Kathleen has been in a bit of a rut since going 9-2 in 2015. The Red Devils have been hovering around .500 the past three seasons, either at .500 or a game above or a game below.
Last season in its first under Anthony Troutman, Kathleen finished 6-5 but its dramatic last-minute victory over Winter Haven proved to be a key win that allowed the Red Devils to make the playoffs.
Kathleen is a big unknown heading into the 2019 season. The Red Devils took a hit because of graduation and players who transferred, so they'll be depending on a lot of new players. Inexperience could be an issue, at least early in the season.
The Red Devils will have a lot of new faces on offense, but Troutman expects to be able to run the ball.
Sophomore Jordan Gant is an up-and-coming player who will be an impact player at running back. He's athletic and Troutman will move him around to find ways to get him the ball in the open field. Albert Callaway will also see time in the backfield.
Will McDonald started at quarterback last year and threw for 331 yards and five touchdowns. He is expected to play wide receiver this year but will also see time at quarterback. For now, freshman Shadarian Harrison and sophomore Michael Ellington are battling it out for the starting job.
“They need to understand how to distribute the ball but also use their athleticism at times as well,” Troutman said.
How much time McDonald plays at other positions will depend how well the young quarterbacks develop.
Dakota Crawford will anchor the offensive line and will play either center or guard. Sophomore Jeremiah Jackson is solid.
“We'll be a lot better up front than we've been in the past and than a lot of people expect us to be,” Troutman said.
The Red Devils will be athletic defensively but head into the fall needing to see where some players fit best.
Danny Street is the defensive leader at middle linebacker.
“He's a high-energy player,” Troutman said. “He moves well side to side. He likes to get physical. He's a smart player as well.”
The defensive secondary will be athletic with R.J. Copeland, Deldrick Ray and track star Javell Brown. McDonald also could see time in the secondary.
The Red Devils are a big unknown heading into the season as they're depending on a lot of new players to make plays. If the young players jell quickly, they could surprise teams.