Experience, chemistry key for Wesson

Published 8:49 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wesson head football coach Jeremy Loy said when he took over a few years ago his defense somewhat looked like a junior varsity squad because of the youth on the field.

He believes this year is the year the experience pays off for the Cobras, as most of those players are now seniors.

“We didn’t have much experience out on the field on the defensive side of the ball when we first started,” Loy said. “But I knew that we needed to do that so that we could have this year coming up. We have a lot of games played on the defensive side of the ball, and that’ll really help us going forward.”

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Wesson returns three of their four leading tacklers for the 2018 season, including Jim Guess, who Loy said was the Cobras’ leader on defense.

“He’s a really good player for us,” Loy said. “He plays that strong safety and outside linebacker position so that we can get him in position to make plays. He’s really good at getting off blocks to make tackles. He’s started for us for a while, and he’s a big key to what we want to do on the defensive side of the ball.”

On the offensive side of the football, the Cobras will have to replace Dell Thigpen who had a solid career for Wesson.

In 2017, Thigpen threw for 452 yards, but rushed for more than 1,200 yards.

Replacing him will likely be sophomore Antrell Simms, who saw minimal action at quarterback last season, as he completed two passes in four attempts. On the defensive side of the ball in 2017, Simms had 41 tackles.

“We think that he can be a very good player for us,” Loy said. “He played defense for us last year, and he’s been in some games at quarterback. He’s an extremely athletic kid at the quarterback position.”

Simms will be helped with the Cobras returning key starters at the skill positions in Jaquavion Harris and Damien Smith.

Harris rushed for 905 yards last season, and figures to be the leading running back again this season.

“He had a really good year for us last year,” Loy said. “He’s got a good ability to cut and make guys miss.”

Smith led the team in receptions in 2017 with 15, and he had one touchdown on the year as a receiver.  Smith rushed for 114 yards on 11 carries for the Cobras last year as well.

“He’s started for us as a freshman, and we’re excited about him,” Loy said. “We’re going to get him the ball in a lot of different ways this season, whether it be in the backfield or in the receiving game.”

The Cobras return three of their five starting offensive lineman, and Loy said the chemistry among them is key for the offense’s success.

“That’s the most important offensive group on the football field,” Loy said. “Without them blocking, you’re not going to be able to do anything. We have a lot of experience there, and we think that’ll help us on the offensive side.”