Ava Bears Will Open Football Season At Aurora Friday Night
After watching his Bears perform in the jamboree last Friday night at Strafford, Coach Dan Swofford is optimistic about the 2013 football season that opens Friday night at Aurora.
“I think we’re going to surprise some people this year,” Coach Swofford said.
The veteran Bears coach felt his team performed well against very tough competition at the jamboree, and believes the team will continue to get better with experience.
Offensively the Bears will be running a spread option offense patterned after Georgia Tech. Swofford says the offensive set is like the wishbone, but instead of having two runningbacks in the backfield, they will line up as wide-outs.
“It’s strictly an option offense,” Swofford said.
The Bears return 14 lettermen, including 215-lb. senior Chase Willis who did not play last year but lettered as a sophomore. This year’s team will feature nine seniors and a group of experienced juniors, including Cody Huff who has stepped in to fill a void at the quarterback position and is looking very good in practice, according to Swofford.
One preseason poll places the Bears in the middle of the SCA, and Coach Swofford says that may be accurate because of the level of competition in the conference.
Mtn. View Liberty may be the best Class 2 team in the state and Mtn. Grove is also a very good team, Swofford says. Then Thayer comes in with an outstanding group of seniors, and Ava is pitted in the No. 4 slot behind the Bobcats.
Salem will be breaking in a new coach this season with the retirement of 32-year veteran Bill Schuchardt, but Swofford says Willow Springs and Cabool are improved this year and will probably surprise some people. Houston has struggled in past years, but also has a strong football history.
The Bears open at Aurora this Friday night and will have their home debut on the renovated Silvey Field and Dr. C.E. Harlan Stadium on Friday night, Sept. 6 vs. Rogersville.
Seniors on the 2013 team include Chance Boyd, Jesse Dean, Brett Vinson, Buster Davis, Aaron Box, Austin Giorgianni, Larry Walker, Chase Willis and Clayton Clouse. All but one are returning lettermen.
Junior lettermen returning are Huff, Colton Akers, Kane Thompson, John Luebbering, Derrick Bushong and Tristan Haltom. Other juniors are Dakota Hicks, Jimmy Bishop, Cole Coombs and Lloyd Rideeoutte.
Sophomore squadsmen are Paul Porter, Logan Sicilia, Caleb McFarlin, Nathan Bray, Morgan Smith, Colton Overcast, Jack Forrest, Payton Esterline, Cody Johnson, and Bryan Withers.
Freshmen are Eli Maggard, Cyprus Phillips, Kelly McDonald, Brandon Johnson, Chase Dodson, Colton Skyles, Briston Dobbins, Paxton Kjar, Taylor Robrahn, Boston Hawkins, Blake Litwiller, Titus Pinckney, and Chance Clevenhagen.