Football Preview 2017: Generals looking to improve this season

Stonewall Jackson coach Pete Lampman watches his team run through warmup drills during a recent practice. Rich Cooley/Daily

QUICKSBURG – First-year head coach Pete Lampman has seen Stonewall Jackson make  some strides in the offseason and is looking for improvement from his squad this year.

The Generals have a lot of returners from last year’s team, including 12 seniors.

“Seniors always feel a certain amount of ‘this is it,'” Lampman said. “I don’t want to say pressure, but like ‘let’s do this’. And we got a fair amount of them, so that usually helps.”

The Generals are switching to the triple-option offense this season. Leading the option will be quarterback Brendan Hoover, a senior.

Hoover and fullback Jacob Murphy, who led the team with 524 yards rushing last year, had some experience with the triple option when they were freshman.

“They’re seniors, they’ve been around a while,” Lampman said of Hoover and Murphy. “They understand the offense.”

Playing at the wings will be seniors Logen Patton and Logan Ritchie and sophomore Tyler Vanderpuye.

The offensive line will be led by Drew Binion. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound senior has been invited to participate in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, on Jan. 13.

“Drew’s a stud when he wants to be,” Lampman said. “He’s a great player. He’s a guy that can somewhat write his ticket if he just puts in the effort.”

Seniors Dakota Bush and Dakota Baker and junior Chase Street will also give the Generals some strength on the offensive line.

Lampman said they have six or seven guys who will be playing on the offensive line this season.

Senior Wade Banks will be expected to lead the way on the defensive line. Lampman said that Bush, Dakota Baker, Josh Lantz and Cole Wealthy will all be factors on the defensive line as well.

One of the strengths of Stonewall Jackson’s defense will be the linebackers. Seniors Murphy, Caleb Fauver and juniors Udreka Claude and Street will be the linebackers.

Lampman said Claude has shown real improvement.

“Udreka Claude has had a really good camp at linebacker,” Lampman said. “I look for big things from him this year. He played some as a sophomore, but he’s gotten bigger, stronger, faster in the offseason.”

Quite a few of Stonewall Jackson’s players have had success in other sports, such as baseball, wrestling and track. Lampman said he thinks that definitely helps them for football.

“I think these guys’ success in baseball, wrestling, track translates to confidence,” Lampman said. “Confidence translates to wanting to win, to working to win. And it translates on the field. If you play with confidence on the field you give yourselves a chance to win.”

Lampman said Street has also been real impressive in the preseason.

Lampman said that Patton and Ritchie will lead the way in the defensive backfield this season.

Junior Blake McCourt will handle the kicking duties.

The Generals suffered through an injury-riddled season last year and finished 0-10. Lampman said he expects better results this season.

“I tell them I expect success,” Lampman said. “Now I don’t know what success is going to spell out exactly. But I expect us to be competitive. I expect us to win. There’s not a game I’m going into that I don’t think we can win. I don’t care who it is.”