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Players intelligent, disciplined and fighters, Knox says

(Sept. 6, 2013) They may not be the most athletic or skilled football players, or even the fastest, but from what Stephen Decatur Coach Bob Knox has seen so far, he thinks the Seahawks are overachievers and they will scratch, claw and do whatever it takes to win.

“I think this is going to be a team the coaching staff will enjoy coaching. The main thing for the coaches is to prepare them as best we can,” said Knox, who has led the Seahawks for 29 seasons. “I don’t think these kids will ever give up, no matter what the score is. They’re intelligent, they’re disciplined and they’re fighters. They love playing the game.”

Although nearly two dozen of the 30 players on Knox’s roster competed in 2012, only a few Seahawks who cracked the starting line-up are back. The team is small, in terms of number of players, Knox said, and he doesn’t have much depth, which could be an issue if injuries arise.

The squad returns just three offensive and four defensive players who started last season, Knox said.

The coach will rely on a core group of senior veterans–Montez Green (offensive/defensive line), Andrew Borradaile (running back/linebacker), Demond Henry (running back/defensive back), Chase Sams (linebacker/tight end) and P.J. Copes (running back/defensive back)–to lead the team.

Sams was named to the 2012 Bayside Conference First Team and Copes received Second Team accolades.

“I’ve got to be vocal and try to help everyone out in practice and just be a leader out here,” said Borradaile, a three-year player. “We did a lot of work during the winter, getting some of the plays down, and I think we’re coming along well.”

Henry, a two-year member of the team said as a leader he will “help all the younger guys understand the plays, their assignments and their roles so when it’s their time to take over they will know what to do.”

“I feel like we put in a lot of hard work in the off-season with weight training, getting plays in and learning our assignments early and it’s showing out here on the field,” he said. “We’ve just got to play hard and come up with big wins.”

Also returning are juniors Shawn’ye Jones (defensive back/wide receiver) and Justin Meekins, who will be the team’s quarterback in 2013.

Newcomers who Knox will count on to contribute include senior Talib Rice (wide receiver), juniors Sam Coates (running back/defensive back), Brandon Wooten (offensive line) and Austin Dundore (kicker) and sophomores Gus Esham (offensive/defensive line) and De’Quan Andrews (running back/defensive line).

The Seahawks finished 2012 with a 5-5 record. In all other sports, teams automatically qualify to compete in the playoffs, but in football, squads must perform well enough during the regular season to advance. Decatur failed to qualify for the playoffs last year.

Knox said the coaching staff has “thrown a lot at the kids” during preseason and they have been very receptive.

The Seahawks need to “play as hard as we can, be disciplined, but be very physical and if we do that we believe we’ll be successful,” Knox said.

The Stephen Decatur football team’s coaching staff talks to the Seahawks after last Thursday practice at the Berlin school.

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