Preview: Dublin Fighting Irish

With the return of twenty-one seniors, expectations are high this year for Coach Holmes' Fighting Irish. Nineteen of these returners have been in the program all four years. Look for the teams' strength to be in the skill positions.

Quarterback Ben Cochran returns as a three-year starter. Cochran has twenty-six starts heading into his Senior year so he really knows the offense.

At left HalfBack, Brian Wilcher is also a three-year starter. Wilcher made several All-Star teams last year. At right HalfBack, Brandon Edmond and Jamon Morris will split time again.

Fullbacks Thomas Barnes and Will Griffith will both be returning this season.

Brandon Taylor will bring experience to the Wide Receiver position while Antwon Edmond and Reshard Smith will provide depth.

The Tight End position is still a question mark. Quinton Pooler, Kenyardo O'Neal and Izell Stephens are competing for the start.

The Offensive Line should definitely be a strength for the Irish. The key to the wing-T is strong guard play and the Irish have two three-year starters returning. Tyler Josey (6'1", 260lbs) and Tony Smith (6'0", 220lbs) are both athletic kids with good strength.

The Center slot will see Junior Nick McCrae (6'4", 265lbs) making the snaps.

Chris Williams, who started at Center last year, and Johnny Howard who saw a lot of playing time last year, will be the starting Tackles.

On special teams, Drew Griggs will return at deep snapper and Ben Cochran will resume his punting duties. Drew Griggs and Jesse Coxwell are battling for the PK position. This will be a key to the offense trying to replace Justin Miller who set a state record last year making 71 extra points and 5 of 6 field goals.

Defensively the Irish lost two good Defensive Ends with Brett Smith and Chopper Foskey graduating. Tyler Josey and Michael Hall will start in these positions.

At Defensive Tackle Tony Smith will be returning as a starter and Tim Wells looks to be the other. Chris Williams and Nick McCrae will provide depth.

Thomas Barnes and Will Griffith are returning starters at outside Linebacker. Quinton Pooler and Kenyardo O'Neal are fighting for the Middle Linebacker spot. Depth is a question here. Dreak Rollins, Keyshawn Spikes and Johnny Reid are fighting for playing time.

The Irish should be strong in the Secondary. Three three-year starters return led by Brandon Edmond at SS and Jesse Coxwell at FS with Jamon Morris at weak corner. Brandon Taylor, Reshard Smith and Antwan Edmond are competing for the strong corner spot.

Coach Holmes feels the Irish will have a much more competitive non-region schedule this year. They will be playing AAA playoff teams Washington County and Stephens County this year. Holmes hopes that the team will be better prepared for tough games come play-off time.

Good luck to the Dublin Irish and thank you to Coach Holmes for providing a preview of this year's team.

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