South Lakes (Photo Courtesy of South Lakes Football)
South Lakes Staying Ready for Anything
by Marc Goldstein, recruitNoVA
While this off-season has been one of a kind, frustrating, and down right confusing, South Lakes High School Head Coach Jason Hescock is staying ready and prepared for any scenario. With Virginia High School League (VHSL) making an official ruling in June on the fall sports season, many football programs in the state can do very little but stay ready for anything that may happen.
“I’m just trying to be prepared for any situation that might come up,” Coach Hescock says. The biggest thing that they are trying to accomplish is staying active and remaining competitive with one another and even themselves. The coaches have created a workout regimen for the players, who are competing among themselves to improve the most.”
“We’re just trying to stay as engaged, explosive, and in shape as possible,” Coach Hescock explains, “We, as coaches, understand it is easy for the guys to slack off and all of that stuff, but we really want each of the players to push themselves to get better during this time.”
As far as what they are looking towards, the future looks bright for the Seahawks. While they have lost 20 seniors to graduation, it seems like the biggest question will be revolving around replacing one big hole left by Joseph Dagbe. Dagbe, attending Long Island University to play Division I football for the Sharks, was a “safety net for us as a team”. Coach Hescock says, “I think that we still have the talent on our team, even without Joe.”.
The “next man up culture” is something that as a coach, Coach Hescock hopes to create in his second year at South Lakes.
“I’m trying to see who will step up for us into that WR1 role because someone is going to have to, so it’s just a matter of time to see who has been working and who hasn’t been working,” Coach Hescock elaborates.
The season, although in questions currently, still proves to be a big one for South Lakes. The first year without either Spencer Alston or Joseph Dagbe in half a decade will be one where the biggest search will be for the level of production left behind by both Dagbe and Alston. Coach Hescock looks for Andrew Benedetto, rising senior wide receiver and kick returner and the fastest player for the Seahawks, to break out this season and establish himself as one of their best players. He won district honors last year and is poised to improve this year.
Other players such as Nick Haitz, rising senior defensive back and part time wide receiver, is someone that the Seahawks hope will breakout on the defensive side of the ball, likewise Anthony Giordano, rising junior running back has been getting bigger and better this off-season and the coaching staff is excited to see what he can do this season. No team is complete without a quarterback to lead them into battle, South Lakes not being an exception. Marcus Miles saw his junior season rattled by an early season injury, and found difficulty when he returned to the field. While his play improved down the stretch, he still feels that he has more room to grow. He is being encouraged to go through his progressions and to become a better dual threat quarterback and improve with RPOs(run- pass option).
While South Lakes may lack some of the overall talent that they have had in years past, they will not use this as an excuse.
“We got some really good production from some underclassmen last season, and we want to use that experience they got to our advantage this year,” Coach Hescock says. The bottom line is that South Lakes wants to be a team that is a “giant killer”. Coach Hescock explains, “I want us to be a team that you remember playing and personally, I’m tired of losing to certain teams in the playoffs, so I want us to stay hungry.”
No matter what happens in relation to the start of the season, South Lakes and Coach Hescock will stay ready for anything, and their chance to shine.
– Marc Goldstein