Usually having just four returning starters is a cause for concern, but that’s not the case at Paoli. The Pugs’ returnees — and one backup — have already more than proven themselves.
Nose guard Tanner Dearman is the ringleader. The senior has started for the past three seasons, but had a monster junior year. The 5-10, 170-pounder racked up 148 tackles and 12 sacks and was named All-District. "He’s a good athlete and a physical player,” Paoli coach Justin Hannah said. Defensive end Dustin Barrett is a 225-pounder who had 40 stops and three sacks. Jordan Bailey and Colton Green are both returning starters in the defensive backfield. And linebacker Chris Freeman, who had 30 tackles and three sacks off the bench, is expected to play a major role. For now, the defense will need to perform well and allow the offense time to break in newcomers. "We have to replace (our) quarterback and two offensive linemen that made all-district last year,” Hannah said.