Wildcats Look to Dominate Again in 2012
With a returning coaching staff including head coach Jackie Hayes, Lee Page, John B. Dew IV, Gerald Reeves, Vontrey Sellers, Jason Gunter, Robbie Brown, Allen McLaurin, Jamie Norris, Marty McIntyre, Famon Whitfield, and Kevin Roller.
Also returning are 12 starters, six on offense and six on defense, including running back Jabo Lee and offensive tackles Bryce King and D.J. Park. King and Park have both verbally committed to play for the University of South Carolina in 2013, while Lee has committed to East Carolina. Lee had 1,908 all-purpose yards and 29 touchdowns in the 2011 season.
A total of 60 players have turned out for practices, with 35 returning and 25 new, but the Wildcats were without a kicker after star kicker Carlos Trejo graduated. Prior to Dillon’s playoff game with Swansea, Trejo had hit 68 out of 71 extra point attempts and had a 36-yard field goal to his credit.
“Our kicking game will definitely be a weakness,” Hayes said. Tara Grimsley filled the role in recent practices after the player who’d be slated to fill the spot was unable to return.
But despite their winning record, Hayes says the season will still be challenging. Much of the schedule remains the same as last year, and the realignment left Region 8-2A unaffected. Lake City is the only team joining the schedule that the Wildcats haven’t faced in recent years.
Perhaps the most exciting game of the 2012 season will be the first one for the Wildcats: a rematch with Central, the first official meeting between the two teams since the 2010 state championship game. Class AA split into two divisions before the start of the 2011 season, insuring that the two teams wouldn’t face each other again for the state title any time soon, though they did face off in a scrimmage in the 2011 preseason. “Everyone one of them will be challenging,” Hayes said, “but it’s going to be a big game against Central.”
The Wildcats get a little more practice in this week as they appear in two football jamborees. Tonight they face Georgetown at 8:00 p.m. in the Lake View Jamboree, and on Friday they’ll face Hartsville in the Dennis Miller Jamboree of Champions at McAlpine Stadium in Marlboro.
The Wildcats open the regular season when they host Central on Friday, August 17, at 7:30 p.m.
(Photos by Johnnie Daniels/THE DILLON HERALD. Click images below to view at full size!)