Originally created 08/25/06

Season Preview: Hephzibah

Head coach: John Bowen (Second year)

Classification: GHSA Region 3A-AAA South

2005 record: 2-8

Four-year record (since 2002): 17-23

Last playoff appearance: 2001

Returning starters: 4 offense, 5 defense

Key Rebels: Senior DE/TE T.J. Lynch (6-3, 220); Senior OT James Carpenter (6-5, 305); Senior RB/DB Rashaun Bowman (5-8, 165); Senior WR/RB Tomarez Jenkins (5-11, 150); Senior QB Chris White (6-2, 180)

Offensive attack: White has a year of experience in the double-wing set, but the running back position remains a question mark. Carpenter will be expected to open holes for whomever wins the RB battle.

Defensive keys: The Rebels can't be any worse on defense. Last season, they allowed more than 30 points per game. Lynch will bring intensity to the DE position, but he'll need more help up front in the 4-4 set. Hephzibah should be OK in the secondary, but will have to replace Catron Gainey (82 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions).

Thin at: Running back

Big game: Vs. Cross Creek, Sept. 1

Different this year: Neely Lovett becomes the team's third defensive coordinator in three years. He was an assistant coach on the team last season, and he has had an off-season to diagnose the defensive problems.

Could go bad if: Hephzibah fails to establish a running game. Sure, the Rebels have the weapons for a high-powered passing attack, but they have to be able to chew up yards and clock and keep their defense off the field as much as possible.

Great year if: The Rebels have a winning season. Making the playoffs is always a long shot at Hephzibah, which has been to the postseason only once in 50-plus years.


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