Scouting Warren: Youth is Blue Devils' strength

 
 
Updated 8/17/2018 9:00 PM
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  • Tight end/defensive lineman Zach Pelland runs during football practice at Warren.

      Tight end/defensive lineman Zach Pelland runs during football practice at Warren. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Warren tight end/defensive lineman Zach Pelland.

      Warren tight end/defensive lineman Zach Pelland. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Running back Martin Walker Jr. carries the ball during practice.

      Running back Martin Walker Jr. carries the ball during practice. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Running back Martin Walker Jr. catches a pass during practice at Warren.

      Running back Martin Walker Jr. catches a pass during practice at Warren. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lineman Willis Singleton participates in a drill during football practice at Warren.

      Lineman Willis Singleton participates in a drill during football practice at Warren. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lineman Willis Singleton, shown during football practice at Warren.

      Lineman Willis Singleton, shown during football practice at Warren. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

The 1,000-pound club is getting crowded at Warren.

The Blue Devils put a higher than usual emphasis on strength during the off-season and those efforts have paid off in the form of a bigger, stronger team. And the proof is in the numbers.

To make the 1,000-pound club, football players each need to lift a combined 1,000 pounds between their bench, squat and deadlift movements.

"Usually, we have 13 to 14 kids in the 1,000-pound club each year," Warren coach Bryan McNulty said. "This year, we have 21 guys. And we have two guys, Willis Singleton and Zack Pelland, who are in the 1,400-pound club.

"This is the strongest team we've ever had and we are really hoping that translates to the field."

Last season, Warren had one of the youngest teams it's ever had. Seven sophomores started for the Blue Devils.

At times, there were growing pains with the young guns, but now, they are experienced juniors. And McNulty is hoping that translates onto the field, too.

"We're still young," McNulty chuckled. "But it's a weird young. We're young, but experienced. Those kids are experienced and confident and that's huge for juniors."

Singleton, a lineman, is one of those juniors. He heads up an experienced defense that also includes Pelland on the line, linebacker Seamus Mellican, Juan Dela Cruz and cornerback Tavion McCarthy.

On offense, Warren is experienced up front with four of its five starting linemen back, including Jimmy Poremba, Matt Rich, Matt Wilkins and Nico Corsini. Corsini missed most of 2017 with a knee injury but is back healthy.

The line will be blocking for two dynamic position players in running back Martin Walker and quarterback Phil Hird. Walker was a 1,000-yard rusher last season and Hird is a sophomore with all kinds of potential.

"Phil is very athletic. He can run and throw and he makes really good decisions," McNulty said. "One thing that really stands out about him is that he has great calm, especially for a sophomore and he just has great command of the game and the huddle."

Hird has a speedy and athletic group of receivers to target, including Casey Cobe and Darien Bryant.

"This has been a really fun group to coach," McNulty said. "These guys have worked hard, they've been really productive, especially in the weight room, and we've got some good talent. I feel like we've got something big going."

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