ARDEN – Christ School senior Landon Archangelo has a 1,402-pound security blanket.
And it’s one that affords the quarterback all kinds of time. The size of the five offensive linemen who protect Archangelo averages 280.4 pounds with a shared height somewhere between 6-foot 4 inches and 6-5.
Three of those blockers (seniors Walker Lanning, Austin Cooke and Malik Johnson) are Division I prospects.
“It’s a nice feeling,” Archangelo said. “All I really need to do is drop back and make my reads. I know they’re going to get the job done.”
The Greenies have a 28-6 record under fourth-year coach Mark Moroz, and the expectations are no different for their first season in a long time as an independent program — the Greenies’ former league (the Carolina Piedmont Football Conference) was dissolved.
“Everything has been a lot more intense (in the preseason) so far,” Johnson said. “And there’s also a good family feel to this team, more so than the past.”
Lanning is Western North Carolina’s most highly-recruited senior lineman — the former All-WNC selection from Henderson County has scholarship offers from Western Carolina, Albany, Youngstown State, Liberty and William & Mary.
Furthermore, he was an NCISAA 3-A all-state pick in 2013 after making 81 tackles.
The Christ School offensive line is rounded out by junior Ryan Zwier and Joe Keeler.
Archangelo passed for 857 yards and six touchdowns with nine interceptions as a junior in a run-oriented offense. His top receiver, fellow senior Anthony Vaglica (13 receptions for 232 yards and three touchdowns in 2013) is back.
However, the run game — more specifically, who is going to carry the ball — is a big concern for Christ School.
Sophomore fullback Grant Watson and tailback Sage Holley are the favorites right now, but Friday was the first day in full pads for the Greenies.
Christ School opens its season Aug. 29 at Rabun Gap (Ga.).
The Greenies have lost just three regular-season games in the past three years. Additionally, they have taken six of their last seven games from Fayssoux-Arbogast trophy rival Asheville School — the only NCISAA football programs in the area meet Nov. 1 in Arden.
“Our young guys are coming along,” Moroz said. “But we’ve got a lot to learn in a short amount of time. And that’s just the nature of (NCISAA football) and the fact that we get started so late.”
CHRIST SCHOOL GREENIES
2013 record: 8-3, 4-1.
Returning starters: Seven (four offense, three defense)
Returning all-conference players: One (Senior lineman Walker Lanning).
Did you know? Moroz was a lineman for Wake Forest from 2000-03 and the fourth overall pick in the 2004 Canadian Football League draft.