletes and they have a Division I kid on their team on the defensive line. All the Salisbury schools are always dangerous. They always have a bunch of talent.”
Snow Hill has a new head coach, which means the Eagles may struggle through the transition this fall. “They kind of go through head coaches a lot and I think that kind of hurts their continuity a little bit,” Ferragamo said. “Being one of the smaller schools in the state that has football, their numbers are always low. … Believe, me, we’re not taking anything for granted. I don’t think there’s been a whole lot of teams that have been successful with a freshman quarterback and sophomore tailback, so we have a long road ahead of us.”
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