Inexperienced offensive line, defense question marks as Haughton heads into summer program
Haughton coach Jason Brotherton was disappointed his team wasn’t able to have a scrimmage to wrap up spring practice, but he believes the Bucs got the work in they needed.
Haughton was supposed to scrimmage Benton, but it was cancelled because of poor field conditions caused by heavy rain the day before.Two areas of concern during spring practice were the offensive line and defense. Haughton returns only two starters on the line, Brennan Bockhaus and Brian Woods. In an email, Brotherton said Knoa Reid and Dakota Ahlstrom had good springs and could fill the holes there.
Defensively, Haughton returns only four starters, including cornerbacks Greg Phil and Mario Cook. Two-year starter Harrison Voigt will move back to defensive end where he’ll be joined by newcomers Trenton Seets and Khaylon Chapple as down linemen.
Returning starter DJ Monroe will be joined by newcomers Gavin Roe, Riley Wallis and Reid Roman in the linebacking corps. Safeties Blake Nyswanger and Keyangelo Thomas are both new. Offensively, Brotherton said he expects receiver Emile Cola to have a big year after a solid 2016 season.
Receiver Kynan Hayes also returns and could see some action at running back.
Sophomores Triston Sweeney and Keyshawn Davis both had very good springs, Brotherton said, and will likely be the other two starters at receiver. Jonathan Sewell, Ryker St. John and Kason Green could also rotate in.
Lavonta Gipson returns as the Bucs’ featured running back. He got off to a great start last season before a knee injury sidelined him for the final four games. Gipson is also an experienced linebacker and could be used there some.
Despite the departure of receiver Josh Lister, the Class 5A 100-meter champ, to Navarro College, the Bucs will have plenty of speed. Cola, Hayes and Gipson ran with Lister on the Bucs’ state champion 4X100 relay team.
Cameron Townsend is the leader to replace Pryce Curry as the starting quarterback but faces some competition from Zander Moore. “Zander Moore had a great spring,” Brotherton said. CJ McWilliams, a rising sophomore, could also be in the mix as he learns more of the offense.
Newcomer Korbin Schmidt will take over placekicking and punting duties.
Haughton is coming off a 5-5 regular season in Brotherton’s first year as head coach. The Bucs lost to John Ehret in the first round of the playoffs.
With summer workouts on the horizon, Brotherton is excited about what the 2017 season might hold. “We have lots of young players who will be starting at this level for the first time, so there will be plenty of mistakes and growing pains,” he said. “I think we would start five or six sophomores if we played today. In the league we play in, that is scary. With that being said they are all good players and we are excited about the potential that they have.”
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com