Coach: Pete McSparin, first season
2018 Record: 6-5, 2-3 in NCISAA Piedmont
Returning Starters: Offense, 7; Defense, 8
Inside the Huddle
To say the Lions’ first season was a success would be a major understatement. They took their lumps (58-0 loss to Charlotte Christian in Week 2) but scored some major upsets (28-14 win over Cannon, their first-ever varsity win) although their schedule as a whole was quite soft.
First-year man Pete McSparin inherits a talented roster that will traverse a much more challenging schedule, so the challenges could still be coming.
Robert Stone started last year and had some really big games through the air. The lefty will have good targets in Edwin Barnes, a next-level talent who plays some running back, Josh Lee and Will Turner.
David Billiard is 6-foot-3, 250 pounds and will anchor both lines although he’s a college recruit as a defensive end. Seth Shannon, Ethan Clark, Adam Ellington and Jacob Shubert will play both ways a lot, so finding quality depth behind them is the key on both lines.
The linebackers – Ben Blackard, Turner and Ben Walton – are a talented bunch while Barnes will double as a safety.
It may be a tough season with the uptick in competition including games with Charlotte Latin, Country Day and Charlotte Christian – teams that outscored the Lions 190-33 in four losses last year. Their six wins came against teams who combined to go just 12-35 last year, but there is talent here with Billiard, Stone and Barnes in particular. These are just the growing pains a new program often takes.
QB: Robert Stone; RB: Ben Blackard/Nate Smith; WR: Edward Barnes; WR: Josh Lee; WR: Will Turner; TE: TBD; OL: David Billiard; OL: Seth Shannon; OL: Jacob Shubert; OL: Adam Ellington; and OL: Ethan Clark
DE: David Billiard; DE: Seth Shannon; DT: TBD ; DT: Ethan Clark; LB: Ben Walton; LB: Will Turner; LB: Ben Blackard; CB: Jon Rossi; CB: Timmy Cotton; S: Josh Lee; and S: Edwin Barnes
P Ret: Edwin Barnes and K Ret: Ben Blackard