New Daleville coach Desmond Lett hopes to build on the success of last season’s Daleville Warhawks as he also brings familiarity and stability to a coaching position that has drastically needed it.
Daleville lost a host of senior playmakers from the 2018 team but also returns big veteran playmakers across the team along with a good crop of young, hungry players.
Cortez Buckhalter, Sr., Fullback/Defensive End: The 5-foot-7-inch, 160-pound Buckhalter brings a lot of strength to both the Daleville offense and defense.
“He’s a smaller guy but is also extremely strong,” Lett said. “He’s one of the strongest guys in our weight room and he works hard and gives you everything he has on every snap.”
Buckhalter will start as White’s leading blocker at fullback in the I-formation along with playing at defensive end and outside linebacker on defense.
Melvin Matthews, Sr., Outside Linebacker/Tight End: Matthews moved from the offensive line to fullback in 2018 and this year will take on the tight end role in the Warhawk offense.
“He’s a guy that leads by example,” Lett said. “He’s grown up in front of our eyes. Every single year he’s progressed and on the defensive side he’ll be another leader in terms of getting people to the ball.”
The 6-foot, 200-pound Matthews will play at outside linebacker and be an edge rusher on the defensive line, as well. Lett also said that Matthews may play on the offensive line at times depending on the injury status of linemen.
Myles Parris, Jr., Offensive Line/Linebacker: Parris started on the Warhawk offensive line as a sophomore and will be called on to play there and at linebacker on defense.
“You wouldn’t look at him and think he’s a lineman but he’s like a sponge,” Lett said. “He soaks up everything a coach has ever taught him since I taught him for the first time in junior high. He goes out there and applies it.”
Parris, who is 6-foot and 200 pounds, will play on defense for the first time this season but has taken to the linebacker position.
“He’s picking up everything that Coach (Justin) Hendrix has taught,” Lett said. “He’s really stepping up.”
Cameron Giles, Jr., Center/Inside Linebacker: Giles is stepping into a new role on the Warhawks offensive line in 2019 as the starting center.
“He’s never played on the offensive line but he’s adjusted well to it,” Lett said. “He’s thriving in that role working on his snaps and putting in the extra work. He’s got really great footwork, too.”
On defense, Giles will move over to inside linebacker from defensive end last season.
“He’s great reading offenses and reading his keys and covering in space,” Lett said. “He’s not the fastest guy out there but he takes great angles to get to the football.”
Casey Moore, Sr., Offensive Guard/Defensive Tackle: At 6-foot-2-inches and 280 pounds, Moore is one of the biggest linemen on the Daleville football team and with that comes his strength.
“He’s one of our bigger kids and one of our stronger kids on the line,” Lett said. “He missed the first few games last season (with an injury) but when he came back I thought we moved the ball a lot better. He’s just naturally strong.”
On the defensive side, Moore will play defensive tackle and force teams to pay attention to him.
“On defense you’ll have to double (team) him because of how strong he is or he’ll cause trouble,” Lett said. “He’s working hard to get in great shape so that he’ll be able to play a lot of snaps this year. If he’s able to play a lot of snaps on both sides we’ll be good on both lines.”
Brian Sarrano, Sr., Offensive Lineman/Defensive Lineman: Sarrano, at 5-foot-9-inches and 230 pounds, is one of the strongest players on the Daleville team and will look to make an impact on both sides of the ball as a senior.
“Sarrano has gotten even bigger and stronger the last few years,” Lett said. “Last year he wasn’t in the best shape of his life and only really played on one side of the ball consistently.”
Lett said that Sarrano has been putting in extra work in the weight room to get himself right for “Ironman” football.
“He’s really worked hard getting into shape,” Lett said. “Early in summer workouts we had days were we would do two workouts – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – and on those days he would show up and do both workouts to try and get himself into the best shape he can.”
Jordan McDonald, Jr., Wide Receiver/Cornerback: McDonald was primarily a special teams player in 2018 but will be called on to start on both sides of the ball in 2019. The senior receiver/cornerback stands at 5-foot-9-inches and 140 pounds.
“Jordan hasn’t had a chance to play a whole lot on either side of the ball but with us losing Kentayvis (Valrie) that’s a big part of the offense gone,” Lett said. “Jordan will have to step up there for us and on defense. He runs really good routes and has good hands at receiver.
“At cornerback he does a good job of covering and I feel like he has that attitude that he knows he belongs on the field and that will carry him a long way.”
Cedereon “Speedy” Wiley, Jr., Cornerback: Wiley – known by his teammates as “Speedy” – is one of the hardest working Warhawks, according to his coach.
“He’s one of the hardest working kids on our team,” Lett emphasized. “He has worked with Jalen (White) so much in the offseason and he really feeds off of him.
“He’s also bulked up and you can tell this kid has worked his tail off.”
Lett said that the 5-foot-9-inch, 155-pound Wiley takes it personally if a receiver makes a catch on him and that he reminds him of someone familiar.
“It’s almost a slap in his face if anyone catches a ball on him,” Lett said. “He kind of has that mentality of wanting quarterbacks to fear throwing to his side.
“He reminds me a lot of myself because I was a guy that was undersized but I would practically beg and dare quarterbacks to throw at him. Speedy is like that.”
Dylan Grant, So., Offensive Lineman: Grant played a lot of snaps as a freshman in 2018 but is coming off of a meniscus tear in the offseason.
“He’s working hard to get himself into shape and getting stronger,” Lett said. “He’ll play a lot of snaps on the offensive line for us.”
Lett said that the 6-foot-1-inch, 240-pound Grant brings experience but also is still a young, hungry player that he expects to have a big 2019.
Jeremiah Moore, Fr., Offensive Tackle: At 6-foot-3-inches and 28- pounds, Moore is one of the youngest players on the Daleville varsity team and after transferring in during the season last year, he will get a chance to crack the starting lineup as a freshman.
“The first few days of summer workouts he was just naturally strong but we would go outside and run and he wouldn’t be able to do more than two or three sprints,” Lett said. “You wouldn’t believe that is the same kid now. He has worked super hard this summer and taken care of his body and got himself into great shape. He’s just a naturally strong kid but he’s also lost some fat and put on muscle, too.”