Coach: Tony Brunetti, ninth season
Last season: 11-3, fell to Trezevant in Class 4A semifinals
Players to watch: Jimmy Ferrell, Sr. QB — Three-star prospect returns after an impressive junior campaign in which he passed for 2,296 yards and 32 touchdowns; Rontavius Groves, Sr., WR/DB/KR — Speedy three-star prospect snagged a team-leading 48 receptions for 1,223 yards and 19 touchdowns a season ago, helping lead a powerful offense that averaged close to 50 points per contest; Theo Cortner, Sr. LB — 5-foot-11, 225-pounder is Pearl-Cohn’s top returning tackler (77), and he’ll be leaned on heavily to lead a largely unproven defense; Antwon Malone, Jr. DE/LB — Versatile defender can play both linebacker and defensive end, and like Cortner, he should be a key contributor to Pearl-Cohn’s defense; Ke’Juan Vaughn, Jr. RB — Someone has to fill the void left by Illinois signee Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and who better than his little brother. The 5-foot-5, 167-pound back might not carry quite as heavy of a load as his older brother did a season ago (Ke’Shawn ran for 2,645 yards and 45 TDs in 2014) but he’ll likely be the the Firebirds’ main weapon out of the backfield.
Quote: “The thing about it is, a lot of times last year Ke’Shawn (Vaughn) was out of the game at halftime, so guess who was running the ball? It might take two or three guys to replace him, or it might just be (Ke’Juan Vaughn). We’ll see how that plays out, but by the end of the summer we’ll have found that guy.” — Pearl-Cohn coach Tony Brunetti.
Schedule (*region game)
Aug. 22 Hillsboro (at Vanderbilt), 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 at MBA, 7 p.m.
*Sept. 4 Macon County, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 at CPA, 7 p.m.
*Sept. 18 Portland, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Muscle Shoals (Ala.)
*Oct. 2 at Maplewood, 7 p.m.
*Oct. 16 at White House, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Tullahoma, 7 p.m.
*Oct. 30 Springfield, 7 p.m.