Long a force in Class 4A, Region III, the Bay City Black Cats hit rock bottom in 2006, falling to 2-8 and leading to the ouster of head coach Alan Cherry.
Defense was the sore spot for BC. The ‘Cats allowed 40 or more points seven times, including a four-game stretch in which they allowed 198 points. New head coach Danny Edelman's first task will be stopping the leaks that led to last season's fiasco.
It will offense, however, that will spark Bay City's revival. BC has one of the area's top returning quarterbacks in Shaun Rutherford, who threw for 12 touchdowns and ran for two more. The Black Cats will also benefit from running back Robert Taylor's return for his senior season after he lead BC in rushing.V
Rutherford's dual-threat skills are enhanced by the return of wideouts Paul Ellis and C.J. Patterson, both of which will make scoring points a more easy task. Ellis is a big-play threat that can score from any part of the field.
The line will be anchored by Mitch Kimberling, who is also one of the top returning players in the area.
Ellis, who was also an all-District 24-4A selection at defensive back, will be a key piece in improving the BC defense. DL Michael Smith gives Edelman an interior anchor that will be a critical building block for the Black Cats.
Don't expect Bay City to dwell in the 24-4A cellar this season. There is enough talent for the ‘Cats to make a run at a playoff spot and return to the postseason after a year's hiatus.