What’s new: “We’re pretty young, we don’t return a lot,” Wilson coach Greg Mortier said. “What’s new is, a lot of bodies and a lot of youth. If you look at what we are hoping to look at as our key contributors, there’s a lot of underclassmen that we’re going to expect a lot from.” … There are 29 players on the Class A team’s roster, only nine of which were on last season’s 3-5 team that lost to Brockport in the Section V quarterfinals. … There was one player the Wildcats didn’t expect to replace, Earl English, a Rochester City Athletic Conference All-Star defensive end/running back welcomed back for his senior year. English moved out of state.
Back again: A split of five starters on offense and four defense, including two-way starters. … “We’ve been pretty good on defense,” Mortier said. “We’re going to kind of lean on that. We don’t rest on defense.” … The returning starters include James Cotton, junior, a 6-foot-1-inch, 175-pound, quarterback. This is his (second) season as the quarterback. … Other key players: Tykel Banks, senior, 5-8, 255, defensive lineman/fullback; Jamal McCullough, junior, 6-3, 230, offensive and defensive tackle; Rickey Gamble, 5-10, 155, linebacker/receiver; Duvar Douglass, junior, 5-9, 190, defensive end.
Overheard at camp: “My mindset is just letting off everything on the field and let other teams know that we are ready and here to compete. We lost two middle linebackers, Marvin Appleberry and Isaiah Benjamin, and we also had Earl English move to California, but we have players who came up from JV and returning varsity players who are as good as them. We have a new defensive end from Queens, New York, Duvar (Douglass), he’s very talented, too. My confidence level is, we practice every day together, we practice hard, we’re a team right now and so far, we have a lot of team chemistry. We have a long season ahead of us, and we’re going to compete to our fullest.” — Banks, a third-year starter.
A twist: The Wildcats were below .500, but were competitive in 2015. “The record wasn’t as good as we wanted, but if you look at it, those five losses were by a total of 20 or 21 points,” Mortier said. … Wilson opens the season against Greece Athena, a team considered by some around area high school football to be the team to beat in Class A. “We’re going to be tested right out of the gate, but sometimes that’s a good thing,” Mortier said. “It lets you know where you stand and how far you have to go.”