A-J begins practice for spring football opener at Carterville
Anna-Jonesboro Community High School’s spring 2021 football season is scheduled to begin Saturday, March 20.
A-J will have a six-game season this spring, instead of the usual nine games which are played in the fall.
The 2020 fall football season was postponed because of the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the Wildcats haven’t played since the fall of 2019, veteran head coach Brett Detering is optimistic about the season.
Off of that team in the fall of 2019, seven seniors graduated and a lot of younger players got playing time.
“Our kids got some valuable experience,” Detering said. “We’ve got a lot of guys back with a lot of playing time. It should pay off.”
However, with some sports being crammed together this year, some players have decided not to participate in football.
“With the others sports some of our kids decided not to play,” Detering said. “We’re a little bit down in numbers.”
The roster for the A-J program this spring includes 10 seniors, 15 juniors, eight sophomores and 14 freshmen.
Quarterbacking the Wildcats will be senior Carson Pengress, 5-8, 175 pounds, and junior Gavin Osman, 6-3, 180 pounds.
“We have two quarterbacks coming back,” Detering said. “Both are experienced and both can step up.”
Running back candidates are juniors Barry Johnson, 5-10, 160 pounds; Josh Davis, 5-11, 190 pounds; and Nate Baggott, 6-0, 140 pounds.
They will be backed up by senior Nathan Plott, 5-10, 160 pounds, and sophomore Caleb Mays, 5-7, 160 pounds.
One of the top receivers the quarterbacks will be looking for downfield will be senior tight end Nate Belcher, 6-2, 220 pounds.
The line will be built around senior Bryce Bowers, 6-4, 315 pounds; and juniors Keegan Keller, 5-8, 265 pounds, Brad Glasco, 5-11, 210 pounds and Andrew Detering, 6-0, 260 pounds.
Other linemen candidates are senior Parker Turner, 5-9, 265 pounds, junior Jude Smith, 5-11, 260 pounds ,and sophomore Liam Schroeder, 6-3, 285 pounds.
The defensive line will feature a lot of the offensive lineman, with Bowers returning with experience, as well as junors Eli Pecord, 6-3, 330 pounds, and Landon Gleghorn, 5-9, 230 pounds and Keller and Detering.
Defensive end duties will be handled by Belcher, Glasco and senior Jacob Doss, 6-0, 210 pounds.
Linebacker hopefuls are Johnson, Wright and Davis and outside linebacker prospects are Pengress, Mays and junior Bryan Lang, 6-1, 180 pounds.
Defensive backs include Osman, Plott, Baggott and senior David Kestner, 5-9, 145 pounds.
The kicker will be senior Nick McGrath, 5-9, 160 pounds.
The team began practice on March 3. The Wildcats are scheduled to open their season March 20 at Carterville. A-J’s season is scheduled to end April 23 at home against Nashville.
A-J’s March games will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
During April, games are scheduled to be played at 7 p.m. on Fridays.