Team name: Kendrick Cherokees
2012 record: 5-6, 5-3 Region 5-AA
How finished in region: Fourth
Playoff result: Lost 42-8 in first round to Jefferson
Key losses: RB Jamar Comar, WR Dover Coppins
Key returnees: LB Marvin Lewis, LB Emmanuel Brown
My take: Last year, Kendrick took steps in the right direction. In 2013, it will try to turn those into giant strides.
The Cherokees ended a 13-season playoff drought last season. Even though they didnt win a game in the playoffs (they were matched up in the first round with the eventual state champs), the improvement in the team was evident.
They played well in region, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. As it turns out, the Cherokees return their two biggest contributors on defense in Lewis and Brown, who combined for 203 tackles, nine interceptions and 15 sacks. Not bad.
Theyll really count on their defense once again as their biggest offensive threats graduated.
Like so many other teams in the area, the key for Kendrick in the spring, summer and fall is to take the obvious improvements from last season and turn them into more consistent facets of their play. In order to take the next step, Kendrick needs to take what it does so well in five or six games and stretch it across the length of a season.
That comes from constant repetition and commitment in the offseason.
Personally, I really believe Kendrick will continue to grow heading into 2013. Sure, it will miss a few of its players, but the remaining presence in the defensive front seven will make a huge difference. Depending on how a few other teams progress (Spencer among them), the Cherokees could once again contend for a playoff spot next season.
Follow along every day for a look at football teams around the Bi-City area. Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.
April 29: Brookstone
April 30: Calvary Christian
May 1: Carver
May 2: Central
May 3: Chattahoochee County
May 4: Columbus
May 5: Harris County
May 6: Glenwood
May 7: Hardaway
May 8: Jordan