By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
When Mooreville visits Amory to kick off the 2012 football season Friday, each team is scheming for an unknown.
Both are starting new sophomore quarterbacks, Taylor Franks for Mooreville and Jon David Poss for Amory.
Amory won last year’s game 42-28 behind a six-touchdown game from Forest Williams, who has graduated.
“I don’t really see them changing anything offensively. Their system is awesome, right there tops in the country,” Mooreville coach Kevin Austin said. “All five wide receivers are back and I’m sure they’ve got a quarterback ready to run that thing.”
Amory’s leading receiver, Dario Robinson has six college offers already. He had nine catches for 211 yards and two scores at Mooreville last year,
Mooreville lost 2,300-yard passer Griff Loftis to Itawamba CC and Franks won a two-man battle to be the opening-day starter.
Mooreville has its own firepower back. Senior running back Josh Johnson rushed for 1,341 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. Four of those touchdowns came against Amory, where he had 167 yards on 30 yards.
“They have really big kids and their running back quite honestly was the best we saw last year,” Amory coach Trent Hammond said.
Amory is coming off a Class 4A North title game loss against eventual champion Lafayette. The Troopers lost a four-point Class 3A second-round game against Kossuth.
Franks and Johnson are looking at a young offensive line in front of them, a new center and a pair of sophomores included.
“I don’t know if you ever have a 10th grader ready,” Austin said. “Everybody knows (Josh) is our key player and they’ll be prepared to stop him. We have a young offensive line and it may take a little while to get rolling. He’ll get his touches but he’s going to have to have supporters.”
Among the hits Amory took from graduation were a pair of linebackers, leaving starter Hayden Williams with new mates.
Poss started a pair of games when Williams tore his MCL last season but Franks will be taking his first varsity snap.
“The first game is always a tough one. You don’t know what to expect,” Hammond said. “You show up, they have a kid with a phenomenal arm or have a kid who can run like the wind at quarterback. You have to scheme it up both ways.”