Sophomores emerge as role-players on gridiron

ARLINGTON — With a roster heavy on juniors and seniors, last year’s Arlington football team included only four sophomores and a freshman.

Despite a large number of those juniors returning for their senior season, the success of this fall’s season could depend heavily upon this year’s sophomore class, which will play a much bigger role than last year.

“We’re going to have lots of sophomores on varsity,” Arlington coach Greg Dailer said July 31, on the last day of the team’s camp.

Two that could have an impact right away are Blake McPherson — the team’s lone varsity freshman last year — and Bo Brummel. Although Arlington was expected to return experience at the receiver position, instead the team may depend upon the talent of these younger players. Brummel will likely line up at tight end on offense and outside linebacker on defense. McPherson will backup at quarterback and likely start as a wide receiver and safety.

A solid passing game will be even more important to the Eagles this fall. Last year’s starting quarterback Jake Parduhn had the ability to pick up yards on the ground when his receivers were covered. But Parduhn is moving to the slot position, hopefully offering Arlington a running or receiving option. Seniors Andy Smith and transfer Vince Kurtzenacker, who will likely share snaps behind center, are stronger passers than runners.

“We won’t have the running threat at quarterback we had last year,” Dailer said.

With two scrimmages at camp this year, first at Bellingham and then at Ballard, Dailer said he was happy to see improvements from the first scrimmage to the second, particularly on defense. The team also heard from coach and national speaker Bruce Brown about the importance of character and leadership on and off of the field. After a long week of work in record heat, the team enjoyed an hour careening across a slip and slide set up on the practice field.

The Eagles will have a non-athletic breakaway camp, which will include the selection of team captains, the weekend before fall practice officially begins Aug. 19.

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