Position Breakdown: Washington
Published 5:31 pm Saturday, August 12, 2017
This time last year, with the season opener at Havelock mere days away, Frederick Holscher was just getting the news that he would be thrown into the starting quarterback role. This season, Holscher, has an entire offseason of work that let him learn the intricacies of Washington’s offense. The senior signal caller should get to demonstrate his passing abilities thanks to the strategy tweaks made by offensive coordinator Perry Owens.
Washington will have a combination of athleticism and sheer mass to protect Holscher. With a varsity lineup consisting of almost entirely upperclassmen, the Pam Pack will have a deep group of linemen that allows it to effectively pass and rush block. Seniors Travon Campbell and Ethan Cooper bring the most size to the offensive front. There’s also big juniors in Logan Nichols, Derian Machado Orozco and David Spain. Strong, athletic linemen include Chase Ambrose and Logan Craft. The line may struggle against bigger non-conference foes like Conley and Tarboro, but should be ample protection for Holscher, who has been working on distributing the ball quicker.
While the Pam Pack will try to air the ball out more this season, it traditionally moves the ball on the ground. Seniors Jaquez Ruffin and Hykeem Ruffin will be looked upon to lead a group of promising, younger athletes. Junior Quashawn Gaynor ranked third on the team last season with 135 rushing yards on 30 touches. Washington will hope Ka’ci Foreman can make a seamless jump to varsity after scoring 14 touchdowns on JV a year ago. Treyvon Nellums, Michael Clark and Montrice Selby will provide the Pam Pack with a bit more power out of the backfield. Expect a sort of committee approach to begin the season as the coaches hope to find a few playmakers to emerge.
Holscher proved last season he can make plays through the air. Nazzir Hardy, a senior who played mostly on the defensive side of the ball last year, has the skillset to become a go-to target. He’s far from the only option, too. Fellow seniors Dawson Elks, Daniel Garrett, Davon Campbell and Cameron Allen give the Pam Pack experience at the position. The team also has junior Tyshawn Roberson making the transition to varsity. He scored 14 touchdowns on JV last season.
Seniors Cooper Anderson and Drew Ferguson look to combine their experience and skill to impact Washington’s rebranded offense. Anderson has been one of the Pam Pack’s most dynamic athletes. His strength and agility can let break open for plays over the middle. The same is true for Ferguson, who caught three passes for 45 yards last year. As integral as Anderson and Ferguson are to the team’s defense, Mohammad Ashkar may also get his fair share of time on offense. The three will also be responsible for helping up front, which was an area of concern in 2016.
The Pam Pack lost some of its best players in terms of pressuring the quarterback. The same players that bring size on the offensive line will do the same on the defensive side of the ball. On the edges, Chase Ambrose and Drew Ferguson will bring strength and speed. Washington has lengthy athletes that will challenge opposing offensive lines
A handful of seniors and a standout junior in Michael Clark will help round out Washington’s front this season. Clark ranked third on the team last season with 74 tackles. Cooper Anderson, who will be moving from defensive back to linebacker, notched 65 takedowns himself. The knowledge he gained from years of watching the defense from the back will help the linebackers and defensive line work as a cohesive unit. Uriah Lawrence had 61 tackles as a sophomore last season. The coaches expect him to take another step forward this year.
Nazzir Hardy proved to be one of the Pam Pack’s biggest playmakers in 2016. He showed he has arguably the best hands on the team as he notched six interceptions during his junior campaign. Washington will have plenty of athletic bodies in its defensive backfield. Junior-varsity standouts in Ka’ci Foreman and Tyshawn Roberson will be expected to contribute to coverage. Seniors Dawson Elks Cameron Allen will also bring leadership to the table.
Backup quarterback Hunter Hall will also man the kicking and punting duties for Washington this year. The team traditionally shies away from field-goal attempts, so his placekicking may be limited to kickoffs and point-after tries. When it comes to returning kicks and punts, there are a number of Pam Pack players like Jaquez Ruffin and Kaci Foreman that have shown the speed and shiftiness to be effective.