But those departures for Year 2 aren’t a built-in excuse if the team drops a bit. They are hoping it creates openings for new stars to show.
“The great thing about this particular team right here is it can be anybody’s night. They feed off one another,” McClain said. “I’m excited about the overall energy and the participation of guys coming out and giving their all. I can’t say enough about where we’re at right now.”
McClain’s debut season as Glenn Hills head coach saw the Spartans go 5-5, their first non-losing season since 2009. Glenn Hills also averaged 23.1 points per game, the best average since 1983 (29 ppg), as seniors Earl Cobb, Santo Nina and Kahlige Fleglar starred on offense.
Russell Timely steps in for Nina at quarterback. While Nina was primarily a passer with running ability, Timely is more of a running threat. McClain expects Glen Pace to be a main target at receiver.
Defensively, Elroy Maloyd and Treon Tucker should be ready to attack the quarterback.
“I have to let the boys know that we can do it,” Maloyd said. “We have talent, we just have to learn how to use it.”
The early part of the schedule should test Glenn Hills. The Spartans’ slate includes Aquinas, Class AAAAA Mays and Jefferson County before the Spartans travel to power Washington County for the first game in Region 3-AAA.
Save for a season-finale contest against Laney, the schedule gets lighter after that against fellow Augusta schools.
If the first-time starters are seasoned and confident by region schedule, Glenn Hills could be ready to make the state playoffs for the first time since 2008.
“Our kids, they’re not satisfied,” McClain said. “On one side, you go 5-5, but the other side is, they know we could have done so much more. They know at any moment, we had the ability. It’s just about going out and executing.”