August 29, 2013
Talented freshmen set to guide Calvary By Adrian O’Hanlon III For the Denton Record Chronicle
Denton Calvary went fishing last offseason and came back with full nets. Five talented freshmen will help five sophomores take on responsibility of returning the Lions to the playoffs after Calvary lost its three most productive players from a season ago. A lack of experience has Calvary head coach Lionel Gillespie counting on fish in 2013, but he still expects to win. “I’m looking at it as more of a growing year,” Calvary head coach Lionel Gillespie said. “You can say it’s a rebuilding year, but I don’t like saying that because it’s kind of like you’re expecting to lose. I feel like, since our district graduated a lot of guys, we’ll definitely be right in the mix this year.” After going 5-6 overall and 2-3 in TAPPS Six-Man 2-I with a first-round exit from the playoffs last year, Calvary was hit hard in the off-season. The Lions lost two reliable skill players to graduation last season in all-district running backs Matt Hood and Jesse Wells, while former quarterback Justin Rush decided to forego his senior season in pursuit of a military career. Despite having to fill the void left by two cogs in the ground-and-pound offense from a season ago, Hood and Wells (who will both serve as assistant coaches this year), and filling a roster with 10 underclassmen, Gillespie said the new young nucleus players already play like winners. “That was pretty much our heart and soul at Calvary, but this year, I feel like we’re coming back tougher,” Gillespie said. “Those young guys are very, very tough and resilient, so I feel like we’ll pull out a couple wins due to them being tough and not used to losing.” That attitude from the five freshmen undoubtedly comes from their undefeated 9-0 record last year in junior high. Although the accomplishment lacks much of a comparison to the level of competition the young Lions will face this sea-
CALVARY: IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton Calvary running back Jacob Hood will carry a heavy load during his freshman season for Calvary, which lost several key skill position players to graduation after the 2012 season. Hood was a member of team that finished 9-0 last season in junior high. Calvary will move from a I-formation offense to the spread this year take advantage of Hood’s speed and quickness.
son, including a district game against returning state champion Dallas Covenant, freshman quarterback James Helzer plans to spin any intimidation factor in Calvary’s favor. “It’s one of those things that will make them kind of look down at us and it’ll make us be like, ‘Let’s go hit them in the mouth,’ and really test them,” Helzer said. Filling the shoes left behind by Hood and Wells, Helzer and freshman running back Jacob Hood bring their own version of a dynamic duo to the Lions’ backfield. Both freshmen have quick feet — quick enough to score every time they touch the ball — and a connection built from playing sports together since the
sixth grade. After tasting success last season, the freshmen have the swagger and expectations of a playoff team. “We’re used to winning and we all have confidence in our abilities,” Jacob Hood said. “We want to stay with everyone [in district play] and just hold our own.” Because of a lack of size, Calvary’s offense, which scored 38.3 points per game last year, will convert from a runheavy I-formation to the spread offense. Lion sophomore Brayden Humphrey returns limited experience at receiver, but provides a solid route runner and some of
RAIDERS Quick facts District: TAPPS Six-Man 2-I 2012 record: 5-6 (2-3, TAPPS Six-Man 2I) Coach: Lionel Gillespie Returning starters: zero on offense, zero on defense Key players: QB/LB James Helzer, RB/DB Jacob Hood, WR/DB Brayden Humphrey, WR/LB Gavin Mercer, RB Joshua Barnes Offense: Spread/Pistol Defense: Multiple School enrollment: 126 Stadium: Bronco Field
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Football 2013 is the Denton Record-Chronicle's look at the upcoming football season for the University of North Texas Mean Green and Denton...