By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo High School’s football team has numerous openings to fill as spring practice kicks off.
“It’s everywhere,” Golden Wave head coach David Bradberry said. “We’ve got to replace a bunch of guys.”
Tupelo finished 6-6 overall last year, including a loss to Madison Central in the first round of the 6A state playoffs.
The biggest void to fill will be in the backfield where running back Ashton Shumpert, who transferred back to Itawamba AHS, and quarterback Luke Hobson, who graduated, once played.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys we want to roll in there at running back,” THS offensive coordinator Andy Crotwell said. “We want to see who can play, make plays and be productive.”
Kentarris Cannon, Quinn Tiggs, Quinton Lauderdale and Quan Osborne will get plenty of opportunities to impress Crotwell during the 15-day drills.
Thomas Harris, a senior who played when Hobson was injured last fall, and junior Reed Taylor are expected to compete at quarterback.
Zach Johnson, J.G. Miley and Darrell Hadley have some experience at receiver.
Kasey Grice and Chance McCarty are back on the offensive line. A group of talented sophomores are expected to battle for playing time.
On defense, coordinator Lamar Aldridge has defensive lineman Jeremiah Dent and linebacker James Gilleylen back in his base 4-2-5 scheme.
“Dent has a chance to be a good one,” Aldridge said. “He works hard and has been a leader in the weightroom.”
Gilleylen played defensive end last fall, but will be moved to linebacker.
“We’ve got some younger kids who will get a look this spring,” Aldridge said. “We’re going to work on fundamentals. We need to get better tackling and getting tougher.”
Drew White and William Bigham give the team two talented kickers. Joel Baldwin returns as the deep snapper.
“We’re looking for football players, people who can block, tackle and be physical,” Bradberry said. “We’re going to see who steps up this spring.”
Tupelo will play a spring scrimmage May 8 against Brandon at East Mississippi CC.