High returning starter numbers, character on Wildcats this year.
The returning roster numbers are high and, according to head coach Jim Wolfe, the team character is even higher for the Cuba High School football squad this season.
The Wildcats enter this fall with nine starters back on each side of the ball, trying to improve on last season’s 2-8 record.
“We had a great summer; great attendance,” said Wolfe, entering his seventh season as Wildcat head coach. “And it’s the highest character team I’ve had since I’ve been here. That alone made the summer and preseason a breeze.”
Keying the Cuba option offense is senior quarterback Nick Lemons. Lemons rushed for around 1,300 yards as QB last season. Also back in the Wildcat backfield is junior running back Dayton Killeen while the tight ends are junior Jackson Mitchell - also the team’s backup QB - and senior Devin Lea and wideouts sophomore Lucas Davenport, junior Chase Burlage and freshman Levi Mitchell.
Four of the five starters on the offensive line return, including senior center Kenny Highley, senior tackles Jacob Brooks and Dakota Schroeder and senior guard Brian Moore. The other starter at guard figures to be one of two freshmen - Gage Schrader or Josh Elrod.
Other receivers expected to help out are freshmen Garrett Schroyer and Jared Priest.
Defensive Cuba figures to use a 4-3 base scheme.
In the front line rotation includes Brooks, Moore, Schroeder, Highley, Schrader and Elrod while linebackers include Jackson Mitchell, Lea and senior Gage Kline.
In the secondary are Lemons and Killeen at cornerback and Davenport, Levi Mitchell and Burlage at safety. Others expected to make defensive contributions are Schroyer at safety and senior lineman-linebacker C.J. Bland.
“We’ve got to throw the ball better and we’ve worked hard on that,” Wolfe said. “We need other guys to make plays. I think our offensive line is a year older, stronger and smarter and that makes it easier for your skill guys to do their job. It’s the biggest line we’ve had since I’ve been here.
“Defensively we have some really physical kids up front. And behind them we’ve got some kids who can run. As long as the kids stay focused on fundamentals and play hard, we’ll be all right.”
WILDCAT NOTES: Cuba will compete in the Hermann Jamboree on Friday, starting at 7 p.m.
Cuba's 2014 schedule: Aug. 22 St. James, 7 p.m.
Aug. 29 at Hermann, 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 Owensville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 Windsor Imperial, 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Brentwood, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 at Liberty (in Wentzville), 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Lincoln, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 Father Tolton, 7 p.m.
Oct 18 at Hogan Prep, 2 p.m.
Oct. 24 1st rd of district (tba)