25 Teams in 25 Days

Vancleave football expects to contend in Region 8-4A

Vancleave High School football team on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017.
Vancleave High School football team on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. Courtesy Jim Owen Studio

After reaching the Class 4A quarterfinals in 2015, Vancleave experienced a disastrous season last year.

The Bulldogs didn’t get their first win until the eighth game of the season — a 34-9 home win over Bay High to finish 1-9.

Bulldogs coach Lavon Capers sees improvement.

“It wasn’t a result of effort or leadership,” Capers said. “We were extremely young last year. We are still very young, but we have a little bit of experience returning.”

Capers believes the Bulldogs’ turnaround begins with the offensive line, which started mostly sophomores and freshmen last year. The youth across the offensive line led to the Bulldogs’ difficulty in moving the ball.

“The sophomores are looking across the line at seniors, who are fully developed. And, they are looking at the lights and crowds. The seniors are looking at them,” he said.

“It is extremely difficult to move the ball with sophomores and freshmen in the line. They were very good players, but these guys are supposed to be playing JV football. We made a lot of mental mistakes.”

Four of the five offensive line starters and only one senior — Quinton Murphy at left guard — along the front. Juniors Austin Thomley, Zack Overstreet, and Caleb Bicknell fill out the line with sophomore Matthew Mixon occupying the right tackle slot.

Tristan Glass takes over at quarterback, replacing Kenny Goff, who passed for 854 yards and five touchdowns while running for 128 yards and three touchdowns. Glass was the third leading rusher for Vancleave last year with 232 yards.

“He is extremely intelligent and very tough,” Capers said. “He has a good understanding of the offense we want to run.”

Lane Wise, who led the Bulldogs in rushing last year with 309 yards in eight games, moves to B-Back (fullback). Kena Stephens, C.J. Johnson, and Chase Aubry will be at the slotback positions.

Xavier Bass returns to lead the receiving corps. Bass will line up at either tight end or wide receiver. Last year Bass led the team with 21 catches for 397 yards and two scores. Juniors Drake Posey and Cody Bean will also see extensive play at wide receiver.

Capers expects Vancleave will be a pounding, grind-it-out team behind Glass and Wise.

“I feel that we are in a better position offensively than last year,” Capers said. “We’ve been executing the offense every day.”

Defensively, the Bulldogs must find a way to replace David Capers, who had 80 stops in just seven games, including a team-leading eight tackles for loss. Glass led the Bulldogs with 96 total tackles.

However, the defense will be light this year. Freshman noseguard Conner Mallette weighing in as the heaviest lineman at six-feet and 255 pounds. Jacob Miller (5-10, 230) and Collin Wren (5-8, 200), will occupy the defensive end spots. Linebackers Xavier Bass (6-4, 190) and Neal Fuller (5-7, 185) are the largest players behind the line.

“We have some good size offensive linemen that we can put in there in case teams want to run power against us,” Capers said. “This will be one of the fastest defensive teams we’ve had. We are pretty quick on defense. We will do a lot of reading and movement before the snap. We will be faster, so we hope to get a lot of guys to the ball.”

Roster

1 Ashton Tanner

2 Xavier Bass

3 Kelsei Green

4 Corey Migues

5 Kena Stephens

7 Tristan Glass

8 Jeb Wells

9 J West Small S

10 Christian Kell

11 Roy Johnson

12 Jimmy Bates

13 Mason Chelette

14 Carson Paetow

15 Braden Douglas

16 Drake Posey

17 Colby Neely Fr.

18 Sam Wilkerson

19 Austin Aycock

20 Devon Hand

21 Neal Fuller

22 Cody Bean

23 Alec Simmons

24 John Franklin

25 T.J Livingston

26 C.J. Johnson

27 Lane Wise

30 Jacob Willis

31 Kaleb Collins

32 Blaine Carrol

33 Chase Aubry

34 Brandon Payne

35 Trent Cantrell

40 Cade Thrash

42 Josh Grayson

44 Brice Cantrell

48 Calvin Buckley

50 Matthew Shoemake

51 Austin Thomley

52 D.J. Brewer

53 Conner Mallette

54 Quinton Murphy

55 Gabe Garcia

56 Kurt Galo

58 J. Doll

59 Caleb Bicknell

60 Tyler Mccoy

61 Brandon Bonham

62 Decon Rowe

63 Jarret Thompson

64 Mikey Mccoy

65 Zack Overstreet

66 Austin Bangs

67 John Bonham

68 Jacob Miller

69 Ryan Stratton

70 Gauge Mallette

71 Ethan Johnson

72 Gavin Page .

73 Austin Seymour

74 Cameron Green

75 Caleb Buza

76 William Stewart

77 Matthew Mixon

78 Happy Davis

79 Will Parker

80 Tyler Small

81 Austin Roach

82 Ty Aycock

83 Garrison Adkins

84 Steven Culwell

84 Jacob Catchot

85 Garrett Dean

86 Bruce Judd

90 Ben Roberts

99 Collin Wren

Schedule

Aug. 18: at FCAHS

Aug. 25: at West Harrison

Sept. 1: Greene County

Sept. 8: at Long Beach

Sept. 15: Perry Central

Sept. 29: at St. Stanislaus

Oct. 6: Moss Point

Oct. 13: at Bay High

Oct. 20: Pass Christian

Oct. 27: East Central

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