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Raiders will count on skill players after one-win 2004
By CASEY OLSON
The Thomas Jefferson football program has endured some rough times in recent memory. The Raiders have started the last two seasons with 0-7 records and have won just three games during that run.
But seventh-year head coach Kevin Hanis enters the 2005 high school football season with an optimistic attitude.
Jefferson returns a pretty good core of players from last years 1-8 team, including six starters on the offensive side of the ball and eight on defense.
Our skill positions, as a group, are as good as anyone in the league, Hanis said.
The Raiders defense will need to be a lot better to stay in games during the 2005 season. In 2003, TJ gave up an eye-popping 357 points in 10 games and yielded 246 points in nine games last season.
The strength of the Raider defense should be the defensive backfield. Hanis returns all four starters, including safeties Tim Satterwhite and Tanuj Soni and cornerbacks Jeremy Hauck and Cory Haywood. Also back are linebackers Jarett Jackson and Rico Adams and defensive linemen Kyle Jones and Stuart Roth. Jackson led TJ with 61 tackles in nine games last year.
Offensive production has never really been a problem at Jefferson and the Raiders should put points on the board again this year.
It looks like Taylor Stark will be taking over the quarterback duties from Erik Fitzgerald. Stark is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound sophomore who will get plenty of opportunities to put the ball in the air in Hanis wide-open offense. Fitzgerald, who is playing baseball at Big Bend Community College, was second in the SPSL South last year with 1,154 yards passing (128 a game), eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Starks main target will be senior wide receiver Tim Satterwhite. Last year, the 6-3, 215-pounder caught 21 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Tanuj Soni and senior Jeremy Hauck also return at wide receiver and Jackson might be the best tight end in the SPSL South.
The Raiders offensive line is talented and big, but not very deep, according to Hanis. Senior center Justin Gentry (6-4, 270) and junior tackle Stuart Roth (6-2, 290) will anchor the line, which also includes 6-4, 290-pound senior Josh Nelson and 6-3, 285-pound Ben Downs.
Jeffersons running attack will include juniors Kyle Compton and Angelo Harris and sophomore Jason Howard.
We just need to stay healthy, have sustained drives and be consistent, Hanis said.
The Raiders open their SPSL South season Friday night against in-district rival Decatur at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org