“I think (David Crockett and Daniel Boone) are the front-runners, but if we play good we might sneak up on one of those two teams,” said Vikings coach Mike Mays. “With the skill players we have coming back, we have a chance.”
Leading the way is senior quarterback Cole McBrayer.
“He has experience, and I really feel like he had a lot to do with our success last year,” Mays said. “He’s so good with the ball in his hands. He’s really smart and understands the offense. With another year under his belt, he can be even better.”
Another threat is Nolan Wishon, who can catch passes but will be used a lot as a blocker this season.
“He’s more like another tackle, but he can get out in routes,” Mays said. “We will be able to get him the ball. But we feel like he is a nightmare matchup for interior guys.”
East Tennessee State has shown interest in the 6-foot-6, 240-pound senior. Wishon also made a visit to Baylor.
In the backfield, Mays said he expects big things from 6-3, 190-pound junior Jaden Keller, who is a cousin to former Elizabethton standout Ethan Thomas.
“Last year he got his feet underneath him,” Mays said of Keller. “He can run. We’re pretty excited about what he can do from a wingback position.”
Also in the backfield mix are Isaiah Smith, Connor Bailey and Kelvin Coleman.
“We are excited about our running backs,” Mays said.
Jordan Thompson, a 5-7, 210-pound senior, is the only starter back on the offensive line. Ethan Moore is another key player in the trenches.
Leading the way on defense are ends Damian Duff and Jason Dhooghe. Mays said both are quality players.
Also back on defense is all-conference linebacker Bryce Snyder. Bailey and Coleman add to the mix.
Keller is expected to be a key part of the secondary along with senior Trevor Dowdell — “a versatile kid who can run,” according to his coach.
Handling the kicking duties is junior Jacob Craft. Mays said Craft is extremely accurate and has a bright future.
Aug. 23 at Dobyns-Bennett
Sept. 6 at Daniel Boone
Sept. 13 at Virginia High
Sept. 20 Morristown East
Sept. 27 Abingdon
Oct. 4 at Volunteer
Oct. 11 Cocke County
Oct. 18 at David Crockett
Oct. 25 Cherokee
Nov. 1 Sullivan South