After seeing injuries virtually derail what had hopes of being a promising campaign a year ago, the Caddo Bruins are ready for a fresh start in 2020 with a youth-laden lineup.
The Bruins don’t have a single senior this season, but will rely on a bevy of juniors who have been forced into extensive action during their first two campaigns.
"Kids were really ready to get back out there after not being able to do much since March," head coach Jeremy Proctor commented.
"Our juniors have to lead the way. They have gotten a lot of playing time the last couple of years by default with injuries to others, so that’s good for them to have that experience. I think they should be primed for a couple of really good seasons."
Headlining that junior group is running back Hunter Speers, who the Bruins will lean on to carry a lot of the offensive load.
Fellow junior Eli McKimmy is also back at quarterback after being thrust into that spot last season, but he has versatility that will allow Proctor and crew to use him in a lot of different areas.
Stalwarts Tristen Owen and Hank Bradley are back up front and Tyler Malone also returns at tight end. Kaden Young will once again be the H-back, which shows how much experience the Bruins possess.
"Hunter (Speers) battled an ankle injury most all season last year and never was 100 percent," Proctor said. "He’s back to full speed to start this year. Jacob Jenkins came in from basketball and Austin Tomson is a move-in from Bennington who hasn’t played football, but is picking it up really well. Colton Speers is a freshman that is a really good athlete and could see some time at quarterback.
"I think this year it will be easier to fill spots with a little more depth. We have about 20 kids out, which is a good number for us. This is probably the most speed in the backfield we have had since I have been here. We should be able to spread people out more. We don’t have a lot of size up front, but are really quick. We probably will have a balanced attack with running and passing."
Defensively, the Bruins will rely on Young at linebacker and Speers at defensive back. Both were All-District selections in 2019. Malone and McKimmy also saw starting time a year ago.
This year’s schedule is a bit different for Caddo, with a new district alignment that includes several perennial eight-man powers.
"We tried to keep a northern non-district schedule with our district foes all being from the west," Proctor added. "Bray-Doyle, Alex, Velma-Alma and Southwest Covenant will be some tough district tests. All of them have been really good in past years, so I just hope we’re healthy by the time those games roll around. Those western teams tend to line up and try to run the ball right at you most of the time, which will be a change for us."