Chances are good that the South Lakes High football team’s offense will make things difficult for a good many of its opponents’ defenses throughout the fall season.
South Lakes opens up its schedule this Friday night at 7:30 with a home game against Falls Church. Offensively, the Seahawks believe they have the kind of talent that should allow them to have success in both their running and passing attacks. Falls Church, a member of the National District, is generally a strong offensive team that has thrived in past years behind a potent aerial attack. So Friday’s game could showcase numerous offensive highlights from both teams.
“When I look at our offense, I think we’re strong pretty much across the board,” said South Lakes coach John Ellenberger, whose team won its season opener game over Falls Church last year before struggling the rest of the season and going 2-8. “Our [offensive] line is back from last year.”
One key to how well South Lakes will move the football will be the play of first-year starting varsity quarterback Shawn Rana.
Ellenberger said Rana worked hard throughout the offseason and played outstanding during the recent training camp and preseason to earn the starting nod.
“We couldn’t be more happy with him,” said Ellenberger. “We’re going to be able to throw the ball.”
Rana’s transition to the starting QB role will be made easier because of the flux of talent around him on both the offensive line and at the skill positions. The line, which helped the Seahawks rush for 1,700 yards last year, will be anchored by right tackle Kevin Ball, who earned All-Liberty District honors in 2008. Ball is coming off a broken ankle injury he suffered last spring while playing baseball for the Seahawks. Ellenberger said Ball, who also will play on the defensive line for South Lakes, has been highly recruited by several colleges. And his ankle, the coach said, has heeled nicely.
“He’s running well,” said Ellenberger.
One of South Lakes’ key skill position players on offense will be 6-foot-4 inch junior wide receiver Sean Price, who will also start at a cornerback position on defense.
Leading the running attack will be junior back Ja’Juan Jones, who missed four games last year with a separated shoulder. He still managed to rush for 700 yards and seven TDs on the season, earning Second Team All-District accolades.
“He’s tough and fast and has that football speed,” said Ellenberger, of Jones. “He’s strong and just a very good football player.”
Jones will play at an outside linebacker position on defense. Also at linebacker for the Seahawks will be senior Shawn Khan. Both will occupy the attention of opposing offenses with their hard hits and stellar play.
Ellenberger said his team is excited about the season ahead.
“They really believe this year we’re going to do some good things,” said the coach, of his team. “If we can stay healthy, we’ll win a few ball games. Depth is our problem right now at every position.”
Ellenberger believes his team will be a playoff team this season. Eight teams within the smaller school Div. 5 will qualify for the Northern Region playoffs. South Lakes qualified two years ago.
“We’ll get there and hope to make a run once we get there,” said Ellenberger.
Last year, South Lakes’ two wins came over Falls Church and Liberty District opponent McLean.
Following Friday’s opener against the Jaguars, South Lakes will play at Jefferson on Friday, Sept. 11 before returning home again for a week three contest against local rival Herndon on Thursday, Sept. 17. Then, over the next two weeks the Seahawks will play district games against Marshall (away on Sept. 25) and McLean (home on Oct. 2).
South Lakes’ Homecoming game this year is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 versus Langley.