I promised the content for Week One would begin today, so here we go. In addition to some of the season previews from the 2015 News-Star Football Preview Magazine posted on the website today, I also posted a story on Union Parish and their tough schedule in non-district play. All of those links can be seen below.
Under that is the meat of this blog post: a look at the local teams in District 2-5A (Ruston, West Monroe and Ouachita) and the biggest holes they have to fill heading into the regular season. The breakdown for each team is done by providing a list of seniors that made the All District team last season, divided by 1st team and 2nd team players, then an outlook of how that team will fill those holes.
I’ll have blog posts like this one for the remainder of the classifications in District 2 throughout the week before games begin Friday night.
WEST MONROE REBELS
1st Team Losses: RB Devonte Williams, TE Will Hoogland, OL Tristan Hall, OL Logan Currington, P Luke Cranford, LB Dustin Mitchell, DL Michael Douglas, DL John Washington, DB Peyton Roan, DB Nick Schexnaider
2nd Team Losses: WR Landon Mims, WR Nick Sanders, OL Chris Duncan, OL Jordan Skillinstand, DL Regan Murry
The so-called ugly portions of the field are clearly the ones of highest importance for the Rebels: the offensive line and the defensive front seven.
The Rebels make no effort to hide their youth on the offensive line, but also expressed confidence in that group’s intelligence and ability. That group is the obvious make-or-break point for the offense, as the Rebels have too much playmaking talent – Jon Randall Belton, Slade Bolton, Trey Coleman, De’Michael Shelbon and Charlie Havon, just to get started – to struggle through 2015. They don’t need much space to make big plays, but the offensive line does have to provide that small amount of room.
On the defensive line, Layton Garnett’s move to the defensive line and Chandler McKane’s return from injury helps that unit greatly after several losses. At the wide receiver position, Jake Norris stepped up as a threat in the Rebels’ jamboree win over Neville.
1st Team Losses: RB Cam Davis
2nd Team Losses: K Jared Blake, DL Garrett Heath
Obviously, not too many voids to fill here. Cam Davis’ production should not be overlooked, but offensive playmakers are all over the place for the Lions. Quarterback Devion Warren is a defensive coordinator’s nightmare with his raw athleticism and decision making as a passer, and he’s surrounded by athletes: Desmond Jones, Jaylen Payne and Vershon Hogg, plus returning ball carriers in Robert Levingston, Gabe Lewis and Kobi Young.
The defensive line is full of returning contributors, as well, such as Tommy James, Sean Tillman and Noah Abney. In short, there’s a lot to like about this year’s Lions.
1st Team Losses: WR Aulontay Rachal, WR Keitavious Walter, OL James Jackson, K Landon Weeks, DL JeKevin Carter, DL Tyler Rivers, Def. MVP Isiah Buggs
2nd Team Losses: OL Kelby Glover, DL Jayvon Taylor, DB Khalil Stinson
The defense and receiving corps are clearly two huge stories for the 2015 Bearcats, and I’ve documented their process in those places recently.
Jeremy Brown is the No. 1 target out there, according the numbers from the jamboree against West Ouachita, but the Bearcats also have the speed on the perimeter to test defenses deep and could develop a deadly playmaker or two that way.