SOUTHPORT (9-3) – 20-4 over past two seasons with a pair of sectional titles … looks younger but not as big or quick as last year … must find replacements for graduated Cardell Tucker, 1,196 all-purpose yards, and receivers DeMari Davis, Aaron Ferguson and Kevin Wagner, who combined for 1,171 yards … career leading quarterback Luke Johnston (260-of-420 passes, 3,228 yards, 28 TDs in 2014) is back … receivers are senior Evan Higgs, who caught 41 passes for 737 yards and six TDs; Blake Evans, who moves from JV quarterback to slot, and Johnston’s younger brother, Matt … add basketball star Paul Scruggs to the mix of quickness on offense … junior running backs Andrew Mappes (512 yards, five TDs) and Micah Walker keep defenses honest … Matt Garrett (265 pounds) and Alec Brumfield (290) anchor O-line … defense features linebacker Jason Williams, 76 tackles; lineman Kyle Williams, 280 pounds, 68 tackles; and Justin Herring, 42 tackles, who moves to free safety … senior cornerback Eli Walton attracting Division 1 attention … Cards open Friday at 8:30 p.m. against Roncalli at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Coach Bill Peebles’ comments: “These guys are going to have to really work hard to play at the level we were at last year. We have a lot of young players up front on offense and defense. Johnston’s leadership will be so important this year. We expect a big year from Mappes. Up front we have to figure out who will fill the holes so we can protect Johnston. We feel good about our skilled positions and we have players who can catch the ball. Depth is always a question mark for us.”