Another year, more improvement.
That is the mantra for the Huguenot Falcons football program and coach Bryan Jennings.
Since Jennings took over the program in 2014, the Falcons have improved their win totals each year.
Last year, picking up wins against Thomas Jefferson, Clover Hill, and George Wythe for a three-win season.
This season the Falcons will bring the majority of their team back including quarterback Meryls Manuel and leading receiver Kenneth Cannon. Huguenot will have experience and chemistry on their side.
“I’m impressed with our guys this year I feel really good.” Jennings said. “I’m impressed by their commitment to the team committing to the program and committing to wanting to get better.
“Offseason has been great for us and they’ve been strong through it all the numbers are up for us.”
With that being said, the Falcons look to have a breakout season with returning players at almost every position on both sides of the ball.
The Falcons will kick off their season on Aug. 25 against Booker T. Washington for what could be a potential breakout season for Huguenot.
Quarterback: Senior Merlys Manuel will continue to take snaps at center for
the Falcons. After starting every game last season, Manuel will get another opportunity to build up his quarterback resume. Manuel had a good season last year throwing for nearly 1700 yards while throwing 17 touchdowns. Jennings labels Manuel as “one of the veterans” of the team and calling him the “experienced guy”. With Manuel slinging the ball, Huguenot has a quarterback who can move the ball down the field.
Running Backs: The Falcons will be big this year at this position. Jennings calls his running back group “The Four Headed Monster”. Leading this group will be a transfer from L.C. Bird Rakei Pope. The 5-7 back has experience at running back getting significant playing time at Bird last season. Pope’s aggressive style of running and hitting the holes hard separates him from the other three backs. Behind Pope is sophomore Draquan “DQ” Sykes who has received high praise from Jennings. DaSean Jones and Tyler Evans are the other two backs who will also get touches and will look to change the pace of the game.
Wide Receivers: “Explosive” and “Deep” are the words used by Jennings when describing this group. It will be led by senior Kenneth Cannon, who caught 40 passes for 600 yards last season while also scoring a team high nine receiving touchdowns. On the other side of Cannon, sophomore Kevin Gayles provides the height (5-10) and posses the hands to play the other side. Senior DeSean Hinton will also be in the mix of receivers as he gives the Falcons a physical receiver who can go up for jump balls. Jennings went on to say their will be five others who can go in and make plays.
Offensive Line: The Huguenot line this season are big and very physical lineman who can hold their blocks. This group is led by Seniors Brennon Thomas (6-4, 330) and Keivonte Thomas (6-2, 300). Jennings says this line could be “The biggest offensive line in Virginia.” Brennon Thomas is the most experienced with him being a four year starter at guard. His body frame gives him advantages over defenders. Timothy James will be the other tackle. James is (6-2, 300) pound giving him advantages to move his opponent. The other guard position is a battle that will be decided soon.
Defensive Line: Carlik Humes is one of the edge rushers. The 6-2, 190 senior will be a huge part as he is quick on his feet. Last season Humes hard work payed off as he racked up eight sacks playing both left and right end. Javonte Peoples will be their defensive tackle/nose guard. Although being 5-1, Peoples is a playmaker and also led the team in tackles for loss last season. Jennings calls him the “Utility Guy” Marquise Bagley is another name to listen for. Another popular name is Chavon Fields, a basketball player who has came to play ball. Jennings calls Fields an “athlete”.
Linebackers: This unit took a huge loss as the Falcons lost three players to graduation. This a young unit who has a lot of potential for the next few years. Sophomore Darrell Bennett will look to take over as his 5-8, 205-pound body frame gives him plenty of opportunity this season. Jeremiah Hood a 5-11, 220-pound outside linebacker will also help this unit. DeAndre Mulligan and Fredrick Tyler are two seniors who can make impact quickly. Although this unit doesn’t have much experience, Jennings says the talent and effort is all here.
Secondary: Jennings calls this unit special as they all have experience and most are underclassmen setting them up for the next two years. This unit is led by Demari Walker, a 6-0, 175 pound corner. Walker has the tools and frame to be a lock down corner. Larry Elders another 6-0 underclassmen will man the other side as his speed and coverage skills will be key. Jennings says this group is “Very deep and talented unit”. With this group, gives them a lot to build on and coverage men who can play tight man to man defense.
Special Teams: All Conference 20 second-team punter Michael Rolling will be returning to punting duties. As for kicker, wide receiver Kevin Gayles will fill the role.