Baptist Hill head coach Marion Brown is well aware of the talent and experience he lost through graduation from last year's 7-4 squad. Yet, the ever-confident coach feels his program is solid enough to be considered a region title contender every season.
2013: 7-4 overall, 3-2 in Region 6-A
Coach: Marion Brown (7th season)
Returning Starters: 4 (2 offense, 2 defense)
Players to watch: RB Michael Kornickey, LB Dre'shawn Gilliard, QB Corey Fields
"We know we lost a lot of really talented football players but we go into every season feeling the region title comes through Baptist Hill," said Brown, who has a 66-38 record at the school. "It's not to sound cocky or boastful, but we feel like we have brought the program to the point where we are contenders every year. And, we do have a lot of new faces on the field this year but we still expect to compete very well."
The Bobcats are known for their speed at the skill positions and 2014 will be no different. Brown feels senior running back Michael Kornickey and senior receivers Dominique Bryant and Dre'Shawn Gilliard will be among the top performers in the region this fall.
"Those are some guys that have been with our program but they were behind the others. Now is their time to shine and prove what they can do and they are ready to step up," said Brown. "We have great team speed and this group has worked really hard over the summer."
Brown is giving freshman Corey Fields first shot at winning the starting quarterback job.
"He's a mature freshman and he has earned the shot by his performance over the summer," said Brown.
Anchoring the work in the trenches will be guards Jaquan Fowler and Sterling Simmons, tackles Travis Green and Michael Venegas, and center Kyle Barron.
Bryant (end), Gilliard (linebacker) and Kornickey (cornerback) will be key performers on the defense. Keon McFadden and Dajion Gadsden will also be key defenders, according to Brown.
The Bobcats face a tough start to the 2014 season, opening with games at Allendale-Fairfax and at home against Division II-A state champion Hunter-Kinard-Tyler. Brown says the early slate will toughen his young team for the upcoming region schedule.
"We will learn a lot about our team in the first two games, which is good," said Brown. "We want to test these guys early, find out where we are. We like the competition and our kids will be excited to play those types of teams."