Seneca Valley High School’s varsity football program is among the most historically successful in the state of Maryland, amassing a record 12 state championships between 1976 and 2002.
Head Coach Fred Kim enters his 15th season with the Screaming Eagles fully aware of the legacy and expectations set upon the program by its past champions.
“Our goal is to win a state title at Seneca Valley,” he said. “Anything less is deemed a failure and unacceptable for us here.”
Coming off a 6-4 record last season which Kim labeled “a colossal disappointment,” the Screaming Eagles look to avenge losses to two local powerhouses in Northwest and Damascus, who have combined for five state titles since 2013.
“The current seniors and underclassmen understand that what we did last year was not good enough and will not win us games,” he said. “We had numerous suspensions during certain games that cost us games, and those are the results that you have to expect if you’re not playing at the maximum capability of what we can play at.”
The cornerstone of Seneca Valley’s team this season is their offensive line, which returns four starters from last season. Senior Edgar Guerrero and juniors Aaron Beckwith, Diego Turcios and Ryan Benjamin will reprise their roles in the trenches this fall.
“They’re workers, they’re horses, they’re the strength of our team, and they’re the leaders of our team, so hopefully that will translate to wins,” Kim said.
Other returners this fall include senior safety Mohamed Jalloh, sophomore defensive end Elijah Hyson, senior inside linebacker Neil Prescott, and senior cornerback and wide receiver/tight end Shy’yon Frazier. Senior quarterback Michael Bikai-Bassi will start for the Screaming Eagles in 2018 after serving as backup last season.
“Despite returning four offensive linemen, we’re still thin as far as starters-wise coming back, but we feel pretty good about the kids that we have right now,” Kim said.
Seneca Valley’s upcoming fall schedule is anything short of a cakewalk, with huge games at Northwest in week 3 and at Damascus in week 9. The team also faces Blake, one of the top teams in the county, in week 4.
“Any other team we just cannot take lightly, based on what happened last year,” Kim said.
While a state title run would be a massive achievement for the Screaming Eagles this season, Kim simply wants to take it one game at a time.
“Nobody’s scared of us, nobody respects us anymore as a program. They believe we’re now the bottom dwellers and we’re on our way down, but that’s okay with us because we’re just gonna keep on working and hope to surprise some people this year.”
The Screamin’ Eagles are also hampered with a second season without a true home game as the new Seneca Valley High School is being constructed. The Eagles will be once again being playing home games at Gaithersburg High School. They will open at “home” on Friday, Aug. 31 against the Rockville Rams. The two teams met for the season opener last year, and Seneca earned a 42-0 road win.
Top: Seneca Valley’s Screamin’ Eagles hope to rebound from last years’ “colossal disappointment” with a better season this year. Photo by Billy Owens.
Next: Senior center Edgar Guerero (56) and his fellow senior linemen are expected to open holes for Seneca’s running backs this season.
Next: Coach Fred Kim is starting his 15th season at the helm for the Screamin’ Eagles.
Next: Junior offensive lineman Ryan Benjamin (67) is expected to be a force in the trenches this season for the Eagles.
Next: Seneca Valley’s coaching staff are hopeful that junior Aaron Beckwith (58) and his fellow offensive lineman will make a huge impact on games this season.
Photos by Germantown Pulse, except where noted.