ELKMONT — There aren’t many familiar faces on either side of the ball at Elkmont High this season.
Just five starters return from the 2011 team that went 7-5 and reached the second round of the Class 3A playoffs a year after having its three-year postseason run snapped.
“It’s really important as far as we just needed to get ourselves back to a positive way of thinking,” second-year Elkmont coach Sean Holt said of last season. “We had a good strong senior class last year , and they had the mindset to get back to the playoffs.
“Now we are a really young team, and what they see now is that this is how you do things right; that’s what kind of work it takes to get there.”
On offense, Elkmonst must replace quarterback Hayden Huseth and receiver Cole Glass, who was named to The Decatur Daily’s Class 1A-3A all-area team last season. Holt said the Red Devils are working several kids at running back, and that the offensive line will be young.
“We are looking at a couple of kids for quarterback, senior Bryant Wales and sophomore Jared Bailey,” Holt said. “One of them has to take over the reins and run the show.”
Even though Elkmont will field a young team, Wales said he’s optimistic the Red Devils can build on last year’s success.
“We’re real aggressive and good up front,” Wales said. “Our backs and receivers are learning quick. We’ll be young, but fast.”
Defensively, nine starters will have to be replaced on a unit that held six opponents to 14 points or less in 2011.
The Red Devils’ 40-man roster features a mix of several seniors who are back after not playing last year or who are new to the program.
“We had more than that in the spring,” Holt said of the roster size. “During our workouts this summer we expected a lot, but a few of them didn’t make it, but that’s OK. The ones that are here, it goes back to attitude. They worked hard and they want to be here.”
Elkmont will face a pair of new challenges in Region 8. Fourth-ranked Madison Academy, which beat the Red Devils 42-0 in the second round of last year’s playoffs, and Deshler — ranked No. 2 on the Alabama Sports Writers Associations Class 3A poll — are to set to join the region.
Defending region champion Lauderdale County returns, while second-place Sheffield moved to Class 2A and Rogers moved to Class 4A.
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