Rays ready to keep cool against CAHS
Published: November 1, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - Wednesday's tackle football practice for Ivanna Eudora Kean High School was an exercise in restraint.
Assistant coaches constantly tried to agitate the Devil Rays, hoping that their players are prepared to ignore any jawing and post-play pushing that may occur in Friday's IAA tackle football rematch with rival Charlotte Amalie High School.
Kean High senior tight end Andrew Penn Jr. knows too well the consequences associated with retaliating. Penn and six others received one-game suspensions following a tussle in their 44-0 season-opening loss to the St. Thomas-St. John Private Schools Arawaks.
The following week, Penn was relegated to the sidelines as the depleted Devil Rays (1-2) hung tight in a 14-0 loss to CAHS.
"It killed me, it killed me," Penn said. "I want to keep my head in this next game coming up because it's a big game and will determine if we're gonna stay (deep) into this season or not."
Penn's presence was immediately felt upon his return to the team in a 36-6 rout of St. Croix Educational Complex on Oct. 20. Sophomore quarterback Shunnel Greenaway connected with Penn on two touchdown receptions as the Kean High offense finally found the end zone after eight scoreless quarters.
"The guys finally started to develop into their self," Kean coach Elroy Donovan Jr. said. "We have a young team. We have a lot of second-year guys, and it took them a while to really grasp the concept of the game, the plays - especially on defense."
Kean also picked up touchdowns from the defense and special teams.
Sophomore defensive back Tu'Shouney Phillips returned an interception for six points, and senior Evan Wallace Jr. scooped up a punt and took it 94 yards for a touchdown. The play was nerve-racking for the coaching staff.
"I was flabbergasted when he let the ball bounce and then he tried to pick it up inside the 10," Donovan said.
The Devil Rays gained confidence in all three phases of the game before the bye week, which provided Donovan's team much to build off before seeing the Chickenhawks (3-0) again.
CAHS is also receiving a boost with the return of senior quarterback Elisha Arnold, who missed the first game against Kean because of a suspension imposed by coaches for an off-the-field issue. Junior running back Kyle Edwards led the offense, scoring all five touchdowns through the first two games, including two against the Devil Rays.
Arnold returned last week in a 48-0 romp of Complex. The dual-threat rushed for three touchdowns and threw for another. CAHS sophomore and first-time starter Avery Joseph replaced Arnold through the first two games.
Donovan referred to Arnold as being, "a little bit more confident than Avery was. He's been playing for about three years now. He's more confident and he knows the game a little better."
For Kean to keep pace with the explosive CAHS offense, Greenaway will have to play more like a senior. The young starter is already sounding like a quarterback heading into a rematch and the season's biggest game yet.
"We learned that we need to execute more on offense and let things flow," he said, "Take what the defense gives you and things can go our way."
The game is set for 7 p.m. at Lionel Roberts Stadium. For more on the CAHS preparation see Friday's edition.
- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or firstname.lastname@example.org.