Inderkum Football Gearing Up for Title Run

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BY TREVOR HORN
THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

With a month left before the season starts and less than two weeks from fall camp, Inderkum High School football is gearing up for a run at a Tri-County Conference title.

While the Tigers had a seventh consecutive 10-win season in 2012 (10-3, 4-1 TCC) , the team did not win a TCC title for the first time in six years after losing to Yuba City High School.

Inderkum players worked throughout the summer to build on momentum from a second-round playoff season a year ago.

With the return of senior quarterback CJ Spencer, senior running back/ cornerback Terrence White, junior linebacker/tight end NJ Falo, the top three receivers (Khalil Hudson, Larry Hardy and Tyler Dean), the Tigers are not short on talent.

Ten starters return for Inderkum this season.

The season opens Aug. 30 at Monterey Trail High School in Elk Grove and the home opener is Sept. 6 against Bethel High School from Vallejo.

Here is an early breakdown of positions for the Tigers:

Offense

Quarterback

No question who the leader for Inderkum this season is. CJ Spencer spent the spring on a recruiting whirlwind tour while continuing to hone his craft as a college-level quarterback. Head coach Terry Stark, a guru with the Wing-T offense, has implemented the Pistol offense into the playbook to further utilize Spencer’s skill set.

Junior Shawn Franklin, a junior that transferred this summer from Burbank High School, will backup Spencer along with 2012 junior varsity quarterback Jon Henry.

Running Backs

Terrence White (904 yards in 2012) is the starting right half and Marcus Gilbert (284 yards) will start at fullback. James Wilkerson, a senior, played for Inderkum as a freshman three seasons ago before moving down south. He returns and is slated to start at left half. The coaching staff praises Wilkerson’s talent and speed.

Tyler Dean will be a utility player on offense for the Tigers. The senior will shift from both halfback positions and split end. Junior Austin Thurman will backup Gilbert at fullback. Thurman was a late season call-up in 2012.

Sophomore Derrick Henderson will play some fullback and Kyree Ayo is a backup left half.

Split End

Coaches rave about senior Khalil Hudson’s improvement on and off the field this offseason. With improve route running and weight training; Hudson could have a breakout season after leading Inderkum with 18 catches for 495 yards and four touchdowns last season.

Along with Dean and junior Larry Hardy, the trio combined for 42 catches, 987 yards and six touchdowns. With an offseason working with Spencer for the Tigers and the 7-on-7 traveling team TMP Elite, the passing game should be pivotal to the offense this fall.

NJ Falo will return as the starting tight end with Hardy as his main backup.

Offensive Line

Four of the five positions seem to be solidified for Inderkum on the line. Other than at center, the starters most likely will be senior Miguel Rodriguez at left tackle, senior Jackson Matthews at left guard, and returning starting seniors Diondre Burns at right guard and Jabar Hally at right tackle.

There is a three-way battle at center with senior Prabh Sahi, sophomore William Roberts and senior Angad Singh.

Defense

Defensive Line

Burns will return as a starter at defensive end this season after a health scare this summer put his senior season possibly in jeopardy. Doctors, though, have cleared Burns to play.

Miguel Rodriguez, William Roberts and Hally will compete for the other end position.

Coaches hope to have a six-man rotation on the defensive line with newcomer Ken Pettis and fellow senior Ricky Allen platooning at nose guard.

Linebackers

NJ Falo received a scholarship offer from the University of Colorado before his junior year and should be a huge playmaker at outside linebacker this fall. Falo will be used as a pass-rush heavy linebacker much like how the San Francisco 49ers use Aldon Smith in their version of the 3-4 defense.

Darius Williams and John Henry are in a two-way battle for the opposite side outside position.

Henry, along with Jackson and Grant Matthews and Derrick Henderson are all in contention to start at either two middle linebacker positions. With only Falo returning at linebacker from 2012, fall camp will be critical for all six of the other players.

Cornerback

White will return as the starter at cornerback this fall. Coaches also project Wilkerson and Franklin (neither played for Inderkum in 2012) to battle for the other starting position.

With a defensive secondary that might be the most talented and deepest group on the team, there will be a lot of rotation between players at cornerback and safety.

Gilbert, Ayo and Thurman could all see playing time at cornerback.

Safety

Hardy and fellow junior CJ Garmon should be the starting safeties come Aug. 30. Hardy is a returning starter and Garmon was on the varsity team as sophomore last season.

Dean, Thurman and Gilbert could also play safety this fall.

Special Teams

Spencer and Javier Gomez will kick this fall. Gomez has kicked 50-yard field goals in practice and if he can provide the same abilities in game situations, he could give Spencer much needed time off the field.

Thurman and White (arguably the fastest player on the team) will see time as kick returners and Thurman and Hardy will share the load at punt returner.


Contact Trevor Horn at [email protected] and follow on Twitter @trevhorn

 

Photos by Jeremiah McWright

 

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