Parkland Mustangs look to race out the gate

Parkland Mustangs look  to race out the gate
August 06
00:00 2015

In above photo: Parkland defensive linemen work on their foot-work during a recent practice. The Mustangs have been focusing on conditioning during summer workouts. Aug. 1 was the official start of practice. (Photo by Tevin Stinson)

High school team will try to take advantage of non-conference schedule

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

It has been some time since the Parkland Mustangs finished at the top of the 4A Piedmont Triad Conference, but third-year head coach Martin Samek has high hopes for 2015-16 football season.

Samek believes this year’s team has enough talent to get a some wins early in the season and take that momentum into conference play.

Three out of the first four games on Parkland’s schedule will be against teams who compete in a 2A conference or lower.

They will not face another 4A opponent until week six, when they travel to Clemmons to face West Forsyth.

“Our schedule is a little more accommodating. I’m not saying it will be easy, because they are good teams, but it is more accommodating to our team, our size and our program,” Samek said. “They haven’t had a good start here in six or seven years. It would be nice to get off to a good start. I think if we get off to a good start, that will carry over, and the results at the end of the season could be a lot different.”

On defense, the Mustangs will rely on the strength and experience of senior linebackers Cameron Wagner and Daquan McLean.

The duo will look to improve a defense that allowed over 40 points on three different occasions last season.

“We have really focused on strength and conditioning coming into summer workouts. We also brought in some new coaches,” said Samek. “It seems to be really making a difference.”

Senior wide receiver Daryl Williams is also expected to make an impact this season for the Mustangs.

Last season, Williams was a threat on both defense and offense.

At quarterback, Parkland will look to Reynolds transfer Cortez Barber.

When asked about Barber, Samek seemed very impressed with Barber’s pocket presence and his arm strength.

“Barber, our transfer from Reynolds, will make an impact at quarterback for us. He’s a big, tall, skinny kid and he can throw it a mile,” Samek said.

Shaheed Baker, Louis Silva, Julian Monell and Kerrick Brown are also expected to make an impact for the Mustangs this season.

“This is the first year we won’t have to bring up JV players who are talented,” said Samek. “We finally have the numbers on the varsity team that we need to compete every week.”

Samek expects to have close to 100 ball players, between the varsity and junior varsity teams.

When asked about which game he is most looking forward to, Samek said although he’s sure the majority his players are looking forward to renewing the cross-town rivalry with Carver, he is most looking forward to opening night against Northeast Guilford.

“That first game is very important,” Samek said. “If we do well in that game, I think that is going to spring-board us into a lot of good things.”

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