Coach: Chris Crabtree
2006 record: 3-7, 0-7
Offensive starters back: 6
Defensive starters back: 8
POUND — Chris Crabtree worked wonders during his three-year tenure as coach at Ervinton High School.
So now, in his first season at Pound, the question clearly is: Can he do the same for the Wildcats?
“I believe if you have high expectations, and work hard, you’ll reach them,” said Crabtree, who led the Rebels to the VHSL Group A, Division 1 playoffs last season.
Crabtree was the first to admit he has his work cut out for him at Pound, where the Wildcats regressed last season after a somewhat productive 2005 campaign in which they finished 4-6.
“It’s going to take a while,” Crabtree said of re-establishing the program. “Right now we are young and inexperienced.”
Gone is two-year starting quarterback Dustin Fleming. Replacing him will be sophomore Devin Dotson. He saw minutes last season, but mostly on defense as a linebacker.
Fullback Chris Hughes will look to soften the load on Dotson. Two years ago, Hughes rushed for almost 500 yards as a sophomore on limited snaps.
“We’re hoping he’ll live up to some high expectations,” Crabtree said.
Caleb Stanley and Jason Powers will be the centerpieces of Crabtree’s double-wing offense, with Charles Johnson sure to see minutes in the backfield as well.
Crabtree has a relatively young crop of receivers, led by lone senior Matt Hollyfield. Michael Campbell (6-foot-1, 165 pounds), Marshall Rose and Nathaniel Mullins all will have chances to impress.
On the offensive line, Jeff Elkins and Tyler Mullins are the only returning starters. Erik Bolling (6-5, 240) started as a freshman, but missed his entire sophomore campaign. Crabtree expects him to make an immediate impact.
“He’s coming back and he’s hungry,” Crabtree said.
Joining them up front will be Jerry Short (6-1, 285) and possibly Daniel Jordan (6-foot, 289).
Defensively, Elkins and Tyler Mullins will slot in on the line, while Bolling is the only certainty at end.
Stanley and Hughes provide experience at linebacker. Cody Mullins and Justin Mullins also see should time there.
Dotson, at safety, is the secondary’s centerpiece. Powers, Hollyfield and Johnson appear in the mix to start at the corners.
“These boys have been through a lot and there’s a lot of things going on but I just don’t feel like that’s a good excuse,” Crabtree said.
“Just because all of that stuff went on last year doesn’t give them an excuse to lie down.”
He added: “I really believe, that with the players we’ve got coming up, that in a couple of years with the type of work ethic we have, we will create some excitement here and surprise some people.”