Emory Rains Wildcats: 2013 football preview
Things can only improve for Rains High School and head football coach Derek Smith as the Wildcats try to rebound from a 1-19 record over the past two years.
This year's team will have some strong candidates for offensive district player of the year. Junior running back Mark Spigner (725 yards, 6 touchdowns) is big (6-2, 195) and hard to bring down once he finds a crease. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Ratliff (6-2, 215) showed leadership potential while leading the JV team to a 7-3 record in 2012.
Defensively, the Wildcats allowed just 91.2 passing yards per game and forced 18 fumbles over 10 games. Defensive back Jesse Hudson (82 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 4 blocked kicks) uses his speed to great advantage. Hudson also contributed 500 rushing yards and two kickoffs returned for touchdowns. Defensive end Grant Russell (40 tackles, 13 tackles for loss) provides great size and speed up front.
Lack of experience really hurt Rains in 2012, as they were replacing 14 seniors. But that shouldn’t be a problem this year, with 15 starters returning - seven on offense and five on defense.
With four teams from each district making the playoffs this year, the Wildcats could only have to get two or three district wins to make it to postseason play for the first time in six years.
Head Coach: Derek Smith 2012 Results: 0-10 Overall, 0-4 in District 14-3A Top Players: FS Jesse Hudson, Sr., 5-10, 170; 82 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 4 blocked kicks. RB Mark Spigner, Jr., 6-2, 195; Rushing 725 yards, 6 TD. QB Ryan Ratliff, Soph., 6-2, 215. DE Grant Mill, Sr., 6-2, 195; 40 tackles, 13 tackles for loss.