Wildcats set to open 2016 football season this Friday
Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football coach Brett Detering enters his 20th season at the helm of the Wildcats.
“Sometimes I feel it and sometimes I don’t,” Detering said. “It’s different now since I started. There have been a lot of changes, both good and bad.”
The veteran Wildcat coach will attempt to turn around a 4-5 season from last year. A-J saw 15 straight postseason appearances come to an end last year.
“I’ve been pleased with the experience we have to draw on,” Detering said.
A-J is set to open the 2016 season this Friday night at home against West Frankfort.
The big drawback so far this season is getting on the practice field. Constant rain has had an impact on the team’s practices.
“We’re having issues with the weather and we haven’t been able to get out on the field much,” he said. “Most teams are going through the same thing. It’s just very, very muddy.”
Quarterbacking the Wildcats this season will be junior Bryce Osman, 6-2, 185 pounds. He was a starter in the defensive backfield last season. He will be backed up by junior Noah Smith, 6-0, 150 pounds, who will also be a wide receiver.
Other targets downfield Osman will be looking for are a pair of wide receivers in senior Jade Gillis, 6-1, 190 pounds, and junior Arieh Hart, 5-10, 155 pounds.
A-J’s top rusher from last season Alec Gold moved to Kentucky this past summer.
“He could have played and injured an ACL on the first game,” Detering said of the loss. “You’ve got to be able to go with what you’ve got.”
Senior Trenton Turner, 5-9, 210 pounds, and junior Jayce Turner, 5-11, 200 pounds, will split duties at fullback and handle inside linebacker duties as well as defense. They are not related. Detering is impressed with both players running out of the fullback slot.
Seniors Dylan Fox, 5-10, 155 pounds, and Caleb Clover, 5-10, 165 pounds, should be the top running back threats.
The offensive line will be anchored around four returning senior starters in center Aaron Lence, 6-2, 240 pounds, guard Kris Potter, 5-10, 260 pounds, and tackles Shad Turner, 5-11, 215 pounds, and Austin Dillow, 6-2, 210 pounds. Junior Jackson Boyd, 5-10, 180 pounds, will be a back up on the offensive line.
“Most of these guys will turn around and be on the other side of the ball (playing defense),” Detering said.
Another defensive line candidate is senior Nick Jimenez, 6-0, 280 pounds, and at defensive end positions should be a pair of seniors in Keaton Busby, 5-10, 185 pounds, and Nick Harvel, 5-10, 190 pounds.
The assistant coaches this season are Michael Eudy, Kyle Kueker, Jimmy Page, Dave Sullivan, Joel Dallas, Tom Stark and Chase Hargrave.