Finding a way to stand out in the weekly grind of District 7-AAA is tough, but La Vergne football coach Stanton Stevens won’t use that for an excuse.
The fourth-year head coach believes his team is ready for the new year, despite the loss of 24 seniors from last year’s roster.
With just seven wins in the last three seasons – including only two last year, the Wolverines will try and carve out their spot in District 7-AAA in 2013 with what they hope to be a high-powered offense and a much-improved defense.
Here are five things to know about La Vergne’s football team for the 2013 season.
1. Spread it Out
The Wolverines will transition to a spread offense in 2013 after running the I-formation each of the past two seasons.
La Vergne managed just 16.6 points per game on offense last year and will need more points to compete in the district week-in and week-out.
LHS will rely on senior quarterback C.J. Fore to lead the group, who returns as the most experience-laden QB in 7-AAA.
2. Find the ‘Tallent’
Stevens named Ryan Tallent, a former Maryville running back, as the team’s new offensive coordinator for 2013 and a stockpile of talent at the skill positions has Tallent grinning ear-to-ear.
Assuming the offensive line can keep Fore upright, the senior has the arm strength to throw it up and let his wide receivers go get it.
J.J. Horner and Quin Jernighan will be his most reliable targets, while sophomore running back Nick Jones and freshman running back Maleik Gray are as explosive as any runner in 7-AAA.
Getting all four the ball in space will be vital to the team’s success.
3. Stevens takes over defense
Stevens will take over the play-calling for his 4-3 defense that allowed nearly 30 points per game a season ago.
Lowering that number will fall on the pressure the defensive front can provide. It will be led by 300-pound sophomore Jean Phill and 250-pound senior Kelvin Welch.
An experienced secondary means the front seven must be better than 2012.
4. Finding wins in District 7-AAA
La Vergne finally broke through and won its first 7-AAA game with a 24-21 upset of Oakland last year. In fact, it was the first time the Wolverines had won a district/region game since a 24-14 triumph against Oakland in Week 2 of 2007.
Between the two wins against the Patriots, which were separated by five years, La Vergne suffered through an 0-31 stretch in district/region play.
The Wolverines must find a way to get more wins in the district or the playoffs will continue to be an afterthought.
5. Schedule: Quick start imperative
Finding a way to make the playoffs will hinge on the team’s results in the early portion of the schedule, especially out-of-district opponents.
Four of the team’s first five games are at home and the team’s lone road game in that group is at district newcomer Stewarts Creek.
If the Wolverines aren’t at least 2-2 entering a home date versus Riverdale on Sept. 20, the postseason will be a stretch.