The Lejeune High School Devil Pups football team will begin a new chapter in the program’s history this fall as retired U.S. Marine Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Delle takes over as head coach. Delle, the son of a high school coach, plans to bring some of his Marine ethos with him to the field this season.
“I bring a lot of the motivation [from the Marine Corps] and just the push, push, push [mentality],” Delle said. “Don’t give up, don’t quit and just when you think you’ve hit your end point you’re only at the beginning.”
Delle plans to instill confidence and hope in the Devil Pups who have suffered three-straight winless seasons amidst competing in a competitive 1A/2A conference and having to deal with the instability of players coming and going due to parents PCS’ing.
“[I am most looking forward to] getting out there and just getting the team to work cohesively and come out with a victory,” Delle said. “That’s obviously the ultimate goal, so if we can do that, great. If we can hold a team to fewer points, and make them earn that victory, then we have come out successful because we are just going to build upon each game.”
When it comes to player personnel, LHS will rely on its seniors to lead the way, but the team will also expect a lot from the underclassmen who will step up and rise to the occasion when their number is called.
“We have got some players that are going to do really good, and we have got some up-and-coming [players] that are going to surprise us,” Delle said.
Senior Demitris Collins is expected to lead the Lejeune offense at quarterback this fall. Wide receiver Devin Morley, also a senior, will be a big target for Collins to find in the passing game, though Delle plans on running a balanced attack.
Coach Delle also hopes to see big things out of wide receiver and overall athlete Zach Furness.
“He’s got some speed,” Delle said. “He’s multi-faceted in terms of where we can put him, which is good. We have several players like that.”
One underclassman Delle has been pleased with who has already assumed an important role on the team is freshman long snapper Cameron Councilor. The Devil Pups will need more young players like Councilor to step in and fill open positions on the field for the team to reach its full potential in 2019.
Another senior leader who will make an impact this season is wide receiver and linebacker Enrique Martinez, a durable athlete. Junior Sam Perdue is expected to be the LHS kicker this fall as other skill positions and starting spots are all up for grabs before the regular season starts.
Though the LHS football program is trying to get over the hump and snap its losing streak, the Devil Pups are sure to carry on the fighting spirit of Lejeune led by Coach Delle and his staff.
“My thing is don’t give up, don’t quit and don’t say ‘I can’t’,” Delle said. “Because none of that works for me.”
LHS will take on Jones Sr. and Princeton in the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission’s Marine Federal Credit Union Football Jamboree on Aug. 16 at Northside High School beginning at 6:45 p.m. The Devil Pups begin their regular season at Jones Sr. in Trenton on Aug. 23.
Coach Delle’s assistant coaches are George Markle and Brett Becklund.
LHS Football Schedule
8/23 @ Jones Senior
8/30 @ Spring Creek
9/6 @ Lakewood
9/13 vs. North Duplin
9/27 vs. Croatan
10/4 @ Dixon
10/11 vs. Southwest
10/18 vs. Richlands (Homecoming)
10/25 @ Trask
11/1 vs. East Carteret (Senior Night)
11/8 @ Pender
All games begin at 7 p.m.