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Just slide, Kenny, slide

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Kenny Leveille has been William Grady’s starting quarterback for two seasons, and this year his play is going to be even more instrumental to the Falcons’ success. Now if only coach Andrew Jashyn can convince him not to take as many unnecessary risks.

“He refuses to slide,” the coach said with a laugh.

Jashyn calls Leveille his team’s Ben Roethlisberger. The senior, who has received interest from Rutgers, is 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds with the ability to take a licking. Leveille completed 63.5 percent of his passes last year, threw for 913 yards, and ran for 162 more.

Grady runs an option, and Jashyn says Leveille has to be like a “running back who can throw” with the losses of star running backs Ikeem Williams and Jasper Kelly.

“We’re gonna look for him to lead the troops,” said Jashyn, who started the program in 2002. “We’re going to have to ride his coattails a little bit.”

The need for Leveille to have a big season multiplied when running back Rahim Salahuddin reaggravated a back injury he suffered last year. Jashyn isn’t sure when Salahuddin, who backed up Williams at tailback last season, will return, and the junior is questionable for Week 1 against New Dorp.

“He’s not Ikeem, but he had a lot of his qualities,” the coach said.

The Falcons will look for someone to step up among three other running backs before their first game.

On defense, Grady, which went 6-3 in its first season as a Level 5 team in 2008, will have a few players who are expected to have impacts. Senior safety Illarson Elie will step in for Kelly, who was one of the better safeties in the PSAL. Defensive end Romario Demosthene and versatile Tyler Butts, who will play defensive tackle and linebacker, are both getting interest from Albany.

Odney St. Pierre will be Demosthene’s counterpart at defensive end and double as the team’s center.

“He’s the anchor of our offense,” Jashyn said.

If St. Pierre is the anchor, then Leveille is the captain of the ship -- especially if Salahuddin isn’t healthy for a while.

Updated 3:41 pm, October 19, 2011
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