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|Block High not throwing in towel|
Losing 22 seniors would have some coaches bringing out the crying towel.
That's not the case at Block High where Benny Vault is always stressing the positive.
"The truth is only six of those seniors played a lot," Vault said. "We lost some good players. Our biggest challenge is depth. We've got more kids going both ways now than we've had in the past, so they are not used to that. But I feel like this team is a lot closer than last year's team."
Block went 6-6 last year, losing out in the second round of the playoffs. One of those losses was a forfeit to Vidalia because of the use of an illegal player.
The Bears return a lot of experience in the backfield as senior quarterback Antione Bowie (6-1, 180), junior running back VaShawn Davis (5-7, 190) and senior running back Preston Bowman (5-9, 165) all return.
All-State lineman Trey Vault (6-2, 220) has been moved to fullback. Also competing there is junior fullback Paul Ramirez (5-6, 180).
The Bears are led upfront by senior guard Devin King (6-0, 195) and junior Ryan Grant (5-8, 245).
King and Grant will anchor a young offensive line.
Sophomore center Emmett Burton (6-2, 305), junior tackle Denman Evans (6-4, 260) and sophomore guard BJ Jones complete the offensive line.
Vault will start at tight end again, while sophomore William Cummings (6-1, 205) will replace AJ Calhoun at tight end.
"We only have one returning starter on the line, so that's having to be totally rebuilt," Vault said. "But we feel like we have some weapons in our backfield."
Vault has been moved to linebacker from defensive end on the defensive side. He will be joined by Bowman and Bowie at linebacker who have been an important part of the defense for the last couple of seasons.
Junior Mack Collins (5-6, 150) will step in at inside linebacker to complete the core.
Junior Ronald Fox (5-11, 160) will return as the starting saftety for the third year and sophomore Ty Bell (5-8, 165) will start at cornerback after seeing some playing time last season.
Davis will start for the Bears at the other cornerback position.
Evans will lead an inexperienced group upfront on defense as he starts at defensive tackle.
Joining Evans will be junior noseguard Skylar Rush (5-9, 200) along with defensive ends Cummings and Jones.
"We've got some young guys on defense, but the good thing is that a lot of them got to play last year," Vault said.
Kicking for the Bears this season will be senior Travis Barber (5-0, 145).
Davis will punt and kickoff for the Bears, while Bowman and Bell will be the Bear's return specialists.
According to Vault, St. Mary's of Natchitoches will be the team to beat in District 3-1A this season.
They are returning a lot of seniors off of a team that was ranked as high as third in the state in 1A a year ago.
"We just want to improve each week going into district," Vault said.
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