Matoaca finished last season 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the Central District. While struggling at times, the Warriors are looking to build on the experience of having younger varsity teams in 2011 and 2012, in addition to inheriting the talent from a junior varsity squad that finished 10-0 last season.
“We’ve got a good looking crop of young kids,” said head coach, Pat Manuel. “They have really stepped up and are able to make some contributions.”
Part of Manuel’s enthusiasm surrounding this year’s team is attributed to assistant coach Keith Chisolm. Chisholm was tasked with running the team’s offseason program and did an excellent job according to the head coach, entering his 20th season at Matoaca.
The Warriors are looking to translate the growing pains for the past two seasons into district success in 2013.
“This district is always competitive from top to bottom,” stated Manuel. “There’s a very fine line between being at the top of the standings and at the bottom.”
Matoaca opens up their schedule on the road at Manchester August 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Quarterback: Khalil Coleman will be under center for the Warriors.
Running back: Matoaca will feature many two running back sets, running an option offense. Aaron Monts (6-1, 205 pounds) will be the team’s primary back Monts is big and strong, providing size out of the backfield. Seniors Scott Shook and Cameron Wheeler will play halfback and are both adept at blocking, running and catching the ball out of the backfield.
Wide receiver/Tight End: Matoaca has an exciting player and a bonafide D-1 college prospect in 6-4 205-pound Trevion Armstrong. The junior will create coverage issues for opposing defenses with his size and speed. Jonathan Manuel will start at tight-end this season, replacing Brandon Brown, who was reunited with former Matoaca teammate Michael Birdsong at JMU.
Offensive Line: According to Head Coach Manuel, this year’s version of the Matoaca offensive line is the “strongest they’ve ever been” with each member of the line benching over 300 pounds. Senior Joe Cheatham Jr. anchors the line at center, while senior Ardell Christian and sophomore Shaun Helm are expected to be stalwarts.
Defensive Line: The unit is led by defensive end Christian Chisolm (6-2 210 pounds), who is lauded for his ability to pass rush and stop the run. Cordell Burgess will start at the other end, while Jamel Jones and Christian will clog the middle at tackle.
Linebackers: The Warriors will employ a mixture of experience and potential with seniors Winston Reed and Josh Austin, and will also look for contributions from junior varsity call-up Jordan Bouldin, who impressed in 2012. Manuel stated that Bouldin is a student of the game, and always seems to be around the ball. The junior will look to translate his playmaking ability over to varsity.
Defensive Backs: Coleman will start at corner and is a coverage specialist, while Monts will provide hits from the free safety position. Senior Andrew Carroll will start at strong safety. As of press time, the other cornerback spot is undecided.
ON THE RADAR
Khalil Coleman, Senior
5 foot 11 inches 185 pounds
Coleman scored six touchdowns on the season, starting three games at quarterback. The senior will begin the season at the helm for the Warriors with an arsenal full of offensive weapons. Coleman is also a skilled corner, where he played solid coverage and forced two fumbles.
“He’s got very natural instincts for the game,” said Matoaca high school head coach Pat Manuel. “He’s got great instincts with the ball and with his speed he can make things happen.”
Clocked at 4.4 in a recent 40-yard dash, Coleman has got plenty of speed to burn.
“He makes everything look easy, and sees the field well,” said Manuel. “With him in our backfield with Aaron Monts, and Trevion Armstrong as a target, it should make for some interesting offensive situations.”
The senior has begun to see some college interest over the summer and figures to play at the next level in 2014.