2019 backups now the key to Red Hawks success

Stewarts Creek senior quarterback Alex Krenk will lead an offense that returns just four starters. FILE

Coming off the best season in program history, the Red Hawks will be guided by a new head coach in previous defensive coordinator Ben Caudill.

Caudill led a defense that surrendered just 14 points a game in 2019 but retaining that success will come at a cost after losing all 11 starters on defense. The Red Hawks lost eight starters on offense, including All-State selection Amari Jelks.

“It benefits to return a lot of our coaching from last season,” Caudill said. “When you have a great turnover of players after a successful year you like to keep as many assistants and have those players that were in reserve roles a season ago take over leadership.”

OFFENSE

The biggest hurdle for Stewarts Creek in 2020 will be finding a sufficient replacement for Jelks, who rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 12 total touchdowns.

“We have so many bodies to replace on offense, so really it is about manufacturing an offense that plays to our skill set,” Caudill said.

The Red Hawks will implement a running back by committee playing style with trio a backs. Junior Gabe Walker will receive a majority of the carries alongside senior Elijah Williams and sophomore athlete Nate Severance. Senior Jalen Moore is the lone upperclassman in an inexperienced receiving corp. Sophomores Severance and Tayden Mounivong will get looks at wide out.

“Moore is an elite level athlete and Severance is coming back from injury, and he will get looks from running back and wide receiver,” Caudill said. “Alex Krenk gives us great confidence at quarterback because of his leadership off the field and his toughness on the field.”

Senior Krenk is a first-year starter under center but his athleticism gives the Red Hawks multiple options on offense.

Seniors Alton Anthony and Kareem Harris anchor the offensive line from center and right guard, respectively.

DEFENSE

Despite losing everyone from the 2019 group that allowed 14 points a game, Stewarts Creek bolsters experienced players that Caudill labeled as “waiting to play.”

“I believe we have guys that got good snaps last year, yet we just had players better than them in front," Caudill said. "Everyone played in a reserve role (in 2019, but now it is getting them to full-game playing shape.”

The defensive line is the eldest group with three seniors -- Blake Bachman, Haidyn Davis, and Jamison Wilson -- and junior Jessie Ferguson to round out the four man front.

Linebacker Michael Clinton is the lone second-level player that received defensive snaps a year ago. Clinton will be responsible for leading young linebackers Gabe Walker and Undradge Jamison.

The Red Hawks present an all junior defensive back group with lots of athleticism and play-making abilities that hope to cause opposing quarterbacks fits.

Jarian Dunlap, Justin Garcia and Tyree Thomas will see action at cornerback, while Colin Smith will assume the safety role.

PROJECTED STARTERS

OFFENSE

QB: Alex Krenk, Sr.

RB: Gabe Walker, Jr.; Elijah Williams, Sr.; Nate Severance, Soph.

WR: Jalen Moore, Sr.; Tayden Mounivong, Soph., Nate Severance, Soph.

TE: Blake Bachman, Sr.

OL: Bryan Jackson, Jr.; Rashad Garret, Jr.; Alton Anthony, Sr; Kareem Harris, Sr.; Jessie Ferguson, Jr.

DEFENSE

DL: Blake Bachman, Sr.; Haidyn Davis, Sr.; Jamison Wilson, Sr.; Bryant McAtee, Jr.

OLB: Michael Clinton, Sr.; Undradge Jamison, Soph.

LB: Gabe Walker, Jr.

DB: Jarian Dunlap, Jr.; Justin Garcia, Jr.; Tyree Thomas, Jr.; Colin Smith, Jr.

SPECIALIST

K/P: Upton Bellenfant, Jr.

2020 SCHEDULE

8/21: at Mt. Juliet

8/28: at Antioch

9/4: Clarksville

9/11: at Cane Ridge

9/18: at La Vergne

9/25: Station Camp

10/2: McGavock

10/9: OPEN

10/16: Lebanon

10/23: at John Overton

10/30: Smyrna

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