Cougars year older, still young

Cougars year older, still young

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Cougars year older, still young

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MURFREESBORO

MTCS is a year older.

But there is still plenty of youth on the Cougars’ roster as Brian Stewart kicks off his second season as head coach at MTCS. The freshmen and sophomore classes make up 23 of the 34-man roster.

“I like our team,” Stewart said. “I feel better than last year. We will have lots of sophomores that will help. We don’t have a lot of seniors and juniors.

“Right now we are a freshman and sophomore oriented team.”

Stewart will give the football to senior Brent Hofbauer to lead the Cougars’ spread offense. Hofbauer, who has primarily been a back up quarterback the last two years, gets his chance to be the opening day starter. In limited duty, Hofbauer threw for 310 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions on 23 of 64 passing.

MTCS used four quarterbacks during the season because of a rash of injuries. Two of those starters — Ivey Starling and Britt Roberts — are no longer at the school. Starling graduated and Roberts transferred to Eagleville.

Peyton Buckner will back up Hofbauer. Buckner had 289 passing yards on 19 of 65 passing. He also had a touchdown pass and nine interceptions. Justin Winn, who starts the season at receiver, could also play some quarterback.

Hofbauer will be joined in the backfield by running back Zach Brandon. Freshmen Nick Merritt, Tanner Green and Brayden Melton also could find time at the position.

The Cougars are deep with experience at receiver. Winn leads the group. He caught 27 passes for 345 yards last year.

Oakley Starling had 14 catches for 246 yards and Jordan Evans had three catches for 53 yards before getting injured. Austin Melton and Buckner also will make contributions at receiver.

Siegel transfer Bryson Hammrich anchors the offensive line and may be the strongest player on the team. He will also start at defensive tackle. Gavin Burgess will also start on both sides of the line.

Kyle Howard returns at guard. Trey Bautista took almost every snap at right tackle. Freshman Sam Mathis will be at center.

Chris Collins, who played at center last year, will play mainly at defensive tackle. Burgess and Franklin Roberts is at defensive end.

Austin Melton, Brandon, Merritt and Buckner all will start at corner.

Chaz Chaffin and Winn will share time at safety. Caleb Brian and Trey Hickey are at corner.

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