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Monday, July 28, 2014

Bluejays seeing signs of turnaround

Thursday, August 18, 2011

(Photo)
2011 Charleston Bluejays
CHARLESTON -- With a new season comes renewed optimism for the Charleston Bluejays football program.

After enduring a winless 2010 campaign to push their current losing streak to 11 games, the Bluejays will enter the upcoming season eager to show fans that things are turning around.

"We have eight or nine starters coming back on each side of the ball," Charleston head coach Brett Blackman said. "We've also had some move-ins that help us and will be big contributors for us.

"We have a couple new kids coming in too, so we should be an improved team."

Blackman enters his second season running a program that has seen its share of hard times in the past four years.

Since making the Class 2 playoffs in 2007, the Bluejays are a combined 2-28 with their last win coming on Oct. 23, 2009 in a 14-8 victory over the Malden Green Wave.

After watching his players consistently improve since he took over last offseason, however, Blackman thinks his squad has made the strides it needs to be competitive.

"We're seeing signs of improvement on a daily basis and that's good," Blackman said of practice. "We haven't hit that down point yet where we haven't seen that improvement (this offseason).

"We did that last year during the season, where we stopped improving for awhile, but with these kids here, they've been pushing each other."

Pleased with what he's seen in his teammates through a summer of practice and conditioning, senior Jamaul Gray expressed similar enthusiasm.

"I feel good, like we're going to win some games," Gray said. "We have a better team this year than any other year (I've been here).

"We've been getting more people to come out (to practice), we're executing right and sharpening up on things. I think we're doing well."

One thing Charleston will look to utilize is will be its speed as Blackman said the Bluejays roster holds four or five guys that have posted times of 4.7 seconds or better in the 40-yard dash.

He hopes that, and improved blocking from the offensive line, will allow them to develop a strong inside run game.

"It seems like we're a little bit faster than we were (last year)," Blackman said. "We have some good speed with our backs and we're stronger.

"Offensively we have to utilize our fullback more than what we did last year and some of the things we're doing to do will do that."

Heading into the season, expectations from the players will be high as seniors Maurice Moore, Demarcus Coleman and Krushon Scott all listed competing for a district title as one of their goals.

"We've put in a lot of hard work, even more then we did last year," Moore said. "So we feel very confident (going into the season)."

If the Bluejays want to get off to a hot start they'll have to do it on the road as they start the regular season traveling to Kennett, where they will play the Indians on Friday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m.

They'll play an Indian team under first year head coach Corey Adkisson that is coming off a 2-8 finish in 2010.

"Us coming out of a winless season, it would be big to come out with a win," Scott said. "It would help build our confidence up early in the season."


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