Young Laurel team determined to compete in the South

Laurel quarterback Dalton Perdue. Delaware State News file photo

LAUREL — The last two years have been about the same for the Laurel High football team.

Both had 4-6 records and both finished in the middle of the pack in the Henlopen Conference Southern Division.

With a younger core mixed with a handful of veterans, the Bulldogs are looking to get back into the thick of things for the Henlopen South.

“We’re a young team,” said coach Eston Ennis. “We’re looking to get better every week and compete at a high level.”

Ennis, a 2003 graduate of Laurel, is in his third year as the Bulldogs’ head coach.

His squad returns six senior starters and five more juniors who all saw significant time in 2017.

The Bulldogs’ senior class includes Jamir Townsend (RB/DB), Rae’Mier DeShields (RB/LB), Christopher Otwell (C/LS), Ja’Ron Thompson (G/DE) and Khashad Gillespie (OT/DT). Juniors Nathaniel Davidson (OT/DT), Dalton Perdue (QB/LB/SS), Quadyr Whitney (TE/DE), Blake Anderson (DT/OT) and Bricen Sanders (WR/DB) are also back for the Bulldogs.

Laurel only has one newcomer who is a senior in Trace Hitchens (WR/DB). Junior James Jarmon (TE/LB) is also set to receiver more playing time while sophomores Anthony Smith (G/LB), Jacob Davis (TE/DE) and B.J. Malone (WR/DB) are ready to slot in as potential starters for the varsity.

Ennis expects freshman Jett Forbush (WR/LB) to also compete for playing time.

Ennis said the team worked hard in the weight room during the offseason which has helped build team chemistry. His main concern at the start of the season is a lack of depth at key positions.

Even though the Bulldogs graduated several talented seniors from last year’s squad, Ennis expects this group to fill that void right away.

“We have a young core who are a group of leaders,” Ennis said.

Laurel begins its 2018 campaign on Saturday with a trip up to Brandywine High at noon. Its first Henlopen South contest is Friday. Sept. 28 against Woodbridge High at home (7:30 p.m.).

The Bulldogs’ nonconference slate also includes a home game against St. Elizabeth Friday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m., a visit to Washington High in Maryland on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. and their homecoming game in the sixth week of the season against Polytech High on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.

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