By David Piestrzynski
Tomorrow is a word filled with optimism for football in Hamtramck.
This past season, the Hamtramck High School team finished 3-6, knocking them out of the state playoff picture. But, despite the varsity team’s record, the future looks bright.
The Cosmos will lose only four seniors to graduation, leaving a strong crop of younger players returning who are more experienced.
But the potential for future success can also be found at Kosciuszko Middle School.
This year, the Cougars enjoyed an undefeated season, finishing 4-0.
“They had a great group of 25 kids,” said Leo Wells, Hamtramck’s varsity football coach. “They played real hard.”
Wells said he’s optimistic about the program’s chances for future success after what he saw from the Kosciuszko team this season.
Cougars running back Allante Bell proved to be a seventh grade sensation with 850 rushing yards on the season.
“He’s a quick, powerful back,” Wells said. “He has a natural ability.”
The team’s other running back, Dejon Thomas, also stepped into some crucial situations this season, Wells said.
He also credited the team’s offensive line. According to Wells, eighth grader Jaquan Reed, who anchored the Cougars’ offensive line, has the potential to play a big role on the varsity team as a freshman next season.
“He has an outstanding motor,” Wells said. “He plays to the whistle.”
Wells had plenty of praise for other players on the offense, such as: Trevor Stafford, Jasmine Ponjezic, Austin Adair, Simon Gevreziabher and Michael Mitchell.
The team’s quarterback, eighth grader Devon Freeman, is expected to be a standout on the varsity level in the future.
“He’s an excellent athlete with leadership ability,” Wells said.
The Cougars defense, which allowed an average of just 8 points per game, also has some players worthy of mention.
Defensive linemen Devonte Kendle and Earnest Myles combined for 15 quarterback sacks this season.
“When these kids get to the high school level, they have the potential to be a very special group,” Wells said.