Experience will guide the way for Bell County this football season. The Bobcats are returning their starting quarterback, four starting offensive and defensive linemen as well as several players at the skill positions.
Coach Wayne Mills said having four of the five starting linemen is very important. The only starter on the line the team lost was Hunter Hurst.
“I think us having four of five starters back gives us confidence,” said Mills. “Those kids have played a couple of years together and they know each other. We’re excited about that because it gives us a good base to build everything around.”
In addition to the offensive line, Bell County will be returning what is basically a four-year starter in quarterback Peyton Collett. He received a large amount of playing time as a freshman due to injuries and has remained in the role for the majority of his high school career.
“We have a lot of confidence in him,” said Mills. “He’s throwing the ball good right now, and we’ve got some kids that can go out and catch it.”
The coach said Collett has the green light. He said he feels the quarterback knows the playbook inside and out.
“He’s not going to see anything that surprises him because he’s been to battle for us,” said Mills.
The Bobcats will have some holes to fill as well. The team lost Evan Brock, Austin Caldwell, Dylan Cox, Cole Frazier, Hayden Gilbert, Justin Green and Devon Miller. Each player saw significant playing time on the field.
“Every year it seems like we lose somebody,” said Mills. “With the kids we did lose, they were great football players.”
With that said, Mills explained the players have a “next man up” mentality.
“Somebody is always waiting in the balance to step up. That has always been the desire of the Bell County kids,” said Mills. “They can’t wait for their turn to show what they can do.”
With the Bobcats losing seven key players to graduation, depth is one of the important issues the team faces.
“We feel like our starters are pretty good, but we know with football injuries do occur,” said Mills. “Our whole thing is to try and build depth, so when injuries do occur we don’t drop off.”
The Bobcats are known for their run first mentality on offense. Last year, teams saw Bell County spread the ball out at times. Mills believes his team will continue being versatile this year.
“Teams that are stacking the box, I think we can spread it out and move the football,” said the coach. “We are going to be very versatile with our offense.”
Last season, Bell County advanced to the second round of the playoffs before losing to Louisville Central 21-7. To advance even further into the playoffs, Mills believes a win against Corbin could have a major impact.
“The biggest thing is us and Corbin,” said Mills. “I feel like in our district, it’s going to come down to us and Corbin. We’ve been fortunate to beat them the last several years, and they got us last year. We just have to get back and take care of business in our district.”
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN