MOUNTAIN PINE: Ground game key for Red Devils

Classification: 5-2A
Coach: Joel Frazier
Last Season: 2-8 (2-5)

After a year characterized by injuries and setbacks, the Mountain Pine Red Devils are choosing to rise above their circumstances.

“We really struggled because we played most of the season with only 15-18 healthy kids a game,” Coach Joel Frazier said. “We don’t have a lot of depth, so we are going to have to make up for it with a lot of hard work on the kids’ part.”

Due to lack of numbers, the team’s strategy is to be primarily a running offense, maintaining possession of the ball while giving them better control of the clock. Senior Nick Oliveira (5-8, 170) looks to take over the ground game at running back. Junior Lelynn Gannon (5-11, 225) returns up front on the offensive line.

Defensively, the Red Devils plan to attack. Senior Seth Perry (5-9, 215) leads in the middle at linebacker.

“We don’t really have the size to play other than to put a lot of people in the box. We need to outnumber the offense there,” said Frazier. “But mainly, we have got to stay healthy.”

Due to a conference of strong teams, Mountain Pine is anticipating a year of competitive games.

“Magnet Cove and Mount Ida are full of tradition,” Frazier said. “Conway Christian is developing their program and I feel will take a big step forward this season. Plus, Bigelow was a top 15 team last year, so they will be competitive.

“Our league may not produce a state champion, but we will have some great games.”