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Tough, physical Cardinals ready for a new year PHOTOS

  • Action photos by Samantha Elliott

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After a regional final appearance in 2013, the Melvindale football team is back on the field and anxious to get 2014 underway.

Although the Cards lost some big, big players, the will be led by a huge class of 25 seniors, including 20 that were on the varsity squad last season.

Were anxious to get going and a different team, Coach Jason Carriveau said. Weve been working hard.

Senior Cam Perryman (6-1, 217) returns to the field as the left tackle and middle linebacker this season and Carriveau expects good leadership qualities.

He is a team captain and our physical leader, he said. Hes our most physical football player, so he kind of leads the charge with our physicality a little bit.

Handling things at quarterback is senior Dylon Maki (5-9, 176) who led the team in tackles last year.

Hes a really good football player, Carriveau said. Hes a physical, tough kid.

I think youre gonna see that as a trend on this team. we have a lot less flash, but weve got a lot of physical, tough kids.

Raphael Mitchell (5-10, 273) returns as a starter on both sides of the ball and is expected to do well at left guard again this season.

Charlton Jackson (6-2, 218) got some starts last year and comes to this season with a fair amount of varsity experience.

Hes had a tremendous offseason, Carriveau said. Hes working hard and hes gonna be on the field a lot.

Another big guy the Cardinals will rely on is Darrin David (6-1, 157), who Carriveau says is a smart and very hard worker.

Hes a pleasure to have around and he controls all of our checks from the secondary, Carriveau said. Throughout the summer at practices, hes proven that hes gonna be a player for us to count on.

Boynton is a name all too familiar in Melvindale and although star player Malik graduated in June, little brother Kobe (6-3, 225) is back to make his own name for himself.

You can see by his stature that hes got a different body than Malik, Carriveau said. He is a sophomore in a mans body.

Hes very physically imposing, very aggressive and hes a kid that we want to get the football to from that tight end position.

Hes gonna be tough to bring down and were looking for him to be one of our playmakers this year. If he continues to develop how he has been, hes gonna be a force to reckon with this year.

Anthony Fitzgerald (5-11, 141) comes to the field after a successful track season that included state championships in high jump and long jump.

Hes the fastest kid on the team, Carriveau said. For us to be successful, we need to get something out of him, especially on the offensive side of the ball; we have to utilize his speed.

Starting at tailback and corner will be Shon Stokes (5-7, 135) who Carriveau calls a shifty and fast player.

At center and defensive tackle, along with snapper and short snapper is Kyle Vervoort (6-2, 251).

He handles all of the snapping duties for the team, Carriveau said. Hes fired back there pretty quickly for punt and PAT and hes a pretty sure handed snapper.

Weve put a lot of pressure on him to get that done and hes been doing a very, very good job.

Ryan Large-Aee (5-8, 161)e is a player that Carriveau says has asserted himself as a player that will be able to get a lot of minutes at safety.

Hes just one of those kids that were modeling our approach around this year, he said. Very strong, very tough, very coachable.

Hes a dream to have around and hes fast and quick and catches the ball really well, and hes forced his way into the lineup by all those attributes shining through this offseason.

Back on the Melvindale roster after a year hiatus is Kress Medina (5-10, 156)

Carriveau said the team is fortunate to have him back at starting cornerback and he will also see some reps at wide receiver and running back.

Manuel Roldan (5-8, 186) is in a fullback and linebacker as another physical, tough and coachable player who put in a lot of work in the offseason and Nick Thomas (6-1, 305) returns as the strongest kid on the team according to Carriveau.

He was on varsity as a sophomore last year, Carriveau said. Hes stuck with it and has had a great offseason.

Hes starting right guard and starting defensive tackle and we count on him to be a plugger and a big physical force out there.

Hes more the physical presence that we need to stop that run.

Taking care of things from the kicker position is soccer star Khalid Mousa (5-2, 130)

He came in week five for us last year and his first kick was a field goal against Wyandotte to tie it up, Carriveau said. Ever since then, hes been very confident and were very confident in his abilities.

Were counting on him to be very solid back there and make all his extra points and add some points to the scoreboard.

Starting at tackle is Sam Guerriero (6-3, 279).

Hes another very coachable one, Carriveau said. He fits right in with our blue collar approach and we need his big body to move some defensive lineman out of the way.

Also returning this season is captain Chris Irvin (5-11, 164) and Carriveau expects him to play a lot of different positions.

Hes like having another coach on the field, he said. Hes a vocal leader and he leads by example (and) hes kind of the glue that holds a lot of things together.

Hes able to move around and help kids out and hes gonna find himself on the field in many different roles, but hes willing to play whatever we need.

Carriveau says if one thing is for sure its that his team is not young, just a little inexperienced.

We have a lot of seniors, they just did not get a whole lot of experience last year because we were so senior driven, he said. (But) these guys have played 12 weeks of football with some high caliber football players and they know what it takes.

They were along for that ride and they contributed to that success.

Moving forward, Carriveau wants his team to focus on making their own mark on Cardinal football history.

I talked about them writing their own chapter (and) creating their own name and creating their own legacy, he said. Theyve got blank pages in front of them and its on them to create their own identity and leave their mark on this football program.

I want them to be themselves and not be who we were last year. Thats not to say we cant chuck the ball around and make good plays, because I think we can.

Right now the Cardinals arent focusing on Wyandotte or Woodhaven or getting those six wins.

Right now its one step at a time because if you start overlooking days, you miss opportunities to get better, Carriveau said. I dont think we can afford to look down the road what so ever.

The Cards open their season against Allen Park in the Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State.

Were just gonna treat it like a road game and approach it that way and keep our routine, Carriveau said. Everything leading up may be different, but once you get between those white lines and the whistle blows, everything else disappears and youre just playing a football game.

Last Updated: 8/26/2014 7:34:05 PM EST