MALVERN: Leopards eye 4A title run

Conference: 7-4A
Coach: Mike Scarbrough
’14 Record: 10-4 (5-2)

The Malvern Leopards made a run for it all in 2014, and came close to playing for it all.

“2014 was a great season for the Leopards,” Coach Mike Scarbrough said. “We ended the season as conference runner-up and made it to the semi-finals of the state championship. As a team last year we rushed for 3,056 yards and 39 touchdowns. We passed for 2,679 yards and 29 touchdowns. We averaged 521 yards per game while scoring 45.5 points per game.”

With several highly productive starters back this fall, the Leopards may be well on their way to 4A state championship game.

Senior Trace Collie returns at quarterback after throwing 29 touchdowns to only seven interceptions last fall. Senior Jamari McCollum is back at running back. The 501 Football Team honoree carried the ball 114 times last year for 724 yards and nine touchdowns. Seniors Derek Womack, Djmore Moore, Amari Reed, Blake Williams, Jordan Deloach and Jace Keeney and junior Dalton Bray will all rotate at receiver. Seniors Kohner Riley, Bo Gray and Austin Owens and juniors Noah Woods, Micha James and Lacedric Ruth will all see time on the offensive line.

“On offense, we feel like we should be able to run the ball effectively with our depth at running back,” Scarbrough said. “With three-year starting quarterback Trace Collie, we feel comfortable with our passing game. We have depth at running back and inside receiver. Our weakness on offense is lack of experience on the offensive line and outside receivers.”

The Leopards are deep on the defensive line. Seniors Wendell Cooper, Darien Smith and Michael Tosch and juniors Kordell Cooper, Austin Wright, Riley Shuffield and Bradley Dickson will all rotate on the defensive line. Seniors Amari Reed and Henri Florence and juniors Damien Blaschke and Brice Freer make up the linebacker corps. The Leopards are overall a little bit younger in the secondary with senior Leo Kemp, juniors Jaquez Lock and Devin Shaw and sophomores Demias Jimerson and Whit Jones.

“On defense, we feel that our speed and depth will be our strength,” Scarbrough said. “Our conference is always tough; there are no weeks off. Each and every week you play against great athletes and coaches.”