The trend of senior-dominated rosters will continue for one more year at Blythewood before the bill comes due for the opening of nearby Westwood High.
The Bengals dressed out 42 seniors last season on the way to a 9-3 season. First-year coach Dan Morgan has more than 30 seniors at his disposal this time around with the idea of keeping the good times rolling.
“It’s somewhat of an unusual situation we’ve had at Blythewood for the past five seasons or so,” said Morgan, who takes over for the departed Reggie Kennedy after serving for five seasons as the Bengals’ defensive coordinator.
“A lot of guys in our program don’t get their shot at a lot of playing time until their senior years. They have experience as backups, and are real motivated to make the most of their increased playing time when the opportunity comes around.”
Morgan fully expects to challenge again for the Region 4-4A championship and an early state playoff home date.
The transition to Morgan as the head coach has been seamless.
“We’re changing some terminology and we have a new offense, but the big plus is I don’t have to learn quickly what a bunch of new players can do, and the players know what to expect from me,” he said.
The Bengals still will be in the shotgun, one-back approach on offense, but they will operate under the so-called Air Raid principals utilized by UCLA and Arizona.
“We want to do everything fast — get off as many plays as possible,” Morgan said.
Senior Javon Smith is moving from receiver to quarterback — a position he’s never played before.
“He’s come a long way since the spring, and he’s emerged as our leader on offense,” Morgan said.
Morgan also said he plans to use senior Zach Alexander and transfer David Isreal at quarterback, freeing Smith to get some time at his old position.
Blythewood will rotate a number of players at the running back and wide receiver spots. The most experienced of the bunch is senior Lynard Jamison, who ran for 230 yards and three touchdowns and caught 13 passes for 218 yards and three scores in a hybrid role a year ago.
Three-year varsity starters Brandon Hein, Jacob Johnson and Justin Davis provide the veteran foundation up front. Hein (5-foot-10, 210, pounds) is back at center, Johnson (5-11, 225) at guard and Davis (5-10, 265) at tackle.
Morgan toyed with the idea of switching to a 4-2-5 base look on defense, but has since decided to stay with the familiar 3-4 alignment.
As is the case on offense, Morgan will employ a lot of different players on defense, especially up front and at linebacker.
Returning starters Terrell Vaughn, Jalen Williams and Aaron Peak are the every-down veterans.
Vaughn (5-11, 220) is a proven playmaker at end and linebacker with 83 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and 17 quarterback hurries on the books last season. Williams (5-11, 218) posted a team-high 102 tackles at inside linebacker.
Peak, who has been offered by Air Force, moves to safety from cornerback after accounting for 50 tackles, 12 pass break-ups and four blocked kicks last season.
|9/30||at South Pointe|
|10/11||at Spring Valley|
|10/18||at Richland NE|