Devil Pups

During a running play for the Lejeune High School Devil Pups, senior wide receiver Desmond Johnson avoids the Lakewood High School defense at Lejeune High School Athletic Stadium on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Aug. 30.

The high school football season just began and teams are strategizing what rosters and playbook they need to use to come out of each game with a win. Football is a competitive sport and the Lejeune High School Devil Pups’ football team is working on refining their game.

The Devil Pups might not have started off the season on the right note, as they fell 30-6 to the Lakewood High School Leopards during last week’s game, but improvements are implemented each week as the season goes on.

“Our kids never gave up,” said Jim Gardiner, LHS head coach. “We ran the ball effectively for 145 yards during the game. Our defense really picked up their game against Lakewood. Our team is absolutely a work in progress.”

Performances like the one from senior running back, Kobe Ullrich, who mowed down the Lakewood Leopards with 145 yards of rushing, are the glimpses of hope that motivate the team moving forward.

During last week’s game, the Devil Pups were outnumbered as the Lakewood Leopards had plenty of players sitting on the sideline. However, this is something that the Devil Pups are trying to fix to improve the team. According to Gardiner, his team is increasing in roster size each week and he hopes to increase to 30 players by the next game.

With the constant transition of the military community, Gardiner is working with the tools and players provided to him.

Even though Lakewood beat Lejeune last Thursday, Barrett Sloan, Lakewood Leopards head coach, acknowledged that their opponents gave them a huge challenge to the end of the game.

“Hats off to Lejeune football who came fired up playing with discipline,” said Sloan.“The score did not reflect how we did tonight; they gave us a tight ball game. Monday we will start preparing for our first home game against Midway High School.”

Gardiner says in the second half of the game, there was a small opening in the defense that his team took advantage of. According to Gardiner, the Devil Pups were able to notch almost 140 yards because of that hole in the defense. The opportunity they seized is just another improvement the team has made since the start of the season.

The latest performance from the Devil Pups was a learning experience as they move forward. The defense forced turnovers including a fourth-quarter interception from the sophomore wide receiver and defensive back, Zach Furness, running it back from the end zone to midfield for 45 yards.

Next on the schedule for Gardiner’s team is an away game against North Duplin High School tomorrow at 7 p.m. for Military Appreciation Night.

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