RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Manchester Lancers had the best season in school history in 2014. They finished the regular season a perfect 10-0, thanks to a Hail Mary to beat eventual state champion L.C. Bird.
In 2015, most of the starters that took the Lancers to such lofty heights are gone. 16 of the 22 starters on offense and defense either graduated or moved to other programs. That includes running back Justin Pendergrass (moved to North Carolina) and quarterback Daniel Rose (Virginia Union), who were responsible for a lot of Manchester’s scoring.
Head Coach Tom Hall isn’t concerned about that, and he also doesn’t mind that he’ll be starting a 14-year-old freshman quarterback in Brendan Clark.
“He’s not your typical 14-year-old freshman,” Hall said, noting that the team’s captains wanted Clark’s locker to be close to theirs so that he could share the leadership duties on the team.
One other point Hall makes about the attrition, is that the Lancers played so many games that got out of hand early that most of the backups moving into starting roles this season got plenty of playing time last season.
“We’re not living in the past but it definitely set the foundation for this year’s team,” Hall said. “We were able to play them quite a bit, so even though they didn’t start they played in quite a few football games, so we have some experience coming back.”
Things will get tougher for the Lancers in 2015 for other reasons, as well. This season the school moves up from 5A to 6A and adds Hermitage to its schedule.
It’s impossible to rule out perfection before a single game has been played, but Manchester will need every newcomer at his best to stay competitive in 2015.