Vikings ready for 2019 football season

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Ray Johnson struck an inspiring pose during Friday’s practice of the Vikings’ varsity football team.

CAMBRIDGE — The Vikings will begin their 2019 football season with a two-hour road trip to Rising Sun (2A) on Sept. 6. Coach Gaven Parker has his men psyched up for the first battle of the campaign. “Expectations are high,” he said on Friday.

He is in his second year in charge, and with his defensive players having grown more familiar with his system, he’s looking for results this fall. “We’re expecting more out of the defense,” he said.
With the men on the defensive and offensive lines averaging about 240 pounds, there’s a lot of beef up front. That’ll help score points, as well.

“We’ll have a five-headed hydra” running the ball behind those big boys, Coach Parker said. Khalik Beasley, Cam Lake, Dario Belizaire, Donald Banks and Malik Ennals will share duties on the ground attack, keeping things fresh and the energy high in the backfield.

Junior John Henry is the team’s starting quarterback. At 6’2” and 180 pounds, he has put on some muscle in the offseason, something that should help him as he looks for receivers.
“He can stand in the pocket and throw,” Coach Parker said.

As players and coaches work on football skills, there are other forms of growth. Building relationships and instilling a “1-0 mentality” are things Coach Parker is developing.

Concerning relationships, “You’re more than a coach,” he said. When the players understand that coaches are reliable and available adults, “They learn to respect that,” Coach Parker said.

The “1-0 mentality” stresses that last week is gone, and next week hasn’t happened, so players need to focus on what’s going on for each contest, just trying to reach the same record every week, 1-0.
That’s what they’ll be thinking about next Friday, heading north to Cecil County for their regular-season opener.

“I think we match up pretty well,” Coach Parker said. “I’m feeling good, and the kids are feeling good.”

Game time at 100 Tiger Dr., North East, will be 7 p.m. The Vikes’ home opener will be against Silver Oak Academy on Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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