“I’ve got pretty high expectations,” Wolfpack coach Rick Mullins said bluntly. “I think we’ve got a chance to be pretty good.”
Mullins’ optimism is somewhat guarded, but his team has plenty of reason to look ahead with confidence. The Wolfpack’s offense is built around the Mountain 7 District’s reigning offensive player of the year.
Trenton Adkins, an NCAA Division I prospect, is coming off a season in which he rushed for 1,983 yards and 24 touchdowns on 216 carries. He added 238 yards receiving and caught four touchdown passes.
Only a junior, Adkins has had several collegiate football programs — including Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Penn State, Florida, Memphis and Texas-San Antonio — express interest.
However, Adkins is not concerned about the recruiting interest in him right now. The humble star is focused on helping the Wolfpack win district, region and state championships.
“Everybody’s been working really hard and we’ve got good chemistry,” he said. “I think we have a chance to have a good year.”
With a large and experienced offensive line opening lanes for him, Adkins should have plenty of room to run. The O-line averages 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds.
Linden Deel (6-3, 215) gets the nod at center, and Brayden Mullins (6-2, 250) and Dalton Woods (6-3, 300) man the guard positions; all are seniors. The tackles consist of a combination of junior Andrew Edwards (6-3, 245), senior Hunter Fletcher (6-4, 280) and senior Josh Boyd (5-9, 225).
T.W. Robinson (5-11, 315, sr.) and Lucas Deel (5-10, 278, jr.) also get plenty of time on the line.
Junior Nick Phillips brings plenty of speed to the quarterback position. Phillips ran a leg on the 4x100 relay team during track and field season, and Mullins said he’s impressing on the gridiron as well.
“He’s looked really good throwing the football,” Mullins said.
Phillips’ success putting the ball in the air offers a complement to the ground attack driven by Adkins. Senior Alijah Sproles, junior Kanin Lewis and senior Chase Salyers also figure prominently in the run game.
Leading the receiving corps are senior Timmy Hess, sophomore Zander Boggs, senior Isaac Lockhart, junior Colt Fletcher and senior Austin New.
The Wolfpack’s defense is built around the linebackers: reigning Mountain 7 defensive player of the year Sproles, Salyers and Austin Cook.
The defensive front sees a mix of 10 linemen as part of the rotation. Sophomore Caden Gibson and Woods are at tackle, along with junior Zack Stanley, Deel, Fletcher, Boyd, Mullins and junior Andrew Edwards.
Senior Joe Yates and Fletcher get the nod at defensive end.
Several players could be used in the defensive backfield as well, with the early nods going to Adkins, Phillips, Hess and freshman Cannon Hill.
Ridgeview plays at Chilhowie on Aug. 23 in a preseason benefit game before opening the season at J.I. Burton on Aug. 29.
Aug. 29 at J.I. Burton
Sept. 6 Shelby Valley, Ky.
Sept. 13 at Wise Central
Sept. 20 Gate City
Sept. 27 Lee High
Oct. 11 at Union
Oct. 18 at John Battle
Oct. 25 Abingdon
Nov. 1 at Pikeville, Ky.
Nov. 8 Honaker