They’re ready. The players are in place, the plays are set and understood, special teams still need polishing, but the Washington-Liberty Generals are otherwise on track to begin the 2019 high-school football season and eager to improve on last fall’s 1-9 record.
The recently renamed Washington-Liberty opens Friday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. on the road against the Centreville Wildcats, then plays home games the next three Friday nights.
“We still have some things unsolved at this point like all teams, but we will be ready,” W-L coach Josh Shapiro said. “I like our effort. We don’t have much depth, but we are cautiously optimistic.”
When the Generals take the field on offense, their ground game could be a big strength, with strong and bruising runners William Murphy and Pedro Palacios returning.
“We want to pound it, and those two can do that,” Shapiro said.
Daniel Salome and Daquoi Moore, a returner with breakaway speed, also could get carries in the backfield.
Andrew Bolfek will be the starting quarterback. The junior saw action last fall in a backup role, including throwing a touchdown pass and completing six passes for 71 yards in a season-ending loss to Yorktown.
“Andrew is ready to start and lead us,” Shapiro said. “He’s smart, he’s great in the huddle and he understands what we want to do.”
The receivers Bolfek will throw to are an experienced group in Liam McBride, Jack Leonard, Ahmad Williams and Bryson Files.
Anchoring the offensive line are senior returners Marco Estrada, Michael Mockler and Jacob Swisher. Others are Elias Miller and Victor Splan.
On defense, Miller and Swisher will be ends and Alexis Martinez and Jackson Praed tackles. Murphy and Palacios are linebackers. McBride, Williams, Leonard, Moore and Davion Owens are defensive backs.
“What we are doing right now is finding out what we do well, then we will keep working on that to do it better,” Shapiro said.
Big annual dates on the Washington-Liberty’s schedule this fall are Friday night home contests against Arlington rivals Wakefield, on Sept. 30, and Yorktown, on Nov. 8. The Generals lost both games last season on the road.
NOTE: Shapiro, starting his 13th year as W-L’s coach, is the second-longest tenured head coach at the same school at any team in the old Northern Region setup. Only Yorktown head coach Bruce Hanson has been at one school longer (34 years starting this season at York-town).
SCHEDULE: Friday, Sept. 6 at Centreville, 7; Friday, Sept. 13 vs. Edison, 7; Friday, Sept. 20 vs. Wakefield, 7; Friday, Sept. 27 vs. Justice, 7; Friday, Oct. 4 at Chantilly, 7; Friday, Oct. 11 at Herndon, 7; Friday, Oct. 18 vs. South Lakes, 7; Friday, Oct. 25 at Langley, 7; Friday, Nov. 1 at McLean, 7; Friday, Nov. 8 vs. York- town, 7.