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.
Allen out for winning recordIf Allen can get solid production from a new quarterback, the Mustangs expect to post a winning record. After a 3-7 mark in 2008, Allen returns 12 starters, including standout linebacker Reece Lewis. "We’ll have a rookie QB,” Allen coach Kenny Deaton said. "But we have a good offensive line.” Aiding the new QB will be two-year starting receiver Scott Manuel, a junior, who led the team in scoring and receptions last year.
Fox is the choiceAlthough Ryan was 9-2 last year, and Alex posted an 8-3 mark, Fox was the preseason choice in District B-2. The Foxes have just four returning starters on offense and defense, but Brent Phelps’ squad, which went 8-3 in 2008, has the athletes. "We are quick, but young and inexperienced,” Phelps said. Experience will have to come quickly, as Fox hosts Ryan the third week of the season.