Team: South Lakes Seahawks (Liberty District)
Coach: Marvin Wooten (2nd year)
2010 Record: 1-9 (1-6, Liberty)
Last Game: Lost 17-7 at Thomas Jefferson on Nov. 4, 2011
Key Departures: QB Calvin Vaughn, SS Devin Johnson
Key Returning Players: CB/WR Zac Parker, QB Rashaan Jones, CB/WR Kai Denny, RB R.J. Lee
Position Strengths: RB, WR
Key Games: Aug. 30 at Westfield; Sept. 7 at Herndon; Sept. 14 vs. Stone Bridge.
Coach Marvin Wooten’s first year at South Lakes was a tumultuous one full of adversity on and off of the football field. Wooten's mother was killed in a car accident days before his team’s season opener against Westfield.
After inheriting a squad that went 8-4 under coach Andy Hill the previous season, the Seahawks posted just one victory, a 22-16 late-October win over Marshall.
Wooten and the Seahawks’ didn’t have the luxury of playing a couple of tune-up games to begin the season and opened against 12-win Westfield and 10-win Stone Bridge two weeks later. Despite being outscored 102-19 in both losses, it provided the Seahawk players and coaches with valuable experience.
Wooten served as South Lakes’ defensive coordinator before being named head coach after Hill suddenly left the previous spring to move back to his native Minnesota.
Wooten made the changes necessary to patch the holes in a porous defense that struggled at the beginning of the season. The Seahawk defense held opponents to 21 points or less in four of its last six games of the season and dropped a gut-wrenching 16-13 road contest to a surging James Madison team.
With the return of 14 starters from last year’s team, there’s reason to believe that this year’s Seahawks will be much improved. South Lakes was dealt an unexpected blow late this summer with the loss of honorable mention All-Liberty District quarterback Calvin Vaughn, a rising junior. But Wooten says that Rashaan Jones, who earned first team All-Liberty District honors last season at wide receiver, will enter the season as the team’s starting signal caller.
Junior athlete Khayri Denny received playing time at both cornerback and wide receiver last year and earned honorable mention All-Liberty District honors after an impressive sophomore campaign. Denny will see increased playing time as the team’s primary slot receiver as Wooten plans to use every opportunity possible to get the ball to his dynamic playmaker in the open field.
Junior offensive lineman Marc Harrison will lead block for junior starting running back R.J. Lee. Wooten says that Harrison’s had a summer great camp and two-a-day practice sessions and will enter the season as one of the team’s captains.
“I’m very excited about this season. Our kids devoted a lot of time in the offseason and looked pretty good coming out of camp," said Wooten. "Our junior class makes up the core of this group but we will depend on some of our seniors to guide us this season. We will compete in every single game we play this year and we expect to be playing in the postseason.”
Up Next: Season opener on Aug. 30 at Westfield.