Blackwell posted a sub-.500 record for the first time in three seasons a year ago, losing all three games in district play after a 4-3 start. To get back to their winning ways in 2011, theâ€™ Hornets must rely exclusively on players with limited or no varsity experience.
Ten of the players on the roster are either freshmen or sophomores, while the other four are juniors. Five seniors who earned all-dis-trict recognition this past season have graduated.
But head coach Nathan Hayes, who has a 23-18 re-cord in four years at Black-well, is optimistic about his teamâ€™s chances. â€śWe know that weâ€™re young and we feel like our best years are in the future,â€ť he said, â€śbut weâ€™ll still try to compete for a district championship. If we stay healthy, we know we can do it.
â€śOne thing we know,â€ť Hayes continued, â€śis that we definitely donâ€™t want to go 0-3 in district again. We have a great bunch of kids. Eight of them have been playing together since junior high and they work well together. But we need some guys to step up and take leadership roles.â€ť
Sophomores Ethan And-rews (140) and Mason Magness (135) are battling at quarterback along with junior Gabriel Rios (150). The running backs are Jayden Jones (140) and Kaleb Edwards (140), with Magness, Mark Monroe (155) and Cody Shamblin (135) at end and Ted Cham-bliss (140) at center. Mon-roe and Shamblin are jun-iors while the others are sophomores. The other players competing for a position are Bennie Wester (110) and Andrew Fields (150) at run-ning back, Chase Sorrells (145), Harrison Gott (150) and Riley Meyer (170) at end and Matthew Meyer (170)) at center.
On defense, Shamblin, Chambliss and Monroe are competing for the two end spots. Edwards, Chambliss and Andrews are competing at cornerback, with Jones at middle linebacker and Magness at safety. Also competing for a spot are Sorrells at cornerback, Gott and Riley Meyer at defensive end, Wester at safety and Matthew Meyer, Rios and Fields at linebacker.
â€śThe kids are really work-ing hard and being positive,â€ť Hayes said. â€śAnd thatâ€™s all we can ask.â€ť