There aren’t many ways to build on a 13-1 season and a loss in the state semifinals, aside from winning a state championship.
But that’s exactly what Siegel coach Greg Wyant expects his team to do, despite the loss of seven starters on both sides of the ball.
“This group understands how high the bar has been set,” Wyant said. “I don’t know if this team has what it takes to win a state championship, but we’re going to find out.”
Wyant will utilize a quick-paced, spread offense again in 2013 like last season, this time around though, 2012 District 7-AAA MVP Brent Stockstill won’t be at the helm as he’s now playing for Middle Tennessee State University.
The direction of the offense will be on the shoulders of senior quarterback Dakota Crane, who did get some playing time in 2012, especially in several Stars’ blowouts.
“We’re not changing a thing,” Wyant said of his offensive strategy. “The average in high school is 50-60 plays. We’re trying to run between 65 and 75.”
And while Wyant’s team will feature four wide receivers on most downs, he said the key to making the scheme work will still fall on the running game.
“We’re going to try and run the ball 60 to 70 percent of the time,” he said.
Leading the charge in the Stars’ backfield will be senior Denzel Harding, who led District 7-AAA in rushing last season. Brothers Andrew Knox and Andre Knox and Greedy Howse also will carry the load for the Stars.
Wyant also expects the wide receivers to be a strength in 2013, as the team’s lone loss on the outside was Tae Martin, who led District 7-AAA in receiving yards a season ago.
Junior Colton Gipson and seniors Weston Hayes and Dominique Gooch will be the Stars’ key receivers, with a host of other players expected to contribute throughout the season too.
The offensive line will be senior laden with three seniors and two juniors expected to start, despite just one returning starter.
Senior Shane McKnight, who will start at right tackle, is the group’s lone returner.
“The offensive line will determine how this season is going to go,” Wyant said.
Wyant will implore a 50 front on defense.
The group’s strength will be in the linebacker corps as seniors Nick Peters and Sean McKnight return after starting all 14 games last year at inside linebacker.
“They really understand what we’re trying to do and where everybody needs to be,” Wyant said.
Stephen Major will start at outside linebacker.
Gooch, Malik Flagg, Harding and Andre Hayes are slated to start in the defensive backfield, although Wyant said he doesn’t want to play all four seniors on both sides of the ball.
The defensive line will be anchored by Luke Hillis, Darren Gregory, Adam Trigg and Damien Norris.
Kicker Harrison Reed has been the District 7-AAA Special Teams MVP the past two years.
Peyton Tracy handled the punting duties in 2012 and will do the same in 2013.