Finally, let the high school football season begin.
Those sentiments can be felt all over Franklin County, but maybe a little more so for the new-look James Buchanan Rockets, who begin their season Friday.
The Rockets, who finished 2-7 a year ago, open the 2020 season at Big Spring in a non-league game with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
JB will have a “new look” not only because it will be sporting new unis, but it will also be Cliff Pine’s first game as the Rockets’ new head coach.
Pine, a JB graduate and former Rocket football player himself, said with all things considered, the team has been very receptive to having its third new coach in the last four years.
“With COVID it most certainly has been challenging (practices), but it’s been challenging for everyone,” Pine said. “All in all, all of this has brought us together as a team. I’ve known most of the athletes for quite a while, but myself and our staff implemented a new offense and defense. All the athletes have been good with all the changes and new things we’re showing them.”
Offensively, the Rockets will move away from the spread package they’ve run the last two years and will turn to the Wing-T this season.
JB returns seven players on the offensive side, but only two to the same position they played last year.
Junior CJ Gerhart, who played a few games at quarterback last season, returns as the full-time starter. The backs behind Gerhart will be senior fullback Caden Stoner (played wide receiver last year), senior halfback Mason Line (WR last year) and senior wing back Grant Ellis (WR last year).
At tight end will be senior Logan Miller (RB last year) and sophomore John Stoner will be the starting wide receiver.
Blocking up front will be Pine’s son, sophomore center Camron Pine, senior guards Caleb Wise and Hunter Smith (RB last year) and both tackles will be first-year starters, senior Hayden Russell and freshman Aden Stultz.
“We’ve moved some athletes around from where they’ve played in the past,” Cliff Pine said. “We just want to have the 11 best athletes out there where we think they fit the best.”