Prep Football: Thomasville opens with stiff test
Thomasville High School rarely opens the season with the cakewalk many teams face.
Last season, the Bulldogs were beaten 47-20 by North Davidson in Week 1. Once again, they will tussle with the Black Knights to begin the 2013 campaign. Fortunately for Thomasville, its 4-A counterpart graduates a slew of its roster from a year ago.
Senior Ike Marsh will return to lead the offense and play multiple positions after primarily staring at quarterback last season. He will share duties as signal caller with sophomore Jalen Jenkins.
"It's too early to tell," assistant coach Dickie Cline said of how his team will gel. "There are so many new faces. Ike has the most experience and we plan on utilizing him in multiple places. The others we think have the potential to develop into pretty good players."
One of those players is Kharice Wilder, a senior offensive lineman whose responsibilities Friday will include trying to thwart one of the best players in the state. Shy Tuttle, a 300-pound defensive lineman for North, will be the man in the middle Thomasville must keep out of the backfield in order to have a chance to spring the upset.
"We have to put a body on them and block him good so hopefully he doesn't get a whole bunch of tackles on us," Wilder said.
On the other side of the ball, free safety Hakeem Davis will spearhead a defense tasked with slowing down the always-explosive Black Knight offense.
"They like throwing the ball, so we have to press their wide receivers and put pressure on their quarterback," said Davis.
For the Bulldogs, it is a simple formula offensively. A very old-fashioned, hard-nosed Cline intends to establish the run and pound teams into submission. In the early portion of a daunting schedule, that could prove immensely difficult.
"The bottom line is moving the chains and holding onto the football. It's not about whatever the trend is," Cline said of the popularized spread offense. "With Marsh, we know going in that he is a good runner. Jenkins is also a capable runner. Ike is a top-notch receiver and tailback. We don't have that big stud power-type running back, but we've got good running backs. We don't want to wear their tails off like we've done in the past."
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or firstname.lastname@example.org.