A Willis on Each Side of the Ball For Southeast Lauderdale

By: Louis Montesi, III
By: Louis Montesi, III

It's year number two for coach Charles Black at the helm of the Southeast Lauderdale tiger football team, and when the head coach looks at his defense, it almost looks the same as it did last year.

"I think we're only going to graduate six or seven guys again this year. So last year, I think we graduated four or five," says Black. "We got lots of experience, but still a lot of youth and... we're a lot stronger, and experience goes a long way."

Middle Linebacker Dylan Willis will be the anchor for the Southeast defense. The senior says he is pleased because the Tigers are better where they needed the most improvement.

"Well, mainly coverage. Our safeties and stuff... they're a lot better. They're covering. They've worked on that. That's a big part, because... we've got to fix that."

Willis says he's impressed with the play of safety Dawyll Hopson, who is back in his original position after spending a year at linebacker where the Tigers needed depth last season.

"He's really improved a lot," says Willis of his safety.

While Willis will break the huddle for the Tiger defense, their most explosive offensive weapon happens to carry the same last name. Junior wide receiver Damion Willis was Southeast's greatest weapon as a sophomore in 2012.

"He's much more mature," says coach Black of his prized wide receiver. "I think he's gotten faster... stronger, and he's becoming more of a leader too, as well as his just gifted physical ability, and we're looking for great things out of Damion this year.

With cornerbacks focusing in on Willis, don't be surprised if Jarret Jenkins catches them off guard. Jenkins, who will play defense as well, caught over 25 passes last season.

At quarterback, junior Takari Brooks takes over for Andrew Black.

"Last year, Andrew was a senior, so he had to take the leadership role and everything," says Black of his graduated son. "But now. we've got guys that are around Takari... that are leaders that can help him out, because we're very confident in what he can do."

The offense will also get a jolt from experienced running-back Padarius Martin, who will line up at linebacker as well.

Coach Black says the only area in which he's concerned is the offensive line, where the Tigers lack depth.

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