The Appoquinimink Jaguars concluded the 2011 season with a 4-6 record, but with optimism for the future.
Head coach Jeff Weiner said he was pleased with the team's attitude, work ethic, and desire after the program's second year in the Blue Hen Conference Flight A.
"We had a big jump from Division II to Division I, playing against strong teams like Middletown, Newark and Concord, but I feel we're getting more competitive and getter better each year," Weiner said.
This year's offense will be led by sophomore quarterback Shane Anderson, who's 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds. He'll throw the ball to a pair of talented receivers – Codi Elias and Malik Esdale. Anderson also has the option of throwing to talented tight end Corey Johnson.
The Jags will employ a multi-pronged offense, based on a variety of systems, including an occasional wishbone formation.
"We'll change around our offense depending on our personnel, and who we are playing each week, but we'll work out of a basic two-back system," Weiner said. "We have several quality running backs, but our biggest concern is rebuilding the offensive line where we lost a lot of players to graduation."
On defense, the team will be led by linebackers Kyle Jennings, a senior, and talented sophomore Jeria Hercules. Both players combine strength and speed – a good combination at any level of competition. Weiner said his team would also run a variety of defense sets including the 5-3 and the 4-4, depending on the opponent and the situation.
"Our objective this season is to get better each week," Weiner said. "We know from experience now that we have to play the entire 48 minutes. We lost a couple of tough games in the last few minutes in 2011, especially to Hodgson and Concord, and we beat William Penn late in the fourth quarter. There's no doubt we need to finish our games, because there's no easy teams out there."
Week 1 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 8 @ Hodgson Vo-Tech High School (L, 7-35)
Week 2 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 14 @ Alexis I. du Pont High School
Week 3 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 21 vs. William Penn High School
Week 4 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28 @ Newark High School
Week 5 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5 vs. St. Elizabeth High School
Week 6 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12 vs. Glasgow High School
Week 7 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19 vs. Middletown High School
Week 8 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 27 @ Charter School of Wilmington
Week 9 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3 @ Delcastle High School
Week 10 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 9 vs. Concord High School