Tuesday, March 11, 2014 7:11 AM
Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr. DuVal Head Coach Dameon Powell looks to the future after losing starting quarterback Natio Scales.
Published on: Thursday, August 15, 2013
By Daniel Kucin Jr.
The DuVal High School football team had a magical season last year. The team was considered one of the most dominant forces in Prince George’s County 4A.
DuVal reached the postseason last fall after a five-year drought, but ultimately lost 21-14 to Suitland in the first round.
The last time the Tigers hosted a home playoff match was in 1989.
But, the Tigers are starting from scratch after losing a majority of last season’s roster to graduation. One of the Tigers’ most productive players helped catapult them to a 9-1 record during the regular season. Running back Shamik Perry carried the load for DuVal as the primary rushing threat and workhorse.
“Losing those guys — you can’t replace them. We had some studs,” DuVal Head Coach Dameon Powell said. “Now we have some guys that know the system and are very athletic. The guys are going to gel. They believe in us as coaches, and we believe in them as players.”
Perry put up staggering numbers for the Tigers last season and racked up more than 160 yards on the ground in his last game. Losing to Suitland was a crushing blow, but Powell is confident that he has a team ready and willing to take the next step towards winning the Maryland 4A State Championship.
A new quarterback will lead the charge for an offense that has very high expectations and goals to achieve as the regular season looms just around the corner.
Sophomore quarterback Antonie Brooks brings an important intangible to the table: speed. Couple that with a powerful arm, and that makes DuVal optimistic of how good this new collection of talent can be with their second-year player under the helm.
Brooks will use his lightning speed to keep defenders at bay as a scrambling quarterback, but he also has a rifle-like arm and sound decision making skills to back up his rushing capabilities. He should be relied on heavily this upcoming season, and Powell is excited to see the sophomore assume a strong leadership role at such a young age.
Brooks made his first appearance last season against Suitland in the playoffs. Brooks completed 1-2 throws for 37 yards and an interception.
Even though DuVal has lost a lot of talented players, Powell still believes in his team and players who have the ability to step up and carry the torch.
“The goal is always going to be a state championship, but we always want to get to the playoffs,” Powell said. “We want to get deep in the playoffs. … We have some guys that went out and understand what it takes to be a good football player. I think with this system and our program, we will take them to a whole different level.”