Posted: 6:07 am Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
By Jason Lieser
Last year, Glades Central started the same five offensive linemen in all 10 regular season games. Each of those players, led by Florida State’s Henry Orelus, graduated last year and now is playing college football.
That group helped the Raiders average 162.7 rushing yards per game and gave quarterback L.J. Thomas enough time to answer his cell phone before firing off a pass.
This year is completely different.
Top-ranked Glades Central visits No. 8 Royal Palm Beach on Friday and the Raiders plan to start their eighth different offensive lineman in four games. There could even be a ninth new starter, but coach Jessie Hester said he has not yet determined the starting lineup.
“We’re still bouncing kids around, trying to get that right,” he said. “Even this week, we’ll probably make another adjustment and hopefully that will solidify things.”
So far, the Raiders’ running game has been virtually nonexistent, but their passing game and defense have been strong enough to win by double digits against Dwyer and American Heritage.
Running back Antwon Chisholm ran for 113 yards in a 50-0 rout of Palm Beach Central, but the Raiders totaled a net loss of 9 rushing yards in the other two games.
The defense, which has nine takeaways already, looks championship-ready, but Hester said the lack of a running attack could hinder the Raiders’ title hopes.
“It’s extremely concerning,” he said. “You cannot just abandon the running game. You have to be able to threaten the opposing team with a running attack. It makes the game go easier. A lot more things can go wrong when you’re passing it rather than running it. It’s going to be fixed.
“A lot of people out here are jumping on (Chisholm). If you watch the film, no. It’s our offensive line, plain and simple.”