The J.F. Shields team, with their 0-2 record, have played the same two teams as McIntosh this season. They have not fared as well with a loss to Fruitdale (60-6) and Frisco City (18-0).
In year two of Larry Boykin's tenure at McIntosh High School, the Demons hope to at least match last season's 8-3 record. The summer saw around 15-16 players for workouts, but the Demons have seen the roster jump to 33.
"I have been disappointed, especially early in the year when we started practice, with the attendance," Demon coach Larry Boykin said.
"When the players did show up, they would take a day off here or there, so we never could get together as a unit. So that makes things hard to try to find your starters. It also makes it impossible for them to be productive practicing one day then missing two. It has been an ongoing problem down here for a long time."
"When you don't have very many players it is almost impossible to kick someone off the team. Once school got started, we started to get more players out and they begin to come to practice on a regular basis. I think the high price of fuel and transportation could be the reason for some of it."
"I think the players are a lot more comfortable in year two. They are getting used to my type of discipline. I demand a lot out of my players. Not just on the football field, but in the community as well as in the classroom. I stress those things. I think we are going to see a big change in the character at McIntosh."
It's well known around the area that Larry Boykin likes to run the ball, and that is no different in 2008. McIntosh has good speed in the backfield with Buck Thomas, Cortez Smith and Josh Nichols along with athletic quarterbacks Jerome Haley and G'Juan Land. That is a dangerous combination for opposing defenses.
Boykin's squad returns 11 starters (six on offense, five on defense) including a plethora of talented skill players like Buck Thomas (4.4, 40), Cortez Thomas and Josh Nichols (4.6. 40). If there is one thing the '08 Demons possess, it is speed.
"We are still going to be a run-oriented offense," Boykin said. "We have good speed in the backfield with Buck, Josh and Cortez. They are all interchangeable. They are capable of running the ball and blocking."
Michael Bolton, starting quarterback in 2007, elected to not play football for the Demons this fall. That leaves Jerome Haley and G'Juan Land to handle duties under center."
Boykin said Haley handles the option a little better although Land has the stronger arm and is the bigger of the two. Both quarterbacks should play giving MHS a formidable option at quarterback.
"It is a hard decision to make between Jerome and G'Juan," Boykin commented. "Jerome Haley is a really smart kid. He has a 3.7 or 3.8 GPA. He is basically an option QB?and can make the long passes. He has been one of my most consistent players, so we are not going to throw him to the wayside."
Kyle Adams and Jeffery Young are working as backups.
The Demons have some serious speed in the backfield with Buck Thomas, Josh Nichols and Cortez Thomas. Robert Weaver is working at fullback.
"Robert started for us at fullback last year until he quit the team. He came back out this spring and is our best blocker," Boykin said.
Kyle Adams is a starter at wideout along with Haley when he is not at quarterback. LaDarrison Lewis and Cortez Thomas are both working at tight end.
Eighth grader Damion Davenport is starting at center. Ludie Reed and Dell Moore are working as the guards while Josh Brown and Lonnie Weaver are at tackle. Blake Coates is also in the mix for playing time.
"Our weakness on offense is the offensive line," Boykin said.
The defense returns five starters in Lonnie Weaver, Cortez Thomas, Ludie Reed, Buck Thomas and Josh Nichols. The unit does not have a lot of size, but again is blessed with an abundance of speed.
"We are small, but extremely fast and extremely quick," Boykin added. "The problem is not having any consistency in our positions. They are so quick they all want to go to the tackle, so they give up containment."
"The defensive backs want to come up and make tackles so they give up a bomb. We are trying to get our discipline level up so the guys will just play their position."
B.J Weaver, Blake Coates and Lonnie Weaver are all working at defensive tackle for the Demons while Aaron Reed, Everette Horne, LaDarrison Lewis and Shaquille Law are at the ends."
This is a talented group of players, but they lack any real size like last year's mammoth tackle Tez Reed possessed.
Boykin voiced a possible weakness, "One of my concerns right now is pass rush. We aren't getting any pressure unless we blitz. The guys are getting off the line a little slow. They haven't learned to read then go. They are either going to go or they are going to sit."
Ludie Reed has moved from the defensive line to the starting spot at middle linebacker. Ladarrison Lewis, Dray Hill, G'Juan Land and Jeffery Young are all working at the outside linebacker spots.
Jerome Haley, Daryl Thomas, G'Juan Land, Larry Coleman, Buck Thomas and Josh Nichols are all working at cornerback and safety.
"All of those guys will rotate in and out according to the way things go on offense," Boykin explained. "If Buck is getting the majority of the load in the backfield, he probably won't be playing a lot of defensive back. The same goes for Josh Nichols."
Coaches Outlook: "We are getting some work done to our weight room, but we still do not have any weights. That is our weak point. We are extremely physically weak. But as for as my goals, I just want our players to show a little more character and work ethics."
"I think if we get that we should make the playoffs. Barring a little luck, we should go 7-3 or 8-2. My expectation every year is to win the state, but you also have to set realistic goals. Right now, as physically weak as we are, I don't see us making that much improvement between now and the end of the season."
"It can happen and happened to us (at Southern Choctaw) in 2002. I thought that was one of our weaker teams. They didn't have the talent of the ‘98 team. We were a close knit group and had a lot of speed."
"They used good technique and were physically strong even though they were small. They worked hard in the weight room all year long and went 14-0 and won the state championship. We are not saying that is not out of reach, but until we get a little more character and work ethic it is not possible."
"The Demons look similar to last year's group with tons of speed and some good looking athletes," Sherman said. "The region is different this year as McIntosh will have to deal with 1A power Sweet Water and former 2A playoff team Georgiana."
"I don't think the Demons are in the same league as those teams just yet. Once MHS gets their weight room problems solved and completely buy into what Boykin is trying to install, they should be a contender. Just not in ‘08, although they should reach the playoffs as the number three or four seed."
Class 1A schedules and scores [click here].
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