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Preps

Football preview: Middleton


Published:   |   Updated: August 27, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Attackers crucial to Tigers’ plans

Middleton coach Alonzo Ashwood promises relentless pressure on opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines — from all over the field in a variety of styles.

For instance: Defensive end Gabriel Luyanda will be more of the traditional speed edge rusher, while linebacker Brandon Tillman applies straight ahead collisions and cornerback Robert Sanders brings an element of surprise.

“One thing I know is that these guys are never going to let up,” Ashwood said.

Complementing that group is junior linebacker Arthur Wiggins, who will bring his special athleticism from a variety of positions.

“(Wiggins) understands the defense and he is interchangeable in different packages,” Ashwood said. “He can drop into coverage or rush the passer. He has that versatility. He just raw right now.”

Said Wiggins: “I just try to set the tone and get spark (for the team),” Wiggins said. “I enjoy being in the box and being more physical.”

SUPPLY

No fly zone

When not applying pressure, watch for Wiggins, Sanders and sophomore athlete Chalo Judge to blanket receivers. Sanders, a Division I recruit, had an interception in the spring game and is expected to pile up the picks through the season.

Ashwood is also excited about Judge, who joined Middleton in the spring.

“(Judge) can be something special,” Ashwood said.

Growth

Middleton went 0-10 in Ashwood’s first season as head coach. Last year, the Tigers won two games. Ashwood said this will be the key year for Middleton as it looks to finish above .500 for the first time since 2007.

“The third year (as the head coach) is when you see where you’re program is going,” Ashwood said.

Perhaps the biggest sign of Middleton’s growth has been the number of players that have come out for the team. Ashwood said he had 28 players his first season. So far, he said he has more than 50 players out for the team.

“It allows you to be more efficient in practice,” Ashwood said.

Pedigree

Leading the offensive line for Middleton will be junior nose guard Justo Polanco.

His brother, Luis, played for Middleton until 2008 and is now starting for Western Kentucky University. With Luis on the line, the Hilltoppers played in their first bowl game since 1963 last season.

“Justo can be just as good, “Ashwood said. “He looks up to (Luis).”

DEMAND

Middleton finds itself in an interesting position with just two other teams in its district, Jesuit and Spoto. Middleton played both teams tough last year, losing 16-0 and 8-0, respectively.

While Ashwood takes every game seriously, he knows with just two wins against these teams and Middleton can be district champions.

“Win one game (against either Jesuit or Spoto) and we go to the playoffs,” Ashwood said. “We are ready. We have to beat both of them.

We owe them anyway.”

Schedule

Aug. 30: at Berkeley Prep

Sept. 6: Freedom

Sept. 12: at King

Sept. 27: Riverview

Oct. 4: at Brandon

Oct. 11: Blake

Oct. 18: at Leto

Oct. 25: Spoto

Nov. 1: at Jesuit

Nov. 8: Bloomingdale

Roster

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr.

1 Gabriel Luyanda WR/DE 6-3 200 Jr.

2 Chalo Judge RB/FS 5-8 170 So.

3 Jaquan Brown RB/SS 5-8 169 Jr.

4 Jason Carter QB 6-0 165 Jr.

5 Shug Rhynes WR/FS 6-0 185 Sr.

6 Keith Gardner CB/WR 5-10 160 Fr.

7 Robert Sanders CB/WR 6-0 171 Sr.

8 Marcellus Ray QB 6-2 175 Sr.

9 Tavaris Mutherson TE/DE 6-0 190 Jr.

10 Kyler Brown CB 5-8 155 So.

11 Arthur Wiggins LB/WR 6-0 217 Jr.

12 Javon Nelson CB/WR 5-9 160 Sr.

14 Andre Lowman DE/TE 6-0 178 So.

15 Antonio Nelson QB 5-11 165 Jr.

17 Steven Jacobs QB 5-10 192 So.

20 Xaiver Hopkins RB/CB 5-7 125 Fr.

21 Anthuan Williams CB 5-9 130 Jr.

22 Rufus Wiggins SS 5-10 175 Sr.

23 Kareem Jackson CB 5-9 147 So.

24 Javon Johnson CB 5-9 155 So.

28 Russell Booth LB 6-0 175 Fr.

29 Mike Figueroa FB 5-8 180 Fr.

30 Brandon Tillman LB/FB 5-11 213 Sr.

31 Javanta Hall CB 5-10 165 Jr.

32 Jerald Lewis LB/FB 5-9 185 So.

33 Montrey Wells RB 5-6 120 Fr.

34 Deangelo Logan LB/FB 5-9 168 So.

41 Jamonta Brunson CB 5-8 148 Fr.

42 Kyle Brooklyn WR 5-9 150 Fr.

43 Alexander Alves LB 5-11 187 Fr.

44 Terry Kirnes DT 5-11 200 Jr.

51 Rashied Apata LB 5-9 210 Sr.

52 Jerrett Dickins OG/DT 6-2 270 Fr.

53 Ben Mitchell OG/DT 6-0 233 Sr.

54 Sergio Williams OT/DT 5-11 201 Sr.

55 Brandon Johnson LB/OG 5-10 208 Jr.

58 Jemery Butler OT/DT 5-10 240 Jr.

67 Justo Polanco C/DL 6-2 295 Jr.

71 John Diez OG/DT 5-10 245 Sr.

80 Darrel Engram CB 5-8 130 So.

81 Kaleb Harding WR 5-9 131 Fr.

82 Jeffson Robin WR 5-7 120 Sr.

83 Keeron Franklin WR 6-1 155 Fr.

88 Qwayvaughn Mcfarland WR 5-8 145 Jr.

95 Harvette Bellamy DL/OT 6-2 315 Jr.

99 Tavon Chavous DL/OT 5-10 270 Jr.

Ryan Mason DE/TE 6-1 192 Jr.

Deonta Moore WR/CB 5-10 176 Jr.

Andre Coachman CB 5-10 175 Sr.

Desjon Curry C/DT 5-10 255 Jr.

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