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Rampants look to turn things around

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J.H. Rose players run drills during practice on June 14, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Friday, June 15, 2018

The J.H. Rose Rampants are used to success. They are accustomed to winning conference titles and playoff games, but after a 3-8 season in 2017, the Rampants are looking to get back to those winning ways. 

The Rampants’ 2018 roster is filled with seniors, ones who head coach Dave Wojtecki will lean on heavily to push this team back into playoff contention.

“We’re going to put a lot of weight on their shoulders this year,” Wojtecki said. “Last year, most of them played a significant amount, so we are looking for them to be leaders, to be gametime crisp and to show the younger guys what it means to play as hard as they can,” 

The Rampants will also be looking toward senior quarterback Grant Charles Jarman to produce in an offense that features several tall wide receivers. Jarman threw for 2,375 yards and 26 touchdowns last season.

“Ben (Harris) is 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, he’s a Div. I prospect who led us in receiving last year with 1,200 yards,” Wojtecki said. “We also have Jake Henry Rogers, who is our slot guy. Jake Henry is 6-5, 217 pounds, and he’s also getting Div. I looks. Zane Noles is one of our other slot guys, all of them are seniors.”

He added that Wesely Shade would also be part of the lengthy receiving core. Shade is listed at 6-4, 185 pounds.

Wojtecki believes that along with the length the receivers have, their in-game experience will also help push them and the team to victory.

The Rampants are still searching for their starting running back. Tyrease Ingram, Jaylen Dowell and Robert Prunty have all graduated, leaving a void for a new player to fill.

These seniors understand success and failure. The group was undefeated as members of the junior varsity team and was thrown a hook with the Rampants’ struggles last season, its first playing varsity football.

“We are going to use last season to really motivate these guys. If it doesn't motivate you then something’s wrong,” Wojtecki said. “Hopefully that is a bitter taste in their mouth and we can get back to our ways of winning 10 games and having Thanksgiving breakfast, because we got pretty used to those things and enjoyed doing them.”

The Rampants will open their new season on the road with a trip to New Hanover on Aug. 17. They then welcome Laney to Greenville before a trip to Wilson to take on Hunt High School on Aug. 31. A two-game homestand against Havelock and Franklinton will prepare the Rampants for a showdown in Winterville against South Central on Sept.21. They will host C.B. Aycock and travel to Southern Wayne before a rivalry match with D.H. Conley on Oct. 19. They will round out their regular season with a trip to Eastern Wayne on Oct. 26 and a home game against New Bern on November 2. 

“It felt like we were off for a long time since we didn't make the playoffs last season. It’s been a long time with a lot of lifting and a lot of running, and I think the guys are getting the itch to want to hit somebody, so it’s good to be back,” Wojtecki said. 

Contact Jake Keator at 252-329-9594 or jkeator@reflector.com and follow @JakeKeatorDR on twitter

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