As spring practices get started around the area, I will be taking a look at each in the Valley Preps Blog. This is the first in the series, which will look at one team per day over the next 17 days.
Brookstone is set to have its spring practices on May 6-9 and May 13-16.
Team name: Brookstone Cougars
2013 record: 8-3, 6-1
How finished in region: Region 4-A champions
Playoff result: Lost 49-33 in first round to First Presbyterian
Key losses: QB Duncan Fletcher (2,024 yards and 17 touchdowns passing; 11 touchdowns rushing); SS/RB Madison McCluskey (90 tackles, 2 INTs, 1,303 yards and 16 touchdowns rushing, 35 receptions for 318 yards and 7 touchdowns); LB Grant Janke (69 tackles, 2 sacks, 9 tackles for loss); WR Drew Lingo (40 receptions for 608 yards and 4 touchdowns); WR/P Tim Kennedy (27 receptions for 424 yards and 5 touchdowns).
Key returnees: FS/K Miller Page, WR Mark McVay, WR/DB Stephen Poydasheff, OL/DL Nick Sargent, OL/DL Phillip Hamric,WR Leye Olubawale, TE/LB Markus Wright, WR Kordell Braxton, LB/RB Jack Raines, RB Sam Ndem, OL/DL Tripp Valentini
My take: Brookstone will be good. I don’t think we doubt that at all. The last time Brookstone didn’t win seven games in a season was all the way back in 2003. It’s a team that reloads, rather than rebuilds.
It will have plenty of questions to answer over the course of spring practice. The biggest, perhaps, is what it will do at quarterback as the senior Fletcher departs after a fantastic season in 2012. Only three passes were thrown by other quarterbacks last season.
Equally important is figuring out what it will do in the rushing game, as it loses leading rusher Madison McCluskey, who was also the team’s best defensive player.
Coach Brad Dehem said that the team has five quarterbacks on the roster going into spring practice and that the competition is 100 percent open. Two of the quarterbacks are new to football, one was a backup and two others played different positions.
The top players in nearly ever statistical category are seniors.
So, it’s not necessarily a question of if players will step up for Brookstone, only who.
Players like Wright (leader in sacks) or McVay (contributor on offense and defense) could certainly help the cause.
Dehem said that he has around 70 on the spring roster, up from the 43 he had last fall. If there is one thing he is confident about as the team begins its practices, there will be competition for playing time. That, in itself, is an enormous advantage.
A lot needs to be decided early on for the Cougars, but if history is any indication, they’ll be in great shape come the fall.
Follow along every day with a look at football teams around the Bi-City area. Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.