FELTON — It’s official.
Jalen Morris is a pretty fast runner.
The Lake Forest High sprinter proved it last spring when, in his first year running track, he won the DIAA Division II state title in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles as well as being on a pair of winning relays.
And Morris’ coach in both track and football, Freddie Johnson, knows that being fast makes him a dangerous wide receiver, too.
“He has tremendous speed,” said Johnson. “We’re going to try to get him the ball because, if somebody misses a tackle, they’re not going to catch him, I can tell you that.”
The Spartans are probably going to need some big plays from Morris as they move into the more competitive world of Class 2A District III this fall.
Lake Forest opens the season today by hosting Mount Pleasant at 7 p.m. on the first full night of the Delaware high school football season. The Green Knights are in Class 2A after competing with the state’s biggest schools in the former Division I for the last few seasons.
Along with familiar Henlopen South rivals Delmar, Milford and Woodbridge, Lake Forest now finds itself competing in Class 2A District III with Caravel, Red Lion Christian and Sussex Tech.
The Spartans’ entire 10-game schedule is against 2A programs. They do play six of their games at home.
“We’re in a pretty tough group,” said Johnson. “There’s no break. Every week you have to be ready to play.
“We talk about one game at a time. This week we’re focusing on Mount Pleasant. When that one’s over, we’ll talk about the next one.”
“Week after week, we’ve got to go out there and play hard,” said D’Andre Scott, a senior center and linebacker. “Give it our best.”
“I like the new schedule,” said Morris. “We’re playing more upstate teams that have bigger players and have a bigger school and all that stuff. I feel like it’s good for us.”
Last fall, Lake Forest finished only 2-4 but it did win two of its last three games. Johnson said he likes the talent on this year’s roster, especially in this year’s junior class.
That group posted a winning freshman record two years ago.
“I always said, ‘Man, if you guys just stay together, you’re going to be pretty good,’” said Johnson.
“They’re just a close group that hangs out in school, they hang out together outside of school,” he said about the team as a whole. “I think that makes a huge difference.”
Scott was a second-team All-Henlopen South pick at offensive tackle last fall. The Spartans also return quarterback Jonathan Tyndall, who started a couple games as a freshman last season.
Morris made third-team All-State as a receiver as a junior — not to mention second-team All-State as a punter. The 6-foot, 175-pounder also plays defensive back.
Indeed, Johnson said Morris is always trying to find somewhere else to line up.
“He’s trying to do everything,” said Johnson. “He contacted me yesterday after practice — ‘Coach, can you put me on this team? Can you put me on that?’ He wants to do everything.
“I’m like, ‘Slow down buddy. Ease up.’”
Morris said he wants to prove that he’s not the stereotypical track guy — all speed and no toughness.
“I feel like a lot of people don’t think I’m very aggressive,” he said. “I want to prove to everybody that I’m aggressive.
“I feel like I can give us energy, whether I’m on the field or off the field. If I’m off the field, I’m on the sideline cheering up everybody.”
Just two years ago, Morris and the Spartans finished 8-3 and made the Division II state tournament. They’d like to think they can get back to doing some good things again this fall.
“They work really hard,” said Johnson. “I think they’re going to be able to put some things together. They’re going to be very competitive every week with whoever we play.”
“We’re going to be good this year,” said Scott. “I’ve got a lot of faith in all of us.”
Morris is excited about this soon, too.
“We’ve very young but I think we’re very talented,” he said. “I’m just ready to play.”
Lake Forest last faced Mount Pleasant to start the 2014 season. The Spartans went 10-0 in the regular season that fall. ... According to Smyrna’s stats, QB Cameron Edge completed 20-of-29 passes for 214 yards in last Saturday’s 52-6 loss at Bergen Catholic. Yamir Knight had seven catches for 135 yards. ... Bergen moved up two spots to No. 6 nationally after the win. ... Sussex Central heads to Wilmington tonight having won its last two meetings with Salesianum. ... Delmar’s season opener at Wilmington Friends marks only the second time the two programs at opposite ends of the state have played each other since at least 2008.