Orangefield Football Preview

Last season was the first as head coach for Josh Smalley at Orangefield. That first season served as a great learning experience for Smalley. "It was a fun year, exciting year, learned a lot. You know it didn’t finish the way we wanted it to finish. We ended up 4 and 6, one game out of the playoffs, ended up losing the last game by 11 and kept us home in the playoff hunt," Smalley recalled.

Coach Smalley had an abbreviated off season with his Bobcats last year, and he believes things are looking up for Orangefield for this coming season. Smalley noted they have some key personnel coming back including all of their running backs and all of their offensive line. A full off season with the kids, a full summer, the kids worked extremely hard getting bigger and stronger which has Smalley counting on that to help the Bobcats’ cause come the fall.

Offense will be a mixed bag initially for the Orangefield Bobcats this season, most of it good. Coach Smalley addressed the one area of concern which is finding a replacement for Eric Truncale at quarterback to run the Slot-T for the Bobcats. He has three or four candidates looking to be the starting Bobcat quarterback. Matthew Kress played corner last year, sophomore Matthew Watkins will get a look, Carmichael Wiley was a running back, and Shawn Langley will be coming up from the junior varsity and will get some looks as well. "We won’t really know much until we get out of the two-a-days and scrimmages as far as who’s going to nail that down," assessed Smalley.

Carl Wiley a thousand yard all-district rusher returns at running back for Orangefield. Dustin Verrett and Carmichael Wiley both contributed over 200-yard seasons on the ground for Coach Smalley last year and look to do more of the same this year. The line to block for the Slot-T includes returning starters Westin Crain, Bryan Lopez, Jerrod Watkins, and tight end Mason Sonnier will be a three-year starter. "We look to be really loaded up front and the guys are a lot stronger so we should be pretty good there," Smalley exclaimed.

The big change this season for the Orangefield Bobcats will be on the defensive side of the ball. "We’re going from a 50 defense to more of a 4-3 look. We brought in a new defensive coordinator John Davis," informed Coach Smalley. "We just feel like it is a system that’s going to fit our kids a little bit better," concluded Coach Smalley. An aspect that has Coach Smalley confident and excited about the change is the number of returning starters on defense. The Bobcats return their whole defensive secondary and the whole defensive line from last season. Coach Smalley is also looking for big things from Lane Frillou at defensive end, Colby Choate at middle linebacker, and Austin Moore at linebacker.

The high school football season starts at the end of August, so coaches have to make the most of their time with the kids when the workouts start August 5. Coach Smalley admitted working with the Bobcats to learn the new defense is a priority. "Last year I think we were second to last in the district in total defense so it’s an area we had to improve on, and like I said the kids are working hard on it," Smalley said. The second priority will be finding a starting quarterback to run the Orangefield offense. Lastly, Smalley wants to see his Bobcats compete and find what kind of condition his team is in as they get ready to kickoff the season.

-Dan Perrine, KOGT-