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Rampants reenergized for new season

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J.H. Rose players run drills during practice on August 3, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The J.H. Rose football program is one known for winning conference championships and other titles alike. 

Rose ended with a 3-8 record in 2017 for a serious downturn from the Rampants’ usual winning ways.

With the end of the season came the departure of one senior class and the rise of another. This year, the Rampants see a large batch of seniors on their roster, and in positions of importance and leadership.

A potential high-flying, heavy-scoring offense will be led by senior quarterback Grant Jarman, who is also looking to utilize the length and athleticism of his receivers.

In the first week of preseason practices, coach Dave Wojtecki saw strides in improvement.

“So far I’ve seen a lot more aggressiveness than what we had last year,” he said.

The Rampants have began anew, with a larger sense of teamwork and winning mentality. Wojtecki said players are holding each other accountable for their actions and play on and off the field.

“I think the guys have gone back and talked and said, ‘Hey, this is what worked when we were good, and this is what didn’t work because of what we were doing.’” Wojtecki said. “I think they know what they need to do to be successful again.”

The Rampants, eager to get back on the field to show their fans that last season’s failures are not going to be repeated, returned to full-contact practice Saturday.

Several players stood out to Wojtecki during the first week of the preseason.

“I was impressed with our linebacking core as a whole,” he said. “I think on the defensive line, Diandre Gillmore has done a good job, he’s a bigger guy, so we weren't sure how he would turn out but he has done a great job of working hard.”

Wojtecki also mentioned defensive end Arquavion Page, and receivers Jake Henry Rodgers, Zane Noles, Ethan Boyer and Ben Harris as impressing in workouts.

“Ethan Boyer is going to be a guy people need to watch out for,” Wojetcki said of the 6-foot, 165-pound senior.

While they aim to forget their 2017 season, the Rampants also look to use the disappointment to fuel their drive to contend again for a conference championship and state title.

Rose will get its regular season started Aug. 17 when it travels to face former conference foe New Hanover.

Contact Jake Keator at 252-329-9594 or jkeator@reflector.com and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

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