Edsel Ford launches the season tomorrow night by hosting Sterling Heights.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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Dylan Sanchez will return as the starting quarterback for Edsel Ford this fall.
Long on experience, but lean on numbers describes this year’s Edsel Ford football team.
“Our numbers are down a bit, so depth is a concern,” said Thunderbirds coach Mark Tyler. “However, we do have a lot of kids with varsity experience.”
Tyler’s offense is laden with returning seniors, including quarterback Dylan Sanchez, fullback Chase Harbin and running backs Jihad Baydoun and Younis Mohamed. Junior Marc Sample will also see action at fullback.
The offensive line — made up of Nick Luchonok at center, Hassan Bazzi and Steven Schmidt at the guards, Morgan Pultorak and Mike Rusko at the tackles and Kyle Stubbe at tight end — is composed exclusively of seniors.
Manning the wide receiver spots will be seniors Leonte Degraffenreid, Mohammad Khalil and Anthony Evans; junior Jad Elannan; and sophomore Craig Gailliard.
“We’re putting in a new offensive system,” said Tyler, “and the kids are working hard to learn it.”
In the defensive backfield, Degraffenreid, Baydoun, Gailliard and junior Abdullah Mussad will draw starting assignments. Junior Sam Lopez will also see action in the secondary.
Conspicuously missing from the defensive backfield this season will be senior standout Anthony Ramos, who suffered a season-ending injury the first day of practice.
Handling the inside linebacker duties will be Harbin, Bazzi, Stubbe, junior Josh Hall and seniors Torre Hamm and Peter Girardi.
Tyler’s outside linebackers will be Mohamed, Sample, junior Cole Moore and seniors Fred Wagner, Cody Cowart and Josh Plonka.
Across the defensive line, Pultorak, Schmidt, Luchonok, juniors Sever Segerson and Josh Delgado, and seniors JP Ferrier, Thomas Emma and Xavier Mrktumian will all see action.
Sophomore Logan Zieglar will handle the kicking chores and senior Nick Montoya will be the punter.
The Thunderbirds will again compete in the Blue Division of the Western Wayne Athletic Conference against Belleville, Dearborn High, Fordson and Romulus.
Edsel finished 2-2 in league play last season and 4-5 overall.
“It’s going to be a solid league again,” said Tyler. “Dearborn High and Fordson have the numbers and the records.
“They both just roll on from year to year, but we’re confident that we can be competitive.”
Edsel Ford launches the season tomorrow night by hosting Sterling Heights. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“Although we’ve got a lot of seniors, this will be the first time they’ve all started and played together,” said Tyler. “We need to come out Thursday night and play as a team.”
At halftime of Thursday night’s game, the school will honor former player and long-time coach Jack Bridges.
Edsel grad and current Central Michigan University coach Dan Enos will be among the speakers at the ceremony and Bridges’ high school number will be retired.