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Wildcats a little older, a little wiser

By Zack Huffman

zhuffman@news-daily.com

The bad news is Lovejoy suffered through a 3-7 season in 2008. The good news is the Wildcats very few players to graduation, meaning Lovejoy will return with a loaded roster, that still has youth, but now also has experience.

According to coach Al Hughes, the most important thing that he wanted to accomplish during spring training was continue building what began last season with a very young roster, while helping his returning group to further gel as a team.

"It's been great. we had a great spring," he said. "We feel real good about where we're going."

Rising junior Vic Hardison will shore up the offense behind center, once again. Receivers Jevon Watson, David Smith and Christian Catchings will return to give Hardison a variety of passing options.

Rising sophomores Rico McWilliams and Brandon Hope return to running back positions.

On defense, Hondo Carter and Robert Smith will command from linebacker, while David Washington, D'Ante Ridgeway and Josh Walker hold down the defensive line.

The largest hole left by graduating seniors is on the line, with offensive linemen Andre Harris, Ryan Freeman and Tristan Shelton moving on, along with defensive lineman Deangelo Lucus.

Defensive backs Punch Yancey and Lamarcus Hough will also need to be replaced.

Despite the hits on the offensive line, Hughes is not too worried about the line of securing the line of scrimmage.

"I think we're going to be fine," he said. "We did lose three, but two kids we got coming back are outstanding players."

CJ Mack and Lamont Hardy will return to the offensive line. Hardy, who will be a junior next fall is already receiving scholarship offers, according to Hughes.

Talk of scholarships is nothing new for Lovejoy, as Hughes seldom fails at sending players to college.

Just last season, Hughes had four players sign scholarships.

"We've tried to give these kids the opportunity to continue playing," he said. "Ninety-two play at the next level right now."