With 10 talented returning starters, Dumas is in a good position to win a conference title but it will have to get by Star City first. The Bobcats’ only conference loss last year was to the Star City Bulldogs.
“Star City won our conference last year and Warren is always one you want to knock off; they’re the king of the hill,” said Dumas Head Coach Mark Courtney. “Those two will determine a lot in our conference.”
“I say that and Dollarway and Lake Village will come in and beat our brains out before that,” he quipped.
Dumas will kick off their season playing non-conference rival Watson Chapel.
It’s highly unlikely that the Bobcats will get their “brains beat out” by any team, even their tough non-conference opponents like Watson Chapel and Monticello, who beat Dumas by one point last year.
“I like playing a tougher non-conference schedule because our conference is so tough,” Courtney said.
“My first year here we played some cupcakes for non-conference and I’m not sure going to Monticello (last year) and getting beat (by one point) wasn’t better for us than three years ago going to Brinkley and beating them 60-0,” Courtney said. “We got a lot out of that Monticello game. We got a lot of toughness out of it and we got a lot of heart out of it, getting down 21 points and being able to come back. So I want to play ‘up’ in non-conference.”
Dumas runs a spread offense and multiple schemes on defense. “It’s hard to say we run any specific thing (defensively),” Courtney said. “We’ll be in an odd front some and we’ll be in an even front some and just do a lot of different things out of it.”
Trey Winchester (6-1, 170) QB
Winchester, a senior with 4.4 speed is moving from WR to QB this season. Earning valuable experience last year backing up Darion Griswold, he’ll be no stranger to the spread offense.
“For the last three years I’ve had a Division I quarterback, Darion Griswold, who is playing at ASU now, but what I did do last year is, if we ran 60 plays Trey would get 15 to 20 snaps a game because I knew what was coming,” Courtney said. “So he’s played a little bit of quarterback his 10th and 11th grade year, but last year he was primarily a receiver.
Rankin Teeter (5-9, 150) WR
Teeter, a senior, is very sure-handed and runs good routes. “He’s my guy that when we get in a crunch we know we can throw it to him and he’s going to catch it,” Courtney said.
Awkille “KeKe” Freeman (6, 175) RB
“KeKe is a good all-round running back,” Courtney said. “He runs with speed and power.”
Paul Weatherford (5-8, 140) C
Weatherford may be small but he’s smart and tough.
“He’s a mean little dude and he’s real smart,” Courtney said. “He makes all of our calls on the line; he does a really good job.”
Hunter Vickers (5-10, 180) RG
After a solid sophomore season, Courtney expects big things from Vickers during his junior season.
Jacob Bishop (6-2, 240) DL
Bishop is a 3-year starter on the defensive side of the ball and has played some on offense.
“He’s one that will get a chance to play some college football,” Courtney said. “He got good size and he’s real strong. The thing you like about him is his motor. He plays as hard as he can play, every play, and that’s what will get him in college. He’s the kind of kid you want to coach. He’s here every day, he’s never late, and when he shows up he’s here to work. He works hard the entire practice and he works hard the entire game.”
Jarius Sanders (5-10, 160) CB
“He’s fast and he’s a returning starter so he’s got experience and he has a good nose for the ball,” Courtney said. ” He’s just a real good athlete and has a natural knack in the secondary.”
Mont-dre Spencer (5-8, 140) CB
“Mont-dre is one of those who is super smart,” Courtney said. “He’s the one that can get us in and out of our calls and he’s a really good athlete. He gets himself in the right spots and he gets other people in the right spots.”
Matthew Miller (5-11, 185) LB
“Another smart kid,” Courtney said. “He gets us in and out of our defensive fronts and he’s got a lot faster since last year. I made a comment in Hooten’s about him being slow and smart but he’s worked at it and he’s got faster and he’s dropped a little bit of weight since last year. He’s just one of those hard-nosed kids. He’s what you want for a high school linebacker, he’s smart and he’s not afraid to put his nose in there.”
Malachi Pointer (6-3, 200) DE
“In my opinion, he’s a major college prospect,” Courtney said. “He may not have started every game last year but he played a lot as a sophomore. He’ll have a big year.”
Christian Spratt (6, 185) DL
“He’s a strong kid that plays at a different speed than the other kids,” Courtney said. “We feel like one of the strengths of our team is the defensive line and those two (Pointer and Spratt) are the reason why. You put those two down there with Bishop and we’ve got a pretty good defensive line.”
Courtney also expects seniors Keith Verser and Todd Thompson to contribute. Verser will contribute at receiver and in the secondary while Thompson (5-5, 150) will see some time at running back and will start in the secondary. Thompson weighed only 120 pounds last year but has put on 30 pounds of muscle, Courtney said.