Homewood Football Roster Breakdown: large group of returning seniors looking to change the narrative


From left to right: #13 Woods Ray, Head Coach Ben Berguson, #22 Parker Sansing

Henry Sklar, Sports Editor

As the summer season winds down and days by the pool turn into nights on the bleachers, Homewood returns to the gridiron with a team bursting with experience. 

Twenty-five seniors return to a team that raced out to a 5-1 record in 2021, but seemingly collapsed down the stretch, finishing with a 6-6 record. That same group is looking to rewrite that narrative of last season.


Key Stat

The Homewood offense averaged 19.33 PPG in the season’s final six weeks last year. To put that in comparison, the Patriots averaged 33+ PPG in the first six.


Any chance at a deep run this season hinges on starting quarterback Woods Ray. The 6’2″, 220-pound 3 star QB is a veteran for the Patriots, as he has entered his third and final year as the starting quarterback. He has an excellent release, puts great zip on the ball, is athletic and is physically bulked up for his senior year. Ray had a busy summer, which included participating in the Elite 11 Atlanta regional, winning the Hoover regional seven-on-seven tournament and adding 20-30 pounds in the weight room. “Woods is the X-factor,” head coach Ben Berguson said. “We’ve got to keep him healthy.” Ray suffered an injury late last season against Briarwood Christian, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. 

Aside from Ray, sophomore Will Myers has emerged as the backup. Berguson said Myers is a “great runner and leader.”

Running Back

Based on the first two games, the Patriots plan on spreading the ball around the running back corps. Senior Mondrell Odell separated himself as the starter in 2021 according to Berguson and retained that role against John Carroll, rushing for 7.6 yards per carry.

Senior Calyb Colbert, is the traditional running back of the group who can speed up early and run away like a freight train. Colbert has been the most efficient running back in the first two games. The final running back in the rotation is Senior Jordan Kiwoi, who Berguson calls a “slash runner.” The depth and diversity of the running back corps will help the Patriots win games in the trenches.

Wide Receivers 

The top two receivers returning to Homewood are Charlie Reeves and Jackson Paris. Both of these seniors are athletic, have great hands and will feature on opposite sides from each other. Senior Hunter Drake is a superb athlete, standing at 6’3″, and being a track star. Drake will feature as Homewood’s premier downfield threat. Junior Camron Fortson is small, but slippery, and has a great knack for finding the soft spot in zones out of the slot.

Tight End

Tripp Gann is the main tight end. Gann can line up as a blocker, fullback or even wide receiver. He’s a scheme versatile player. There is not much of a contingency plan at the tight end.

Offensive Line

The offensive line is a mix of the former starters and the newcomers. Graham McLean, Taylor Lemon and Jack Watson are all veterans of the group. Jaxon Brooks wasn’t a starter last year, but found a lot of playing time. Senior William Webb, a player that Berguson “never expected to be a starter” is over 300 pounds and starting at left guard. 



Berguson views the secondary as the “strength of the defense.” Owen Isenhower and Parker Sansing are the two returning cornerbacks this year, bringing veteran leadership to the secondary. At the safety spot, Clay Burdeshaw is returning as a senior and is one of the best leaders on the team with great tackling skills. The final spot in the secondary is up for grabs between CJ Tidmore, John Griffin and Jackson Warren, who will all have to prove themselves throughout the year.


If one position will slow down the Patriots in 2022, it’s the linebackers. There are lots of names floating around that have talent and can potentially take over as a starter, but the group is very inexperienced. At middle linebacker, Rigdon Gibbons returns from last season, transitioning from defensive line to linebacker and will have to adapt to his new role. Senior Adam Parker is the only true returning linebacker from last season. A mix of Sam Talton, Trust Darnell and Luke Eldridge will round out the group this season.

Defensive Line

The Patriots return three starters on the defensive line. On the interior, senior Maxy Salazar will start at noseguard, with Randal Jaquez being ready for substitution. Junior Hayden Eldridge and senior Rudy Ford will start on opposite sides of each other at the defensive end spot. Junior Will Keown is a great depth piece at defensive end.

Special Teams & Coaching

Special Teams

Starting quarterback Woods Ray doubles as a punter, to add versatility on fourth down play calls. Sophomore Whitt Armistead is the team’s starting kicker for the second year in a row. The top two wide receivers, Charlie Reeves and Jackson Paris are the kick/punt returners. Paris returned a punt for a touchdown against Briarwood last season. 


For the 4th year in a row, the coaching staff is the same, adding a sense of familiarity.  


With experience returning to every position group, the team will be held to a higher standard. Woods Ray is a top-tier QB in 6A and has a fantastic supporting cast of weapons, offensive line and coaching. If the Patriots can repeat what they did at the start of last season, every game on the schedule is in reach. If all the puzzle pieces fit together, this could finally be the year Head Coach Burgeson and his Patriots get over the hump.