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High school football preview capsules

Manual, Moore, North Bullitt, North Oldham, Oldham County, PRP, St. Xavier, Seneca

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Manual, Moore, North Bullitt, North Oldham, Oldham County, PRP, St. Xavier, Seneca

MANUAL (8-4 in 2014)

Coach: Oliver Lucas (sixth season, 36-23).

Starters back: Offense 6, defense 6.

Class: 6-A, District 3.

Player to watch: Senior quarterback Tim Comstock passed for 1,731 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, completing 52.4 percent of his passes. He also passed for a school-record 471 yards in a 28-21 loss to Male on Oct. 24. Lucas expects even better numbers from Comstock this season. “No one has worked harder than him,” he said. “He has himself in top condition and is throwing the ball well. He doesn’t have to think about everything now. He can just let his athleticism and experience guide him.”

Other top players: RB Reece West (Sr.), RB Andre Teague (Jr.), WR Eric Niemann (Sr.), WR Jaelin Carter (Jr.), OL Joe Gressette (Jr.), DL Derek Dorsey (Sr.), DL Sean Cleasant (Jr.), LB Anthony Kyser (Sr.), CB Bryce Cosby (Jr.), FS Omari Alexander (Sr.).

Outlook: The Crimsons had a solid 2014 campaign but couldn’t get over the hump against Louisville’s other powerhouses, going a combined 0-4 against St. Xavier, Trinity and Male. Manual has plenty of weapons on offense with Comstock, Niemann and Carter leading the passing attack and West and Teague providing a solid 1-2 punch at running back. Lucas preaches defense, and tackles Dorsey (Louisville commit) and Cleasant (Vanderbilt offer) are solid up front. Kyser returns after posting a team-high 92 tackles last year.

-Jason Frakes

Date      Opponent                           Date      Opponent

8/21       CENTRAL                              10/1       *at Butler

8/28       at Fern Creek                     10/9       *ST. XAVIER

9/4         at Seneca                            10/16     *at PRP

9/18       BALLARD                              10/23     *MALE

9/25       WESTERN                            10/30     at Eastern

*-District game

 

MOORE (3-7)

Coach: Carlo Stallings (first season).

Starters back: Offense 5, defense 5.

Class: 3-A, District 3.

Player to watch: Junior wide receiver Russell Vaden (6-3, 185 pounds) was a bright spot for the Mustangs last season with 17 catches for 399 yards and six touchdowns. Stallings compared him to former Ballard and University of Louisville star DeVante Parker, who now is a rookie with the Miami Dolphins. “Russell is tall and fast and athletic and catches the ball really well,” Stallings said.

Other top players: QB Sincere McMurray (So.), RB Jerrick McMurray (Sr.), OL/LB Charles Travis (Sr.), OL Henry Price (So.), LB Terrance Weaver (Sr.).

Outlook: A 1992 Ballard graduate, Stallings replaced Eric Dick as the Mustangs’ head coach. Stallings is a former assistant at Shawnee and Ballard and spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Westport Middle School. Moore dropped from Class 4-A to Class 3-A but joined a tough district headlined by Central and Bardstown. The McMurray brothers lead the offense. Sincere is a dual-threat quarterback, and Jerrick “is not real big but is strong and fast,” Stallings said.

-Jason Frakes

Date      Opponent                           Date      Opponent

8/21       at Southern                        9/25       *THOMAS NELSON

8/28       SHAWNEE                           10/1       *at Central

9/4         FERN CREEK                        10/9       *BARDSTOWN

9/11       at Valley                               10/16     *at Henry County

9/18       IROQUOIS                           10/23     *at Waggener

*-District game

 

NORTH BULLITT (1-10)

Coach: Adam Billings (first season).

Starters back: Offense 5, defense 5.

Class: 5-A, District 3.

Players to watch: Senior Logan James (5-10, 180), moves from quarterback to running back after throwing for 1,041 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushing for 890 yards and 10 more scores in earning all-district honors last season. Meanwhile junior Nate Johnson (5-9, 187) was one of the top wideouts in 5-A last year, making 56 catches for 785 yards and nine TDs.

Other top players: RB/DB Darrius Cannon (Sr.), OL/DL Daniel Hook (Sr.), OL/DL Travis Sparkman (Sr.), WR Daulton Walls (Sr.), QB Andrew Brown (Jr.).

Outlook: Billings, a St. Xavier graduate and former Tigers assistant coach who is originally from Bullitt County, has “a very positive outlook on the season. We hit the ground running. (The) team has really bought into the new scheme and they are definitely raising the bar.” The Eagles will have some playmakers on offense in James, Johnson, Cannon (an all-district returner last season) and Walls, a standout on the school’s very successful baseball team who is back on the gridiron for the first time since his freshman year. North Bullitt looks to make major strides on defense after allowing the most points (551, or 50.1 per game) in 5-A last season.

— Josh Cook

Date      Opponent                           Date      Opponent

8/21       at Woodford County              9/25       *at Bullitt Central

8/28       SOUTHERN                         10/2       *at Oldham County

9/4         at Jeffersontown                   10/9       *at Nelson County

9/11       SHELBY COUNTY               10/16     *BULLITT EAST

9/18       MARION COUNTY            10/23     *SOUTH OLDHAM

*-District game

 

NORTH OLDHAM (10-3)

Coach: Billy Martin (10th season, 65-42).

Starters back: Offense 4, defense 6.

Class: 4-A, District 4.

Player to watch: Senior offensive guard/defensive end Collin Portman (6-0, 210) topped the Mustangs with 128 tackles last season, “from a defensive end position, which is unbelievable,” Martin said. “He had nine or 10 sacks too.”

Other top players: FB/LB Wes Johnson (Sr.), OT/NG Landin Jones (Jr.), QB/DB/P Bryce Webb (Jr.), RB/DB/K Jackson Wine (Jr.), OC Joey Ingemi (Sr.), FB/LB Adam Osborn (Sr.), QB/DB TC Falkner, WR/DB Kyle Fithian (Sr.), WR/ILB John Reitnauer (Sr.).

Outlook: The Mustangs look to bounce back after last year’s heartbreaking, last-second loss to Owensboro in the state semifinals. “I lost some sleep after that,” Martin admitted. “(But the players) have moved on. They’re working hard.” North Oldham will be hard-pressed to replace graduated standout RB Arien Beasley, who accounted for more than 2,000 yards of offense and 35 TDs last year, and WR Matt Clark (441 yards, 8 TDs), so it will do so by committee. Portman and Johnson, who tallied 92 tackles last year despite playing two games with a broken leg, will lead a D that allowed the fewest points (124) in 4-A last season. The Mustangs’ special teams should be solid led by Webb, Wine and Reitnauer, who blocked “five or six PATs and two or three punts,” Martin said. “He’s got a geometry protractor in his head, he knows the right angles.”

—Josh Cook

Date      Opponent                           Date      Opponent

8/21       WESTERN                            9/25       at Frankfort

8/28       at Oldham County           10/2       *SPENCER COUNTY

9/4         at Elizabethtown              10/9       *SHELBY COUNTY

9/11       SOUTH OLDHAM              10/16     *at Collins

9/18       CHRISTIAN ACADEMY    10/23     *at Franklin County

*-District game.

 

OLDHAM COUNTY (3-8)

Coach: Mike Shatzer (second season).

Starters back: Offense 5, defense 7.

Class: 5-A, District 3.

Player to watch: Ammon Harding. The junior takes over for his brother (James, who graduated) at quarterback. “We’ve built our offense around what he does,” Shatzer said. “He’s another running back, basically, and he can throw it, too.”

Other top players: WR Trey Tucker (Jr.), RT/DE Jake Littlefield (Sr.), RB/ILB Spencer Johnson (Sr.), LB/TE Isaiah Kelly (Sr.), OL/DL Ian Fullerton (Sr.).

Outlook: “We have several new players coming up from JV and (are) new to the program (who) have increased our depth and athleticism,” Shatzer said. “It may take time for everyone to get on the same page, but we have high expectations for this season. We have an experienced defense returning and will be young in spots on offense. We have to establish a running game and need to be more consistent on defense.” Tucker (35 catches for 442 and 4 TDs last year) should be Harding’s top target, while Johnson (45 tackles last season) paces the D and Littlefield leads the lines.

— Josh Cook

Date      Opponent                           Date      Opponent

8/21       at Ballard                             10/2       *NORTH BULLITT

8/28       NORTH OLDHAM              10/9       *BULLITT CENTRAL

9/4         SHELBY COUNTY               10/16     *at Nelson County

9/11       at Christian Academy     10/23     *at Bullitt East

9/25       *at South Oldham           10/30     JEFFERSONTOWN

*-District game

 

PLEASURE RIDGE PARK (7-5)

Coach: Jason Hiser (seventh season, 42-30).

Starters back: Offense 5, defense 7.

Class: 6-A, District 3.

Player to watch: Senior Marcel Kilgore (6-1, 245 pounds) ranks among the city’s top linebackers after posting 115 tackles (68 solo) last season. “He runs to the ball extremely well,” Hiser said. Kilgore also will be used on offense, primarily at tight end.

Other top players: RB Montae Robinson (Jr.), RB Kris Adams (Jr.), OL Scott Kittles (Sr.), OL Jake Hughes (Jr.), OL Preston Sullivan (Jr.), DE Jordan Redmon (Sr.), DE Jerimiah Parker (Jr.), LB David Kennison (Jr.), CB Austin Moore (So.), SS Trevion Harrison (Jr.), Arrius Harris (So.).

Outlook: The Panthers lost several playmakers from last season, including quarterback Dru Duckworth, running backs Delvon Dunn and Torrey Moss and wide receiver Malik Walker. Robinson and Adams should give PRP a solid duo in the backfield, and senior Donyell Bronaugh replaces Duckworth at quarterback. Hiser expects Redmon (5-11, 225) to be a leader on defense. The coach said PRP has strong leadership but not much depth. “We don’t have a strong two-deep across the board,” Hiser said. “A few setbacks will have us shuffling guys around.” PRP faces a daunting schedule that includes a three-week stretch against Trinity, St. Xavier and Male.

-Jason Frakes

Date      Opponent                           Date      Opponent

8/21       at Valley                               9/25       *ST. XAVIER

8/28       MEADE COUNTY               10/1       *at Male

9/4         at Doss                                 10/9       *at Butler

9/11       JOHN HARDIN                   10/16     *MANUAL

9/18       at Trinity                              10/30     at Central

 

ST. XAVIER (8-5)

Coach: Will Wolford (third season, 15-10).

Starters back: Offense 1, defense 2.

Class: 6-A, District 3.

Players to watch: Senior linebacker Logan Butler and senior end Ethan Adams are the only returning starters on defense. Butler (6-1, 190 pounds) led the team with 68 tackles (42 solo) last season and has a scholarship offer from Southern Illinois. Adams (6-3, 240) added 17 tackles. “We haven’t blocked those two guys in practice yet,” Wolford said. “Hopefully that shows against our opponents. Otherwise we’re going to be in trouble.”

Other top players: RB John Martinez (Sr.), RB Chase Rowan (Sr.), RB Sam Taylor (Jr.), WR Colin O’Daniel (Sr.), OL Matthew Boeckmann (Sr.), OL Tucker Donlon (Sr.), OL Bryce Perram (Sr.), OL Joseph Fisher (Sr.).

Outlook: With just three starters back, the Tigers are “reloading at almost every position, but not as much as last year,” Wolford said. The coach still hasn’t named a starting quarterback, with seniors Corey Chitwood and Austin Breit and junior Desmond Ridder in the mix. At 6-4 and 185 pounds, the speedy Ridder could be the front-runner. Wolford said the offense could be a bit more wide-open this season behind new coordinator Dave Nurnberg, who joined the program from Nashville (Tenn.) Father Ryan. “The only real differences is that the tight end will be detached (from the line) and we’ll mainly be in the shotgun,” Wolford said.

-Jason Frakes

Date      Opponent                           Date      Opponent

8/28       a-Henry Clay                      10/2       b-Trinity

9/4         BOWLING GREEN             10/9       at Manual

9/11       at Central                            10/16     MALE

9/18       at Highlands                       10/23     BUTLER

9/25       at PRP                                   10/30     ST. XAVIER (OHIO)

*-District game; a-at Lexington Catholic; b-at PJCS

 

SENECA (5-6)

Coach: Ted Leasor (first season).

Starters back: Offense 5, defense 6.

Class: 6-A, District 4.

Player to watch: Coaches expect junior safety DeWayne Flournoy (5-10, 180 pounds) to be a leader on defense. He has drawn comparisons to 2015 Seneca product Aldwin Jackson, who now is a freshman at Western Kentucky. Flournoy returned an interception 14 yards for a touchdown in a 19-2 victory over Doss last season. He’ll also see time on offense at quarterback and wide receiver.

Other top players: QB/WR/DB DeQuantay Smith (Jr.), RB Wendell Stewart (Jr.), RB Kyron Anderson (So.), WR Dason Bowen (Sr.), WR/DB Dayshawn Chaney (Jr.), OL Kyle Rogers (Sr.), OL/DL Tristan Sanders (Sr.), FB/LB Eric Woods (Sr.), DE Aaron Allen (Sr.), DT Mike Sneed (Sr.), LB Jaden Washington (Jr.).

Outlook: The Redhawks lost nearly all of their top playmakers on offense and defense from last season and will be rebuilding under Leasor, a former head coach at Moore, Pleasure Ridge Park and Shawnee. Leasor expects Flournoy, Smith, Chaney and Bowen to be top threats at wide receiver and in the secondary. “We have to get to know our athletes and place them in the proper positions,” Leasor said. “But we have athletes willing to develop a work ethic.”

-Jason Frakes

Date      Opponent                           Date      Opponent

8/21       at Fern Creek                     10/1       *BALLARD

8/28       at Western                         10/9       *JEFFERSONTOWN

9/4         MANUAL                             10/16     *at Trinity

9/11       SOUTHERN                         10/23     *at Eastern

9/18       MALE                                    10/30     at Iroquois

*-District game

* Note: The Courier-Journal will run capsule previews of all Louisville-area schools over the next few days. Here is the remaining schedule:

* Tuesday: Shawnee, Shelby County, South Oldham, Southern, Spencer County, Trinity, Valley, Waggener, Western.

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