NEW MARKET – Southmont head coach, Desson Hannum, has to replace over 2,200 yards of offense from a team that wrestled through a 3-8 season in 2015.
Lost to graduation are quarterback Jarrett Todd (704 passing yards, 556 rushing yards) and 1,000-yard rusher Nathaniel Farabee (1,001). Yet, the holes these two leave in the offense don't come close to the fissures opponents found in the Mounties' defense last season.
Playing six games against larger 3A schools, the 2A Mounties impressed in 2015 with an option offense that carved out solid numbers. The Mounties scored 22.1 points per game, including three games where they posted scores greater than 30. However, the Southmont defense yielded a porous 35.4 points per contest.
“That has been an emphasis of ours [this summer], trying to improve the defensive side of the ball. A lot of it is just match-ups – especially in this new era of football, with everyone spreading the defense out.” Tenth-year coach Hannum said. “I believe we may be a bit more athletic on defense. Whether we see the improvement we want to see, only time will tell.”
The coach points to two area where the defense must improve.
“We have to be able to play in space, and we have to be able to tackle well.”
That still leaves the task of filling the key positions on offense.
Hunter Chadwick starts at quarterback. The 5-11, 165 lbs. sophomore made only Casper-like appearances behind the durable Todd, but Hannum sees similar skills in his new signal-caller.
“We want guys that can do multiple things. Hunter probably throws the ball just a little bit better than Jarrett did. He's got some good intangibles there, too,” the coach assessed, who hopes Chadwick can find the patience to grow into the position.
“Obviously being the quarterback, you lead by your position. But he'll grow into becoming even more of leader. There will be a learning curve. He'll have issues along the way that he'll have to learn to deal with. I think by the end of the season, he will have resolved all those.”
Juniors Cole Rosas and Dakota Ball will fill the vacant FB role. Watch for veteran skilled players TE Kaleb Swick and RB Boone Welliever. A seasoned offensive line protects Chadwick, anchored by seniors Risty Bullerdick and Scott Madison. Andrew Gregg leads the defense at the middle-linebacker position.