Nickname: Blue Devils
Coach: David Scammell
2006 record: 7-4, 4-1
Offensive starters back: 6
Defensive starters back: 5
CASTLEWOOD — David Scammell has had to wrestle with several key questions heading into this season.
Who will fill the vacancies along the offensive line? How will the young secondary hold up? Will this year’s team still be fresh and healthy at the end of the season?
But among all the questions, Scammell has at least one answer.
When it comes to replacing his standout running back, Scammell plans on keeping it all in the family.
“How do you replace a a guy like Matt Phillips?” Scammell asked. “With his brother.”
Ryan Phillips, a 5- foot-9, 210-pound junior, is hoping to fill his big brother’s shoes when Castlewood kicks off the 2007 season.
Ryan Phillips is just one of several young players hoping to fill voids from a team that made the playoffs a year ago.
“We’re young, but I feel like we’re going to be OK,” Scammell said. “There were some things last year I had to tell them, but not this year — they just go out there and do it.”
The most glaring weakness will be along the offensive line. The Blue Devils lost all but one starter up front, so the unit will have to come together in a hurry this fall.
On the bright side, the position players should be solid. Along with Phillips, who seems primed to make a big impact, junior Corey Davis and senior Shane McCall return in the backfield.
Davis (6-1, 190) has been the starting quarterback since he was a freshman. While he struggled in his first varsity season, Davis bounced back last year and led the Blue Devils to a 7-3 regular- season mark.
McCall also has seen plenty of action and will help provide some leadership.
Meanwhile, seniors Aaron Woods (5-10, 175) and Brad Robinson (6-foot, 180) are back at the receiver slots while junior Casey Phillips (5-10, 175) returns to his starting position at tight end.
Despite heavy losses in the defensive backfield, Scammell is expecting big things from his defense.
“I think our defense is going to improve,” he said. “We have to replace our secondary, but we have some guys who have some experience.”
Ryan Phillips will also try to replace his brother at defensive end while Woods steps into the defensive backfield along with junior Eric Maxfield (5-10, 150) and freshman Abe Fields (6-foot, 180).
Davis, McCall and Casey Phillips will most likely be the linebackers.
Another thing working in Castlewood’s favor is the schedule.
A 10-game stretch to close out the regular season sent the Blue Devils stumbling into the playoffs.
Scammell said injuries and fatigue had a lot to do with his team dropping three of its final four games.
“We have two open weeks in the middle of our season this year,” he said.
If everything falls into place, Scammell hopes his team is playing Coeburn with a district title on the line on the last weekend of the season.
“If the stars are aligned, I think we’ll make a run at the district championship,” he said.