BRANDYWINE – Do not tell Gwynn Park High School football Head Coach Danny Hayes that his team is going through a rebuild. Despite losing 28 listed seniors heading into this year, Hayes sees it as more of a “reload” as his Yellow Jackets prepare to surpass expectations.
Last year’s 11-2 campaign brought new attention to the Brandywine-based team. Players are actively motivating each other in hopes to average their 31-7 state title loss against Damascus.
After a successful junior season, quarterback Kamari Brown will lead the charge once again. However, with the loss of his running back core that included names like Ryan Clemons and Terrell Lindsey, Brown will have a lot of ground to make up with his newer teammates. Last year, the running game averaged more yards per game (105.8) than passing yardage (92).
Brown will also have to lead his new teammates through a multi-formation attack Hayes plans to employ this year. Under the system, the team’s offense will “change from week to week depending on their opponents.” The set-up may confuse some younger or new players but with a new leadership role, Brown is ready to make sure everyone is prepared for the upcoming season.
“This year we hope to accomplish a state championship and nothing less,” said Brown. “The offense is working great we have a nice o-line, and I don’t expect to get sacked one time this season. The spread offense is going to be outstanding and (with) the run game, nobody is gonna stop it.”
Defensively is where Gwynn Park shined bright last year due to their size that forced double teams from their opponents.
The return of six-foot-four, 390-pound defensive tackle Jonathan Lee and six-foot, 335-pound nose guard Myles Harris brings excitement and veteran leadership needed to get Gwynn Park into the state playoffs.
“I feel like we’re young, but we have good leadership from the guys who played last year, and we are just trying to lead the young guys in the right direction and play fast with intensity,” Lee said. “We aren’t worried about rankings; we are just going to show to everybody that we are going back to the playoffs to win a state championship.”
The goal will be replicate last year’s success, where the defense averages 2.8 sacks a game and 18 interceptions.
After making their first championship appearance since winning it all in 2005, Gwynn Park players are adamant that they want to win the title now.
“We know they’re young and won’t know everything right off the bat, so we are just trying to make sure we teach them and coach them up real nice and make sure they follow in our footsteps and just do what we need to do,” Brown said.
Gwynn Park will take on Potomac High School on Aug. 31 at home.