2016 was good to the DeQuincy Tigers, as the team snapped a pair of losing streaks. DeQuincy posted a winning record for the first time since 2011, and picked up its first playoff victory since 1997.
“We took another step in our program last year. One of the things we wanted to do was host a playoff game and win it and we did that. Then we were pretty competitive in the playoff game so we were happy. Never satisfied, but we were happy.”
After graduating a number of talented seniors, the Tigers only bring back 11 total starters. This season the young guys are expected to step up.
“We lost a lot. But we pushed our young this off-season and they’ve worked really hard. We’re expecting a lot out of them.”
“Our personal will be different. We graduated 6 starters off offense. Just about all of our skill last year was seniors and major contributors.”
Offensively, the team will need to replace Quarterback Will Smith, who passed for over 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns a season ago. Coach Charlie Smith has yet to name who'll take over at quarterback.
“That’s still in the air as of right now. We said coming in that we were going to compete for it. That competition is still alive and well.”
“I am very confident in our offense. I am very confident in the guys. We have great leaders on our offense. Our offensive line is doing great. We just have great leadership on that side of the ball.”
Defensively, the Tigers were undervalued last season thanks to their high-scoring offense. With veteran leadership back, the DeQuincy 'D' should be tough again.
“Our experiences in our interior. Our three-down lineman and four linebackers are all returning starters and they're all juniors or seniors. That's where our experience is. We got Jake Cooper out at one of our corners and he can play out there. Everybody else is going to be young and unproven.”
With the Tigers' district getting a shake up, DeQuincy becomes one of the favorites. But the Tigers enter the new year focused only on what's in front.
“We’re obviously going to face some tremendous talent in this district. We don’t look any further ahead than what’s next.”
“It’s a lot of great teams and good competition. We respect them and everything, but we’re just working on ourselves, every day.”
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