At a Glance:
Team: Robinson Rams (Concorde District)
Coach: Trey Taylor (1st year)
2010 record: 9-3 (4-1 District)
Last game: 24-23 loss to Lake Braddock on November 19, 2010 in regional semifinals
Key departures: DB/RB Jared Velasquez, QB Mike LoPresti
Key returning players: LB Joe Meier, LB Nate Holyfield, DL Andre Kendall, WR/DB Patrick Baker, WR/DB Turner Peterson
Position strengths: RB, WR
Key games: Sept. 1 vs. Stone Bridge, Oct. 14 vs. Lake Braddock, Nov. 4 at Chantilly
After 14 seasons at Robinson, Mark Bendorf has to pass the coaching baton. The legendary coach guided the Rams to two state championships in 1997 and 2001, and ended last season just two points away from an appearance in the regional finals. Enter Trey Taylor.
Prior to succeeding Bendorf, Taylor spent the past five seasons as front man for the W.T. Woodson Cavaliers, who went 3-7 in 2010. At his apex in 2009, Taylor led Woodson to a 9-1 regular season record and ended the season with a 27-20 loss to Lake Braddock in the regional championship. While winning seasons were encouraged at Woodson, they’re expected at Robinson.
The Rams will adjust to life without offensive standouts Jared Velasquez and Mike LoPresti. Velasquez was an all-purpose threat who earned Washington Post All-Met honors last season and is currently on a football scholarship at William and Mary. LoPresti was one of the Concorde District’s top signal callers last season and ran the Ram offense to perfection.
Joe Meier and Washington Post 2010 First Team All-Concorde District WR Patrick Baker will serve as the cornerstone of the team’s offense. Up front on the offensive line, center Calvin Shade, who also earned Washington Post 2010 First Team All-Concorde District honors, will pave the way for Meier and the stable of Ram running backs. In addition to Baker, David Cook and Turner Peterson are expected to contribute heavily to the team’s passing attack.
LoPresti’s replacement at quarterback has yet to be named. Either Avyn Johnson or Michael Hugney will likely win the starting job. Johnson quarterbacked the junior varsity team as a freshman last season.
On defense, three of the four down linemen from last year’s team return. Washington Post First Team All-Concorde District player, Andre Kendall, leads the way on the defensive line. The secondary took a big hit, losing three Washington Post First Team All-Concorde District defensive backs (Chris Garcia, Thomas Petrocci and Jared Velasquez). But Taylor is counting on Baker and Peterson to fill the void and help provide veteran leadership to the team’s younger defense backs.
“I’m thrilled to be here. I’ve been really impressed by the work ethic of these kids and their toughness. They’re excited; they’ve taken to us and the new system. I’m excited to get them out there and play. There’s still a learning curve and I think part of the season is going to be determined by how fast we can learn everything and get comfortable with the new terminology,” said Taylor.
“We’re pretty athletic and we’re physically though as well. There’s a pretty excited, athletic group out there that can do some things. I’m looking forward to cutting these guys loose.”