Stars in the spotlight

Tyree Hiliare is a 6-foot-4, 175-pound wide receiver who will provide the Wildcats with a big target on the outside. Not many teams can trot out a wide receiver of Hiliare’s size, and he should be a mismatch against smaller defenders. Last year was his first year playing football and he managed to have a solid impact on the offense. This year, he could go bigger.

Lay of the Land

West Limestone competes in Class 4A, Region 8 with Brooks, Central-Florence, Deshler, Elkmont, Rogers and Wilson. The Wildcats region schedule begins with a home game against Elkmont before traveling to Central for its next game.

West Limestone’s non-region schedule includes rivalry games against Tanner and East Limestone as well as games against Clements and Ardmore.

Head coach

Shelby Davis enters his second season after spending eight seasons as a coordinator at Carroll. He went 3-2 in his first five games as a head coach. The Wildcats then ended the season with five straight losses.

“I came here for a reason. I came here to build a program, not just to coach a team,” Davis said. “In order to build a program, everybody has to be on the same page. There wasn’t enough time to develop those relationships last year.”

Last season

West Limestone finished sixth in their region last season with a record of 1-5. The Wildcats had wins over Tanner, Elkmont and Clements. After scoring 20 or more points three times in the first five games, it failed to reach that mark in the final five games. West Limestone averaged 12.1 points on offense and gave up 24.3 points on defense.

Last three seasons

A 10-2 record and playoff appearance in 2016 was West Limestone’s most successful season since 2016. That team won a first-round playoff game against Madison County before falling to Cherokee County in the second round. West Limestone then went 4-7 and made the playoffs the year after before going 3-7 last season.

Words to grow on

“We had some finger-pointing last year,” Davis said. “Now we have guys encouraging each other. That’s been a big point of emphasis.”

Quarterback

Sophomore CJ Adams will get the chance to show what he can do, replacing Gage McKelvey.

Offense

Size at wide receiver is going to be a big factor for West Limestone. Hiliare and River Helms, who was a key piece for the basketball team, both are over 6-foot-3. Those two can create mismatches for a team that will try to lean on the run game with Dakota Jefferson, Thorne Slaton and Brett Beckwroth carrying the ball.

“It’s always easier when guys can share the workload,” Davis said. “If a guy can come in and get three or four carries, then a guy can come in and get three or four more, that makes it hard on the defense. It’s better for us.”

Defense

Camryn Williams is a key returning player in the secondary. As a sophomore, he had five interceptions, including two in the first game of the season against Tanner. Colton Hobson, Spencer Davis, Corey Robertson, Lucas Waters and Shane James are other returning players.

Must-see games

West Limestone hosts Class 4A runner-up Deshler at home in the second-to-last game of the season. The Wildcats were shut out by Deshler on the road last season. West Limestone’s lone win over Deshler came in 2016.

Final word

“They now know what it takes,” Davis said. “That’s been our motto. It takes what it takes. We’re either going to do what it takes to be successful or we’re not.”

— Matthew Speakman

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