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Wando High School
Mt. Pleasant

Wando looking to rebuild and contend in 2017

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Mt. Pleasant – The Wando Warriors won eight games last season and ninth-year head coach Jimmy Noonan seems to be building a program that can contend for region titles on an annual basis.

That building process will be challenged this fall as Wando must replace 34 graduated seniors from last year’s roster. That includes nearly the entire offensive line as well as key running backs.

“We’re definitely going to be young and inexperienced when we start and we’ve got a lot of learning to do,” said Noonan, who has a 120-84 as a head coach. “We have good potential and good kids but we have to learn to play together.”

Playing together is key along the offensive front and Noonan feels his group needs time to mesh together. The Warriors lost their season opener to Beaufort, 14-10, and managed only 34 yards rushing on 12 carries.

“We need more balance, have to be more balanced,” the coach said.

Senior right tackle Scott Rogers (6-0, 245) is the lone returning starter along the front. Junior Drake Peden (6-4, 264) is starting at left tackle while sophomore Holston Stack (6-1, 272) is working at center. The starting guards as the season begins are junior Riley Hills (6-5, 326) and junior Bo Hobgood (6-4, 254).

Wando’s best offensive weapon is senior quarterback Cale Lewis, who threw for more than 1,800 yards last season. Lewis attempted 45 passes in the loss to Beaufort, throwing for 254 yards and a touchdown.

The top receivers will be seniors Joe Jenrette and Connor McCarthy, along with senior Noah Jenkins and Jahmal Haynes. All four caught at least three passes in the opener but none of the group is considered a big-play receiver.

Working at running back are senior Andrew Hamilton and sophomore Jaden Singleton.

Wando will lean on a more experienced defense to keep games close while the offense matures. The Warriors are led up front by junior nose guard Jaelen Edwards, a 6-0, 300-pound college prospect. Austin Singleton (6-0, 280) also returns on the inside.

Junior linebackers Jaxson Rogers and Justin Pelic are returning starters and two of the top tacklers on the defense. Senior Josh Dowdy and junior Jacob Fitch are stepping into starting roles at outside backer and middle linebacker, respectively. Senior John Massa is a starting end.

 Leading the secondary are junior Ramsey Turnage and sophomore Will Pickren. Turnage is a returning starter from last year’s backfield.

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