First year head coach Frank Brown can’t help but think about what could have been last year for Southside Academy.
The Jaguars went 2-8 overall but were actually just a couple points away from making the playoffs. After knocking off Lake Clifton, a Class 4A school and W.E.B. DuBois, a 2A squad, the playoffs were statistically still within in reach.
But Southside lost five games by two points or less, including a game to Southwestern that would have clinched the postseason.
“Those were games that were reachable,” said Brown, who was an assistant coach at Southside for seven years. “I think if we were a little more disciplined and conditioned, we would have won those games and would have been in the playoffs.”
This past weekend, Brown took his squad from South Baltimore down to Anne Arundel County for a scrimmage against two of the top teams in the area in Arundel and River Hill.
“It was a huge benefit for us to scrimmage Arundel,” said Brown. “I played for [Arundel’s] coach Markiewicz at North County so I already knew what type of atmosphere it would be out here.”
He added: “I think it was a real plus for us. We didn’t get beat up. We handled ourselves well but fatigue set in; we only have twenty one players.”
Brown will have to do more with less having just 21 players but he has some strong athletes to lean on. Starting junior quarterback Marcus Nickens showed well at the scrimmage and will be counted on to lead the Jaguars’ offense.
Junior wide receiver Ezell Jones, the team’s second leading receiver last season returns and sophomore wideout Jabrail Johnson should provide some excitement. Senior running back/linebacker Jerrell Briscoe also returns to provide some speed in the backfield.
The defense will be anchored by Briscoe, junior linebackers Davon Roberts and Shamarc Hamlelt.
“I want to be one of the best in the City so hopefully we can play against [the likes of] City, Poly, Dunbar and Edmondson,” Brown said. “I just want to take my right foot forward and keep the program going in a forward direction.”
Make no mistake about it, Brown hasn’t forgotten coming up just short last season. He has one goal in mind for 2010:
“I’m not even going to sugar-coat it, the goal is playoffs. There is no reason to say we want to win this game or that game, I don’t care if we don’t have to win any games to make it to the playoffs; it’s all about playoffs.”
Note: Coach Frank Brown would like to thank Southside’s principal Denise Gordon, athletic director Dana Johnson, staff and assistants Lucas Phillips, Lamont Brown, Coach Steve and Coach Simmons.