Football: Overland capsule

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Overland
OVERLAND

OVERLAND TRAILBLAZERS

Coach: Seth Replogle, 2nd season

Last year: 5-5 overall, 2-3 in 5A Centennial League (lost in first round of 5A state playoffs)

Players to watch: Austin Conway, 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, QB/Athlete, jr.; Tre Thomas, 6-3, 215, LB/OL, sr.; AJ Roper, 6-2, 200, WR/S, sr.; Deante Manlove, 5-9, 170, DB, sr.; Jamal Johnson, 5-9, 145, DB, sr.; Josh Wright, 5-10, 165, S, jr.; D’Angelo Manlove, 6-4, 215, OL/DL, sr.; Basam Elprapolfi, 6-1, 275, OL/DL, sr.; Dominican Waynewood, 5-10, 165, WR/DB, sr.; Khalil Jenkins, 6-3, 175, WR, sr.; Ahjon White, 5-11, 195, RB, jr.; Kevin Prosser, 6-2, 195, RB/S, jr.; Ravion Taylor, 6-2, 255, OL, sr.; Andrew Tillman, 6-5, 240, TE, sr.

2013 Outlook: Coach Seth Replogle can’t wait to get the Overland team back on the field for his second season, especially considering the positive signs it showed in 2012. For the first time in a few seasons, the Trailblazers posed a challenge to each team they faced and very nearly upset Mullen on the road in the first round of the 5A state playoffs. Replogle has a much better handle on things about his team this season, all the way down to mastering all of their names, which posed a challenge last season. One name that stands out on the roster is Austin Conway, a junior quarterback who was one of the Centennial League’s most electric athletes last season and figures to provide more of the same in 2013. Conway, a 5-foot-11, 165-pounder, has plenty of Division I schools interested him as a point guard in basketball, but he also loves to play quarterback and use his blurring speed and toughness to his advantage. Conway — who should also make a difference in the return game — broke the 1,000-yard mark both passing and rushing last season and has leadership skills to match his talents. Replogle feels good about the running backs behind Conway in juniors Ahjon White and Kevin Prosser, while WRs AJ Roper, Dominican Waynewood and Khalil Jenkins can go get the ball on the perimeter. Working the middle of the field will be senior tight end Andrew Tillman, a diamond-in-the-rough who could add an extra dimension to the offense. The Trailblazers will work behind a retooled offensive line that lost nearly every starter from last season, with seniors Basam Elprapolfi, Tre Thomas and Ravion Taylor serving key roles. Thomas is Overland’s unquestioned leader on the defense, as the hard-hitting linebacker — who already counts DI offers from Colorado State New Mexico State, UTEP and Northern Colorado — comes back after leading the team with 103 tackles, in addition to 2.5 sacks, which tied him with returning defensive lineman D’Angelo Manlove for tops on the team. Senior Deante Manlove’s speed and physical play has him turning heads as a defensive back, while seniors Roper and Jamal Johnson and juniors Prosser and Josh Wright can all run and get to the football quickly.

Quoting the coach: “We’re not going to surprise anybody with what we have this year. I think we did that at times a bit last year, but nobody is going to lay off on us this time. I hope they do, but I don’t think they will. …I took this job to win a gold ball and there hasn’t been a night that I’ve not thought about our last loss. It’s on my mind and on the kids’ mind, so hopefully we use that as a chip on our shoulders.”

2013 schedule: Home games in all caps (played at Stutler Bowl): Thursday, Aug. 29 — vs. Arvada West at North Area Athletic Complex, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 7 — FAIRVIEW, 1 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 13 — at Prairie View, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 19 — POUDRE, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 27 — at Cherry Creek, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 4 — GRANDVIEW, 4 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 11 — EAGLECREST, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 18 — vs. Smoky Hill at Stutler Bowl, 4 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 25 — CHEROKEE TRAIL, 7 p.m.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel