Expectations high for Kent Roosevelt after successful 2008

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Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders Football

Roosevelt is the first team we’ve
featured so far in Region 5 that was actually in this region last year. The
Rough Riders won the Portage Trail Conference championship and made the playoffs
as the No. 8 seed in 2008.

This season, they have even higher expectations for
themselves.


Kent Roosevelt (8-3)

* Players To Watch – WR/CB/KR Denerio Bryant (5-9,
165, Sr.), QB Evan Shimensky (5-10, 175, Jr.), OLB Marcus Rogers (6-2, 215,
Sr.), SS Sam Thomas (6-1, 222, Sr.), MLB Marcus Wright (6-4, 225, Sr.), C Eric
Pucillo (6-2, 265, Sr.), WR/CB Shakeel Howard (5-5, 165, So.), OG/DE Ryan
Anderson (6-4, 260, So.)

* Outlook – Roosevelt is the first team we’ve
featured so far in Region 5 that was actually in this region last year. The
Rough Riders won the Portage Trail Conference championship and made the playoffs
as the No. 8 seed in 2008. This season, they have even higher expectations for
themselves.

Bryant is ranked as one of the top 150 players in the state
by Ohio High and was a first-team All-Ohio selection at cornerback last year
when he tied a school record with six interceptions. He also had 43 receptions
for 760 yards (17.7 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns. He also averaged 30.6
yards on kickoff returns (one touchdown) and 11.2 yards on punt returns.

“There aren’t any better than Denerio around here returning
punts and kickoffs,” Kent Roosevelt head coach John Nemec said. “He’s also a
great deep threat in the passing game and is a great corner on defense. All the
MAC schools have been in to look at him, but he needs to get his grades and his
(ACT) test score up a little bit.”

Shimensky returns as the starting quarterback and he threw
for 1,346 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. He also had 291 rushing yards and
seven scores on the ground. Those were pretty solid numbers for a sophomore.

“Evan is a good player,” Nemec said. “He makes plays. He is
a great leader and he makes plays; that’s what you want out of the quarterback.”

The Rough Riders return a rough-and-tumble center in
Pucillo who can bench 315 pounds and is probably the strongest overall player on
the team according to Nemec. (Pucillo’s cousin is Ohio State wrester Mike
Pucillo who won the 2008 NCAA national championship at 184 pounds.)

Roosevelt also has plenty of team speed and Howard is near
the top of the list as he is consistently timed in the 4.5 range in the 40. Last
season, he had 29 receptions for 281 yards (9.7 yards per catch) and three
touchdowns, and added 140 rushing yards (5.6 yards per carry).

“He started all 10 games as a freshman, which is only the
second time that’s happened here since the 80’s,” Nemec said. “He was a two-way
starter on a league championship team as a freshman.”

Howard wasn’t the only freshman that received a lot of
playing time last year though. Anderson received a few starts at offensive guard
and he’s a strong player with 5.2 speed in the 40.

Defensively, Rogers was the team’s leading tackler last
year with 66 (55 solo). Thomas was not too far behind with 62 stops (43 solo).
The “captain” of the defense is Wright who had 55 tackles last year (32 solo).

“Our expectations are high,” Nemec said. “We feel we have a
lot of returners and we had a good offseason in the weight program. The kids
showed up and worked hard. We have a lot of other players that weren’t mentioned
that are real solid players on the high school level.

“Offensively, we’ll be in the shotgun 90 percent of the
time and Shimensky runs the offense very well. Defensively, we installed a 3-3-5
last year and it started clicking midway through the season. Hopefully we’ll be
even better with that this year.”

As for Region 5 as a whole, Nemec – who is also Ohio’s
coordinator for the Big 33 Classic – knows it won’t be easy.

“It’s a tough region,” he said. “We traded a lot of teams
in and out. Off the top of my head, Aurora is a very tough add and there are a
few others I could mention.”

Schedule

Aug. 28, at Chagrin Falls Kenston, 7 p.m.

Sept. 4,
Stow-Munroe Falls
, 7 p.m.

Sept. 11, Barberton, 7 p.m.

Sept. 18, Mogadore Field, 7 p.m.

Sept. 25, at Akron Coventry, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2, Ravenna Southeast, 7 p.m.

Oct. 9, Ravenna, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16, Akron Springfield, 7 p.m.

Oct. 23, at Mantua Crestwood, 7 p.m.

Oct. 30, Norton, 7 p.m.

 

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