Quarterback C.J. Frazier looks across the Bluffton High School football field and sees a bevy of new faces.
Out are some of those who helped push the Bobcats to the Class 3-A state championship game a year ago. In are a handful of youngsters up from the junior varsity team, here to usher Bluffton into the state's 4-A classification this season.
The roster shakeup doesn't allow Frazier and his teammates to rest on last season's successful run. Instead, it pushes them toward greater heights, the senior signal-caller said.
"We have lost a lot of talent, but I think we have the players in place to do special things," Frazier said. "But we have to come every Friday night prepared like it's the state championship."
Frazier knows what it takes to get to the state's premier game, but the same can't be said for some of his new teammates who find themselves stepping into big shoes. The Bobcats must replace Jerry Scott and Eric Boyles at the wing positions, Zach Scott at fullback and Dimitri Lowry at wideout -- a group that accounted for more than 4,000 yards of total offense and a whopping 73 touchdowns a season ago.
Junior Vinny Boni and Gerald Roberson, who both played on the JV squad last year, have drawn the task of replacing Scott and Boyles at left and right wing, respectively. Tykeem Major, meanwhile, moves into the fullback position and seniors Marquis Webber and Demetrius Smalls look to replace Lowry as the Bobcats' top threat on the outside.
"I have big shoes to fill, but I feel like I can do the job," Roberson said. "From watching (Boyles) over the years and what he does, I feel like I'm ready to step up. I want to be the one to have a school record when I leave here."
The transition doesn't seem to be much of a concern for head coach Ken Cribb, who is planning to run a more versatile offense this year. In addition to winning a state championship, Cribb said the Bobcats' goal is to score 850 points in 2012. Bluffton scored 814 in 15 games a season ago, good for a 54.26 average per contest.
"You're going to see more out of us than you've seen," he said. "I can't say a whole lot about it. We're going to give teams more stuff to look at. It's not going to be as simple."
The Bobcats' defense is drawing expectations just as high as its offensive counterpart, despite the fact Bluffton must replace three of its top four tacklers from a season ago. Linebackers Michael Grant, Corey Stoner and Hayden Gillespie have all departed after combining for 258 stops, 49 tackles for loss and 12 sacks last year.
Yet Cribb calls this year's crop of defenders faster and more athletic. It's a group headlined by a veteran secondary that returns starting corners Jeremy Scott and Anthony Smith and free safety Khalil Mitchell, a trio that totaled 13 interceptions last season. Linebackers Kyle Waddell, Rogan Ferguson and Jaquan Campbell also return, as does nose tackle K.J. Ford and 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end Shameik Blackshear, who Cribb says could be the state's top recruit in two years.
To a man, the Bobcats have the players capable of making a run through Region 8-AAAA. Getting everything to fit just right is all that remains in Bluffton's search for a second consecutive state title appearance.
"It's a new team," Cribb said. "We've got a lot back, but we still have to get the puzzle put together. We're not there yet."
Stadium: Bobcat Stadium
Region: Region 8-AAAA
Coach: Ken Cribb (26-3, third year)
2011 results: 14-1 overall, 5-0 Region 7-AAA (region champions), lost to South Pointe in Class 3-A state championship game
Key losses: RB/DB Jerry Scott, RB/DB Eric Boyles, RB/LB Zach Scott, WR Dimitri Lowry, TE/LB Corey Stoner, RB/LB Hayden Gillespie, DL/OL Ladarius Hughes, RB/DB Muhammed Abdul-Malik
Top returning starters: QB/DB C.J. Frazier, LB/RB Tykeem Major, WR/DB Marquis Webber, OL/LB/DL Kyle Waddell, RB/DB Jeremy Scott, RB/DB Khalil Mitchell, RB/LB Jaquan Campbell, RB/DB Anthony Smith, RB/DL K.J. Ford, WR/DB John Trerotola, K/P Mallie Sprouse
Key newcomers: RB/DB Vinny Boni, QB/DB Gerald Roberson, WR/DL Shameik Blackshear, WR/DB B.J. Hill
Date Opponent W/L Score
Aug. 19 HILTON HEAD HIGH W 76-0
Aug. 26 RIDGELAND W 60-14
Sept. 2 HARDEEVILLE W 62-0
Sept. 9 at Estill W 67-6
Sept. 16 WADE HAMPTON W 55-7
Sept. 30 at Lake Marion W 50-0
Oct. 7 CANE BAY W 42-14
Oct. 14 BATTERY CREEK W 82-0
Oct. 21 at Berkeley W 53-7
Oct. 28 at Hilton Head High W 58-6
Nov. 4 GEORGETOWN* W 69-29
Nov. 11 HARTSVILLE* W 48-14
Nov. 18 at Myrtle Beach* W 21-7
Dec. 3 SOUTH POINTE* L 42-27
HOME GAME in CAPS *Playoff game
Date Opponent Time
Aug. 17 WHALE BRANCH 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 24 RIDGELAND-HARDEEVILLE 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 31 SOUTH EFFINGHAM 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 at Wade Hampton 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 at James Island 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21 HILTON HEAD HIGH 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 BEAUFORT* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Ashley Ridge* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 FORT DORCHESTER* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 COLLETON COUNTY* 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2 at Summerville* 7:30 p.m.
HOME GAME in CAPS *Region opponent
Players to watch
Offense: C.J. Frazier, QB
Bluffton players say Frazier has taken a more vocal approach this season, a move that could pay dividends for the Bobcats, who must replace a handful of key veterans at the skill positions. The senior, who threw for 2,898 yards and 49 touchdowns last year, leads an offense that averaged 54.26 points per game last season.
Defense: Jaquan Campbell, LB
Campbell moves from free safety to linebacker in 2012, where he'll replace last season's leading tackler in Michael Grant, who tallied 100 stops and 21 tackles for loss at the right outside position. Campbell tallied 45 tackles and four interceptions as a junior last season.
Three keys to the season:
2012 Roster (in numerical order)
No. Name Position Height Weight Class
1 Jeremy Scott RB/DB 5-11 170 Sr.
2 Khalil Mitchell RB/DB 6-1 170 Sr.
3 Gerald Roberson QB/DB 5-11 175 Jr.
4 Alex Davis QB/LB 5-11 180 Soph.
5 B.J. Hill WR/DB 6-1 180 Jr.
6 Jaquan Campbell RB/LB 6-0 185 Sr.
7 John Trerotola WR/DB 5-9 Sr.
8 Vinny Boni RB/DB 6-0 170 Jr.
9 C.J. Frazier QB/DB 5-11 185 Sr.
10 Marquis Webber WR/DB 6-3 185 Sr.
11 Demetrius Smalls WR/DB 5-11 175 Sr.
12 Mallie Sprouse K/P 6-2 180 Sr.
13 Devyn Kowitz WR/DB 5-11 165 Jr.
14 Jack Aerni WR/DE 6-3 170 Soph.
15 Herbert Daise WR/DB 6-0 170 Jr.
16 Alex Waddell QB/LB 5-10 165 Jr.
17 Shameik Blackshear WR/DL 6-5 230 Soph.
18 Jordan Zimmerman WR/DB 6-1 180 Jr.
20 Tykeem Major LB/RB 5-10 165 Jr.
21 Jawara Middleton RB/DB 5-10 165 Jr.
23 K.J. Ford RB/DL 6-1 280 Jr.
24 Anthony Smith, Jr. RB/DB 5-11 175 Sr.
25 Liam Finn RB/LB 5-11 185 Jr.
26 Chris Badon WR/DB 5-11 165 Jr.
27 Christopher Bevan RB/DB 5-11 165 Soph.
28 Jack Neumann WR/DB 5-11 165 Jr.
30 Nick Williamsen WR/DB 5-11 160 Jr.
31 Joseph Floystad RB/LB 5-11 180 Jr.
32 Deonte Stevenson RB/LB 6-1 190 Soph.
33 Leroy Frost RB/DB 5-10 155 Soph.
34 William Dupont RB/LB 6-0 175 Sr.
35 Duncan Adkins RB/LB 5-10 165 Soph.
36 Pierce Brehany RB/LB 5-10 170 Jr.
40 Logan Phillips TE/DL 6-1 220 Sr.
42 Juan Martir WR/DB 6-2 165 Jr.
44 Rogan Ferguson LB/RB 6-0 210 Sr.
45 Michael Meyerink RB/LB 5-10 175 Jr.
48 T.J. Ferguson RB/LB 6-0 190 Fr.
50 John Aimar OL/DL 5-10 200 Soph.
51 Luke Maybin OL/DL 5-10 235 Jr.
52 Fedrico Vasquez OL/LB 5-11 180 Jr.
53 Connor Edmonds OL/LB 5-11 210 Jr.
54 Eric Washington OL/DL 6-2 185 Soph.
55 Josh Darrell OL/DL 6-1 280 Jr.
56 Kyle Waddell OL/LB/DL 6-0 200 Sr.
58 Ryan Culp OL/DL 6-2 250 Jr.
59 Austin Chittum OL/DL 6-3 265 Sr.
60 Pearce Freeman DL/OL 6-4 200 Sr.
65 Alex Cochran OL/DL 5-11 200 Sr.
68 Larry Shaw OL/DL 5-11 330 Sr.
69 Yerko Castedo OL/DL 6-2 250 Sr.
70 Edgar Prada OL/DL 5-10 200 Sr.
72 Taylor Gordon OL/DL 6-2 260 Jr.
73 Nate Freeland OL/DL 6-4 220 Soph.
74 Dakota Vincent OL/DL 6-0 185 Jr.
75 Michael Jones OL/DL 6-1 275 Jr.
76 Matt Montanino LB/OL 5-10 200 Jr.
77 Tyler Knight OL/DL 6-0 280 Jr.
78 Darren Lunde OL/DL 6-2 215 Jr.
79 John Mitchell OL/DL 5-11 300 Jr.
80 Harlan Kendrick WR/DB 6-2 175 Sr.
82 Chance Murphy WR/DB 6-5 190 Jr.
88 Hayden Dwyer WR/DB 6-1 175 Jr.