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June 4, 2010

Snapshot: Chaminade-Julienne Eagles

Winning is part of the lore of football at Chaminade-Julienne. The team became the first school from the Dayton to area to win a state championship (DII) in 2002 and hasn't had a losing season since.

The 2009 season included many highlights as the Eagles advanced to the Division III playoffs.

With plenty of key cogs back this year, the team is gunning for its first league title since 2000. It won't be easy with an extremely competitive division from top to bottom in this year's edition of the GCL North.

"The North division couldn't be tougher in 2010, with two-time defending Division IV state champion Alter standing in the way, as well as an experienced senior-led Carroll team, and a confident Fenwick team that started 5-0 in 2009," said head coach Andy Helms.

2009 RECORD: 8-3, 5-2 GCL


COACHING: Helms, an 11-year veteran head coach, enters his fifth season at the school. He's posted a 25-16 record during that span. Helms calls the plays for the team's spread offense. Coordinator Marcus Colvin runs a 3-4 scheme and runs the Eagles' defense. Jerry Puckett is set to serve as the special teams coach in 2010.


OFFENSE: Speed is going to be one of the team's biggest strengths on offense as quarterback Mike Simpson and running back Aaron Stokes both return. Stokes ran for 901 yards and eight touchdowns last season while Simpson threw for 1588 yards and 14 scores as a sophomore.

Chaminade-Julienne graduated three of their four top receivers from last year. Tim Szabo will be expected to emerge and build a junior campaign that saw him pull in 20 balls for 447 yards and three touchdowns.

The biggest challenge on offense will be finding people to step up on the line, where the Eagles must replace three starters, including N.C. State commit Andy Jomantas. Tony Bishop, Jeremiah Sutton, and Lee Hollis should provide some stability.


DEFENSE: The Eagles ceded just 9.1 points per game a year ago, but after graduating six seniors there will be some turnover on defense. How the new starters fare will go a long way towards determining the team's success.

The strength of the unit is its secondary where Marco Gresham leads the way. He recovered three fumbles, forced two fumbles and came up with a pair of interceptions as a sophomore. Classmate Darian Reynolds and senior Donovan Layne will also be major contributors.

Linebackers Justin Vaughn and team M.V.P. Darrien Howard, who was voted First-Team All-Conference as freshman, anchor things in the middle. Howard is a big-time blue chip prospect and is already drawing interest from major BCS programs. Defensive linemen J.T. Johnson and Jarred Jones are back to wreak havoc up front.


SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Dillon Lett is great luxury for the Eagles. He connected of 5-of-10 field goals and 20-of-25 extra points last season. Punter Donovan Lane returns for his senior year after averaging 36 yards in '09. There are plenty of options in the return game, but expect someone to emerge from the pack as the 2010 season nears.


2010 SCHEDULE:
Aug. 27 - @Troy - 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 3 - @Thurgood Marshall - 8:30 p.m.
Sep. 9 - @Ponitz Career Tech Center - 7:00 p.m.
Sep. 17 - @Roger Bacon - 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 24 - MCNICHOLAS - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 - @Badin - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 8 - @Bishop Fenwick - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 15 - CARROLL - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 22 - PURCELL MARIAN - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 29 - @Alter - 7:30 p.m.


FINAL TAKE: Despite graduating 12 starters there are plenty of reasons to think that not only will Chaminade-Julienne be serious contenders in a very tough GCL North, but a second straight DIII playoff appearance is within reach. The best part of the team is they have several underclassmen that will be major contributors, suggesting the program is set up for long-term success.


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