EAST BEND — After a rough start to the season last year, the Forbush Falcons football team is ready to put the past behind it and start fresh. With six seniors, 11 juniors and seven sophomores on this year’s roster, the Falcons have a chance to grow as the season progresses.
“We look young and inexperienced,” said Forbush Head Coach Chris Johnson. “We have some talented kids though. It will be interesting to watch them grow and see the inexperienced become experienced.”
Last season saw the Falcons come away with a 4-7 overall record and 3-3 record in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference. Per game Forbush averaged two touchdowns, 78.4 receiving yards, 195 rushing yards and 65 tackles. During the season the Falcons had 20 sacks and six interceptions. The Falcons’ top pass-rushers and receivers graduated last year, which means this season there will be new players who are set to make their mark.
“We have two All Conference players returning — Luke Bowers, a linebacker, and Mason Coe, a defensive and offensive lineman. Those guys made a significant impact for us last year so hopefully they do as well for us this year,” said Johnson. “Landon Rockett has had a tremendous off-season and I look forward to watching him making some sensational plays for us this season.”
Coe comes into the season with his own set of skills. Last season Coe recorded 38 tackles — 23 solo and 15 assisted. This season, Coe comes in at 5’10 and tips the scales at 310 pounds. If his size and skills are any indication, opposing players will have to play tough to get past Coe.
Bowers is a sophomore who is 5’11 and comes in at 145 pounds. Last season on offense he had six carries for 29 yards. On defense, Bowers made a significant impact for the Falcons as he had 51 solo tackles and 23 assisted tackles for a total of 74 tackles. Bowers was a threat to quarterbacks everywhere, as he had eight sacks in 10 games. While Bowers also was a threat to quarterbacks, he was a threat to wide receivers as well as he recovered three fumbles in 2017.
Rockett is one of the taller players on this year’s team, as he measures 6’1 and weighs 155 pounds. Last year Rockett had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He also recorded 25 tackles — 20 solo and five assisted.
While there are three returning players who Johnson will be relying on, this season the Falcons will be relying on a sophomore to hold down the quarterback position. At 5’8 and 150 pounds, Casey Graham will be the play-maker for Forbush.
“He’s a 10th-grader but he is really mobile and has an accurate arm,” said Johnson of Graham. “We would like for him to be a little bit stronger, but he is a good leader. We have to keep him healthy because he is going to have a lot of weight on his shoulders as a sophomore. He is going both ways, as he is going to play defense for us as well.”
Forbush kicked off its season on Aug. 17 against West Wilkes. Last year in the season opener, West Wilkes was able to take a 42-17 win. For the Falcons, the first game of the season will be a learning experience for both the coaches and the players. As the season progresses, the young players will begin to learn and adapt to changing situations, which will put the Falcons in good standing.
“Our goal is always the same — we want to having a winning season, we want to compete for a conference championship and we want to make the playoffs,” said Johnson.