Getting to know the 2015 Des Moines East Scarlets

Photo: Des Moines Register

By Matt Gruemmer

It’s no secret throughout Des Moines that football teams in the Central Iowa Metro League set their pre-season goals at a very high level. This fact is no different for East High’s Greg Schoon who has set one tall task for his troops this upcoming season: Lead the state in turnover margin.

Coming off a 4-4 campaign a year ago that saw wide margins of both victory and defeat along with a controversial no-contest game with Ames that was erased from the record books, the Scarlets have a reason to believe their high goals can be achieved.

Des Moines East returns a plethora of talent on the offensive side of the football, including quarterback Jaron Turner who compiled five rushing and five passing touchdowns last season. Turner completed nearly 50 percent of his 151 passes in 2014, averaging 10.9 yards per completion for a total of 817 yards through the air. The Scarlets will utilize that experience in combination with nearly their entire starting line from a year ago to generate scoring in 2015.

Graduating four of its five leading tacklers, the team will need several players to rise up early to warrant defensive success. Linebacker Rory Walling led East as a sophomore in 2014 with 58.5 total tackles and 37 solo takedowns. Walling, along with three senior defensive backs, looks to lead the Scarlets in a league dominated by grueling offensive attacks.

With the depth of starters returning for Des Moines East, the biggest question that looms for Coach Schoon’s team is can they stay healthy enough to compete at a weekly level? The Scarlets anxiously await answering that questions in the coming Friday nights.

Des Moines East Stats

2014 record: 4-4 overall, 2-2 conference

Head Coach: Greg Schoon, 6th season, 20-28

Returning offensive starters

RB Brandon Trotter, SR

QB Jaron Turner, SR

G David Razo, SR

T Jared Hall, SR

T Zach Stemsrud, SR

G Anthony Arroyo, JR

G Case Tillotson, JR

WR/DB/Ret Gerald Sama, JR

Returning defensive starters

MLB Billy White, SR

OLB Austin Hunter, SR

OLB Rory Walling, JR

FS Hunter Kahler, SR

Total returning letterwinners: 6

Offensive Scheme: Spread

Defensive Scheme: 4-3

Team Goals: Improve on our offensive efficiency and lead the state in turnover margin

2015 Schedule (district games in bold)

08/28 vs. Des Moines, Roosevelt

09/04 @ Des Moines, North

09/11 vs. Indianola

09/18 @ Des Moines, Abraham Lincoln

09/25 vs. Southeast Polk

10/02 @ Ankeny

10/09 vs. Council Bluffs, Thomas Jefferson

10/16 @ Ames

10/23 vs. Sioux City, North

Getting to Know You: Des Moines East Scarlets

DMEast_Scarlets2013 was a sub-par year for Coach Greg Schoon and the East Scarlets, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort. Injuries and turnovers during crucial moments in games were their undoing in several close games. Schoon is excited about this year’s squad that will consist of new junior and senior starters to complement senior QB Chino Alcala, WR Jason Jeffries on offense, and a trio of senior LBs lead by senior Alex Contreras on defense.

Des Moines East Stats

2013 Record: 2-7 overall, 1-4 Division 4

2014 Class & District: Class 4A, District 1

Coach: Greg Schoon

Returning Starters – Offense

Chino Alcala, QB, 12,

Jason Jeffries, WR, 12

Javier Guerror, K, 12

Brandon Trotter, RB, 11

Billy White, OL, 11

Returning Starters – Defense

Jaylin James, CB, 12

Alex Contreras, LB, 12

Jonathon Harrington, LB, 12

Juleo Harris, LB, 12

Eric Ridgner, 12, DL

Returning Letterwinners: 15

Interesting stories about the squad, players, or upcoming season: The Scarlets’ strength is overall team athleticism in all positions. Schoon is excited about the improvements on the freshmen and sophomore/JV level. The biggest challenge is filling in new starters at key position, especially on the defensive and offensive side of the line. Inexperience is always a potential problem, Schoon cited, but he is excited about this year’s team and looking forward to help them excel.

2014 Schedule (District games in bold)

Aug. 29 @ Des Moines Roosevelt

Sept. 5 Des Moines North

Sept. 12 @ Indianola

Sept. 19 Des Moines Lincoln

Sept 26 @ Southeast Polk

Oct. 3 Ankeny

Oct. 10 @ Council Bluffs Jefferson

Oct. 17 Ames

Oct. 24 @ Sioux City North