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Senior-heavy Jags are a ‘team to beat’ this season PHOTOS

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If you were basing a team’s success on how big its senior class was, Allen Park would take the cake.

And maybe that’s why the rumor sweeping through the area is that the Jags are definitely not a team to take lightly this season.

With 25 of the 39 players being seniors, it is safe to say the Jags are senior-heavy.

“We lost some big pieces of our team,” Coach Tom Hoover said. “We lost nine seniors, but six of them were the heart of the team.

“We have to fill those things in. You don’t just replace those kids automatically, so we’ve got some things to work through.”

Despite the losses of some big names last season, Hoover does return a few familiar faces to the 2014 squad.

At wide receiver, Antonio Reveire (6-2, 165) returns for his final outing.

“He can play and he’s pretty good,” Hoover said. “He’s our most experience reliever and he’s a big play guy.”

At left tackle will be Tyler Beggs (6-3, 240) a returning starter and he will be joined by Tim Deurocher (6-2, 220) at left guard.

Junior Ryan Compean (5-10, 246) will return to center and although it’s not set in stone yet, sophomore Carlos Agens (6-1, 245) is in at right guard with junior Sean Stephens (6-3, 260) at right tackle.

Ethan Kubik (6-5, 200) returns to the field in the tight end spot after starting on defense last season.

And seniors Jake McDonough (6-0, 220) and Jose Rios (5-10, 175) will rotate out in the flank position.

Back at running back is Manny Andrade (6-1, 205) and Nate Berrelez (5-11, 185) returns to the fullback position after starting as a sophomore last year.

Right now the Jags are running two quarterbacks; senior Colton Clapper (6-3, 200) and sophomore Antonio Mangiapane (6-1, 175).

On the defensive side of things, Hoover is swapping out three safeties in the form of Andrade, Rios and Reid Paffhausen (5-8, 170)

At corner is Reviere and Thomas Sirhan (5-7, 160) and rotating at left and right is Nico Perez (5-7, 164).

At linebacker will be Berrelez, Rocco Horvath (6-2, 175) and Dylan Romo (5-11, 190) at middle linebacker.

Rounding out the defensive line is Kubick, McConough, Compean, Mark Mullins (5-11, 292) and Roman Urista (5-9, 225).

Senior Rachel Caswell is also back for her final season, coming off a successful soccer season and taking care of things at kicker.

Overall, Hoover is pleased with his squad and the leadership.

“Mann really matured a lot and is a good football player and is well respected by his teammates,” he said. “Ethan is a very good student.

“I would imagine those two would be at the top of my list for heart and leadership.”

Allen Park is not playing with a motto, but rather concepts of teamwork.

“He who plays together has a chance to be the better team sometimes,” Hoover said. “I’m trying to keep them grounded.

“We’ve got some work to do. We’ve put a lot of work into the first game last year and we got beat by Melvindale so we’re certainly not taking that one lightly.”

Hoover expects his team’s best strengths to be on the defensive side of things with some of the bigger holes being left on the offensive side.

The Jags will be looking to make the playoffs for the fifth straight season, and Hoover said they will take no opponent lightly in their quest for at least six wins.

“A win over the last place team counts the same as a win over the first place team so you’ve gotta take them one at a time,” Hoover said. “We lost to Melvindale so that’s an attention getter. Carlson played us tough, Wyandotte’s a game that’s gonna be big for us.

“There’s a little spirit between the AP and Truman game and Soughtate and AP have got border wars. Each week there’s something going on.”

The Jags open the season against Melvindale at Wayne State in the Prep Kickoff Classic.

Last Updated: 8/26/2014 7:31:43 PM EST