Upbeat, skilled Raiders shooting for better record Offense expected to be improved Atholton

September 02, 1993|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Atholton's Don Van Deusen begins his 20th season as head football coach on an upbeat note.

A run-and-shoot offense that struggled last season seems certain to score a bunch more points this season. And a defense that was at times weak last season should improve by virtue of its experience.

The Raiders return 11 players who saw a lot of action last year, including several at the skilled offensive positions.

Senior running back Carlando Love, a third-year varsity player, stands out above them all. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound speedster rushed 113 times for 588 yards last year.

"He could be one of our better all-time runners if he gets some blocking and our passing game is successful enough to take the pressure off him," Van Deusen said.

Running alongside Love will be senior Danny Garrison.

Jason Albert, who threw for 517 yards as a junior, returns at quarterback. His backup is junior Jamie Buford, who is up from junior varsity.

"I think our passing game will be better," Van Deusen said. "This is the third year we've used the run-and-shoot, and we feel comfortable about our routes and play selection now and we have two good quarter backs and several good receivers."

Those receivers include returning seniors Tony Stewart (13 catches) and Matt Treese (15 catches), who averaged 17 yards per catch.

Two returning linemen crucial to Atholton's passing success will be 6-3, 215-pound senior Shane Beaver and 6-foot, 256-pound junior Adam Martiny. Martiny started both ways as a sophomore. Van Deusen would like to play both linemen one way as much as possible.

"But we lack depth on the line so some linemen may have to go both ways," Van Deusen said.

Two other offensive line starters will be junior guards Joe Garrison and Melvin Enderes.

Atholton returns its leading tackler, senior cornerback Matt Kuckuda, who made 30 solo tackles last year.

Ed Bowyer, a 6-2, 205-pound defensive end, returns along with senior defensive back/punter Sam Corden.

Van Deusen has high hopes for his kicking game with Corden and Buford as punters and returning senior Chris Buscher as a kicker. Beaver will be playing his third season as a special-teams snapper.

Some other newcomers who might help include junior center Matt Radik, junior wide receiver/defensive back Brian Benden and sophomore running back/defensive back Ricky Trott.

Van Deusen still is searching for a fourth linebacker. Love, Danny Garrison and Joe Garrison are three who likely will start.

Van Deusen's goal is to improve upon last season's 3-7 record that included wins over Mount Hebron and Centennial. He also would like to end a two-year scoring drought against Hammond.

"We'll probably be in the middle of the pack, but we have some good athletes and are working hard," Van Deusen said.

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