The Harlan Green Dragons will be loaded with playmakers next season, but the season could hinge on the development of the team’s offensive and defensive lines.
“We feel like with the skill positions that we have, if we can hold our own on the line of scrimmage we can compare to most people,” said Harlan coach J.B. Donahue. “We are going to go as far as our offensive line allows us to go. It’s just a matter of how well we do up front.”
The Dragons should be solid on the interior of the offensive front as junior Stephen Jones return at center, with fellow juniors Kaleb Enlow and Dakota Lewis at guard.
“Stephen is a kid who has really started to concentrate in the weight room recently. He is getting a lot stronger and developing his feet. His leadership is going to be real crucial for us up there,” said Donahue. “We are moving the Kaleb and Dakota inside to help protect in the passing game and give us a little more leverage trying to run the football team. Those are two of our stronger kids on the team. We expect to get a good push up the middle with those two guys.”
Junior Okey Boggs will anchor the offensive front at tackle, with junior Drew Middleton likely entering the starting lineup on the opposite side.
“Okey is the heart of this team. He loves the game of football, he loves contact, he just loves everything about it. He is the most aggressive kid we have got,” said Donahue. “Drew is one of the hardest working kids that we have had in the weight room. He has really developed some strength, and I think he is ready to step in and play some for us.”
Donahue said juniors Travis Laws and Andrew Brock, sophomore Dakota Torstrick and freshman Austin Fee, Matthew Bailey and T.J. Tackett will also see action on the offensive line.
The Dragons will be shifting to a 50 front on defense this season.
Laws will be in the center of the defensive line at nose guard.
“Travis has put in a lot of work in the weight room. He has improved a tremendous amount. I think Travis is ready to come out and shine this year,” said Donahue.
Torstrick and Brock will likely start at the defensive tackle positions.
“Dakota is new to us, but he has a lot of upside. He is very raw, but very athletic with good strength,” said Donahue. “Andrew is a kid who has started to develop a little strength. He needs to get stronger, but I expect big things from him. He has a great motor and great feet.”
Senior Dalton Overbay will lead the unit at strongside end/linebacker, with fellow senior Ryan Jones on the weakside.
“Dalton is the prototypical strong kid,” Donahue said. “Ryan is coming off of a shoulder injury, but has really worked hard in the offseason. We think that will pay dividends for Ryan, and we expect him to be a playmaker for us.”
Donahue said he expects improved depth along both lines this season.
“If all of the kids play to their ability, we feel like we have the capability of coming into the year with only one kid having to start both ways,” he said. “In Class A football that is pretty remarkable.”