By DOUG BARBER — email@example.com
BAY ST. LOUIS -- An experienced Bay High football team plans to be a contender in Division 8-4A in 2012.Running back Justus Williams returns after rushing for 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns a season ago, and he will be running behind an experienced and large offensive line."We run the football to set up the passing game, the opposite of what most people do,'' fourth-year head coach Jeff Hopgood said. Hopgood lettered at Southern Miss from 1995-97. "The strength of this team is the offensive line. That group has been together for at least three years. We're excited about them and what they do.''The Tigers have two large tackles in Dusty Breckley (325 pounds) and Aaron Bourgeois (325). The guards -- Jarryd Jacobs (235) and Ashton Williams (240) -- are quick. Center Travis Brogle (280) anchors the offensive line. Brogle is a four-year starter.Bay High (5-6 last season, 2-3 in division) showed its rushing strength in spring games against Jackson Wingfield and Jackson Jim Hill, rushing for more than 300 yards. Kendall Island ran for 200 yards and six touchdowns while Williams had 100 yards and one touchdown."Justus is a slashing-type runner, deceptive, with good moves, and is very elusive hard to tackle,'' Hopgood said. "He is durable. He had over 200 carries last year.''Donavon Davis returns at quarterback. He also plays cornerback."Donavon Davis is in his second year at quarterback,'' Hopgood said. "He is a hard worker. He's the only kid I've ever coached that has never missed a summer workout. Dedication from that position is something the kids can feed on.''Experience is prevalent on the defensive side of the ball, too. Linebacker Coty Mitchell made 125 tackles in 2011. Defensive end Phalen Booker made a 120 tackles last season."Defensively, we feel good,'' Hopgood said. "Phalen Booker is a four-year starter at defensive end, and was third on the team in tackles, He is very disruptive. wreaks havoc on the inside, and makes plays all over the field for us. He makes plays on the other side, not just in his gap."Coty Mitchell has been a heck of a linebacker for a long time. This is solid group with lot of depth -- Kendall Island, Coty Mitchell, Nick Proulx, Robert Lamb, and Laronne Lewis Jr.''Although the Tigers lost an excellent kicker in Paul Johnson to graduation, Colby Krost is going to handle both the kicking and punting duties in 2012. He also plays outside linebacker.The Tigers finished third in 8-4A a year ago, and were defeated in the first round of the playoffs 25-14 by Mendenhall.Hopgood expects a tough division race again."This division is tough from top to bottom,'' Hopgood said. "We have some great coaches in this division, like Larry Dolan (Forrest County AHS), Johnny Ainsworth (Greene County), and Jim Bloomfield (Vancleave)."This thing is wide open. We're experienced but in Division 8-4A that doesn't mean much because this is one of the toughest divisions in the state. You have to come to play every week."I'm excited about our experience and am looking forward to the season.''