Red Devils reload
Class 1A, Region 3
Coach Brent Hubbert (37-11 in four seasons at Maplesville)
Last year 9-0 regular season, 7-0 region, lost to Sweet Water in semifinal playoffs
Key losses QB Marcus Wilson, RB Marvin Morton, WR Nick Andrews, G Byron Goodwin, C Robert Holloway, DT Darius Stone, DT Vic Walls, DE Regis Laister, LB Brad Pike, S Brian Frith
9/12 at Sunshine*
9/19 at John Essex*
10/10 at Akron*
10/17 A.L. Johnson*
10/24 at Holy Spirit*
10/31 American Christian
* region game
Key game Linden. This could be the toughest game in a tough new region for Maplesville. Also, the Red Devils knocked Linden out of the playoffs last year.
Key player Matt Hamner, quarterback. With only two starters back on defense, Maplesville will have to score a lot of points this year. In coach Brent Hubbert’s offense, much of that responsibility falls on the quarterback.
Gone are nine defensive starters, many which also played crucial roles on the offensive side of the ball. No more Nick Andrews, Mr. Do-It-All. No more Marcus Wilson, who earned the Advertiser’s 2007 Player of the Year honors. No more Brad Pike, the heart and soul of the Red Devils.
So, no deep playoff run, right? If you think that, don’t tell coach Brent Hubbert and his Red Devils. Despite the losses, Maplesville should be a good team once again. Good enough to make it three consecutive trips to the semifinal round of the Class 1A state playoffs? That will depend on how a large group of first-time starters perform. Fortunately, most of them boast a great deal of experience because of the amount of playing time they saw while the Red Devils were outscoring their opponents 615-180, even including a playoff loss.
“This time, it’ll be 0-0 when they play,” Hubbert said.
Hubbert will likely turn to sophomore Matt Hamner to
run his spread offense with senior Chris Reeves as the backup. Hubbert said he has been happy with the progres-
sion of Hamner, who grew to 6’4” over the summer.
“That brings a lot to the spread,” Hubbert said.
Maplesville’s plan is running back by committee.
“Right now, Hunter McCay is the chairman of that com-
mittee,” Hubbert said.
Along with the sophomore McCay, freshman Chris Bailey, senior Kuwan
Barnes (a transfer from Jess Lanier) and freshman Cameron Morrow will all see time. Hubbert said the four are all about equal in ability, and a rotation will allow the team to have fresh legs in the game at all times.
Junior Brian Bailey’s leadership has caught up with his
athletic ability, Hubbert said. A youngster in a group of veterans a year ago, Bailey has now taken charge of a group that
includes fellow juniors Kyle Clemmons, Romeo Laister and Josh Talley and sophomores Blake Crumpton and James Madsen.
Left tackle Dylan Wallace (a sophomore), left guard Casey Atcheson (sophomore), center Blane Fuller (junior), right
guard Justin Howell (senior) and right tackle Daniel Davenport (senior) all started last season. Throw
in top reserve Matthew Harrison (“We feel like we have six starters,” Hubbert said), and it’s obvious why Maplesville’s coach thinks his offensive front will be a team strength. The group took top honors in three different competitions over the summer. A competition at Susan Moore High School featured seven other teams, and one at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp at Tennessee Tech featured 17 other groups.
“They’ve had a real good offseason,” Hubbert said. “We’re looking for them to give us a lot of leadership.”
Davenport, Howell and Wallace will all move across
the line of scrimmage to man the defensive front as well as the offensive one. Junior transfer Dominik Wilson is the likely
starter at one defensive end spot.
Senior Jacob Little is the top
returning tackler from last year’s defense. Brian Bailey is also a returning starter. Atcheson leads the
campaign to start at the other linebacking position.
Chris Bailey and Romeo Laister are likely starters at the corner positions. Sophomore Darrell Goodwin and Morrow are the top candidates at the safety spots.
Atcheson was a part-time kicker last year and will likely handle the duties full-time this year. He will be pushed by Germany native and former soccer player Patrick Alteena, a junior. Brian Bailey will handle the punting duties, and Maplesville’s stable of running backs, receivers and defensive backs will share the kick return load.