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August 26, 2010

New Look Tigers Hoping to Claim Wide-Open Conference Battle

Last year transfer Cody Taft revitalized a Scotland County football program that had struggled for several seasons, and the 2010 Tigers will be looking for a similar jumpstart from some new faces this year.

Coach Brent Bondurant will turn to a whole new backfield to open the season this Friday night, or at least new faces in new roles. Sabe Sears will become the feature back, taking over for Taft after leading last yearís team from the quarterback spot. He will share the load with his cousin, Rod Sears, also a senior along with junior Landen Holt as the squad goes to a three-back formation.

The trio will have to replace Taft who some how slipped to second team all conference honors despite racking up 1,307 yards and 15 touchdowns last year in just nine games. He also caught six passes for 80 yards and a score.

Just as big a loss for the rushing game is the graduation of fullback Kyle Shelley, who earned third team all-conference honors last year as much for his blocking performance as his rushing stats. The converted quarterback ran the ball 97 times for 515 yards and six scores.

Sabe Sears carried the ball 56 times for 104 yards, mostly on quarterback scrambles. Rod Sears had 116 yards on 38 carries. The duo accounted for six TDs on the ground.

Junior Brock Bondurant will open the year as the teamís quarterback after taking over for Sabe Sears late in the 2009 season after he broke his wrist.

Bondurant completed 10 of 24 passes for 102 yards. Sears completed 37 of 68 throws for four TDs and four interceptions, giving the team two capable passers.

While the thrower will be the same, the faces on the other end of the passes will be different.

Shelley led last yearís team with 16 receptions for 239 yards. Tight end Brandon Garnett had 14 catches for 190 yards and a TD and earned all-conference honors in his senior year.

Harley Stone is the teamís leading returning threat. The junior caught seven passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Drew Miller will be the other starter at receiver with Zach Miller, a sophomore, providing depth to replace Garnett on pass routes.

The pass protection will once again be crucial, as Coach Bondurant will have to recreate an offensive line that graduated all conference blockers Justin Winn and Jordan Fulk. All-league tackle Andy Garrett will return to anchor the troops in the trenches along with fellow senior Will See and junior Ben Shannan. They will be joined by juniors Taylor Rader, Christian Bradley and Will Masden.

Seniors Skyler Holton and Derek Gibson joined the team late in the pre-season, and while they will not be eligible for the opener, they should give Coach Bondurant some much needed depth.

Theyíll be needed on defense, where the Tigers must replace the three leading tacklers. Shelley was a first team all conference linebacker after leading the team with 136 stops. Taft also earned all-league honors after making 103 tackles while Winn was tops on the defensive line with 75 tackles.

Sabe Sears and Bondurant combined for more than 140 stops as defensive backs in 2009, making them top options to fill the void. Bondurant will be lining up at linebacker along with Shannan and Stone, the lone returning starter at linebacker.

See and Garrett will be the keys on the defensive line along with Rader and Masden.

Laden Holt and Drew Miller both saw action at the corner back spot last year and will be in the mix this year for starting jobs along with sophomore Zach Miller.

The Sears cousins will be the starting safeties.

All of the new faces in key roles wonít be the only changes SCR-I fans will see in 2010. With the exit of Clark County and Brookfield from the Tri-Rivers Conference, the Tigers will play a new schedule this year, minus the Bulldogs, but still featuring a non-conference matchup versus the Indians in week #2. Powerhouse Tipton will come to Memphis for a Saturday afternoon contest. Another change is a home and away series versus North Shelby.

The Class 1 District 10 will consist of the Tigers, Knox County, Schuyler County and North Shelby.


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