Originally created 08/25/06

Season Preview: Wagener-Salley

Head coach: Ross Smith (First year)

Classification: SCHSL Region 4-A

2005 record: 2-9

Four-year record (since 2002): 13-30

Last playoff appearance: 2005

Returning starters: 4 offense, 5 defense

Key War Eagles: Senior WR/DL Robbie Gleaton (6-2, 200); Junior DB/RB Brandon Isaac (5-10, 180); Junior WR/DB David Dixon (5-10, 170); Senior DL/WR Ronald Staley (5-11, 200); Freshman QB Dontrell Salley (5-6, 150)

Offensive attack: Salley's arm strength and athleticism out of a spread attack will surprise teams. Senior OL Bobby Hayes (6-2, 190) returns. Gleaton and Isaac are expected to make the difference for the line. The receiver position is the strength of the team.

Defensive keys: Dixon will be one of the most experienced players in the War Eagles' secondary. Staley is known for his speed. He'll need to chase down opponents' top threats. Senior DL Chancellor Frazier (5-11, 210) will have to show younger teammates the way to play early on. Gleaton is expected to be a force at defensive end. He had 52 tackles and 11 stops for losses in 2005.

Thin at: Linebacker.

Big game: at Ridge Spring-Monetta, Oct. 6

Different this year: This will be the first time in several seasons the War Eagles haven't had a player hotly pursued by ACC and SEC schools.

Could go bad if: Smith's spread system is riddled by the mistakes common to starting a freshman QB.

Great year if: Salley plays at an all-region level and spreads the ball to several receivers. A six-win season and a playoff berth would be a quality job for a first-year head coach.


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