Football Scotties Picked to Finish Fifth
Football Scotties Picked to Finish Fifth
Head Coach Aaron Arnold’s football team at Highland Community College has been picked by his fellow coaches in the Jayhawk Conference to finish the season in fifth place among the eight Jayhawk teams who play football. The announcement came during the Conference media day held at Newman University in Wichita. Butler was picked to lead the Conference this year, followed by Dodge City, Hutchinson, Coffeyville, Highland, Garden City, Independence, and Fort Scott.
Arnold noted that while his Scotties will once again be young, he will have the luxury of having a returning starting quarterback, something he has not had in his years at Highland. Kahlil Render (Homestead, FL), with 2,015 yards and 18 touchdowns throwing, in addition to 387 yards and five touchdowns rushing as a freshman, will be returning to lead the Scotties. Local product Tristan Speer (Troy) is expected to be the backup for Render after seeing limited action last year. Taymon Grabaskus (Topeka) will also compete for playing time.
Render will have at least one experienced receiver in Demarre Kitt (Atlanta,GA). Though Kitt is a newcomer to the Scotties, he has played at the DI collegiate level at Clemson. Sophomores Bailey Strunk (Wichita) and Alec Freeman (Olathe) are the only returning players who saw action in games for Highland last season. In addition, expect to see several other reverse transfer players make an immediate impact, including Chris Von-Hendrix (Navy/ Woodmere, OH), Elliott Davis (NC State/Gaithersburg, MD) and Shawn Thomas (NEO/Lafayette, LA). Newcomers Alex Bott (Wichita) and Ronnie Jamison (Columbia, SC) will also be in the mix.
The major question for the Scotties will be how well the offensive line will be able to provide the protections necessary for the offense to run. The offensive line will be all fresh faces that will rely on Arnold’s experience there to coach them up. After losing four out of five starters to the Division I ranks in 2015, this season will feature a completely rebuilt offensive line. Redshirt freshmen Stafen Guevara (Concordia), Kresimir Pilipovic (Croatia), Ali Mboob (Wichita), and Guy Runnels (Effingham) will compete for starting jobs. Freshmen Kasey Feyh (Wamego) and Jacob Gilbertson (Wichita) and a large group of incoming freshmen will be competing for playing time as well.
Marquis Terry (Atlanta, GA) is the only returning player from the running back group. Terry accounted for over 1000 all-purpose yards and five TD’s in the 2015 season. Wichita Northwest graduate Tony Joyner will compete for playing time along with transfers Ra’Quanne Dickens (Largo, FL) and Willie Jordan (Atlanta, GA).
There will be some holes to fill on the defensive line after losing All-American Joe Sanders to Central Florida, DeeIsaac Davis to KU, and Logan Stoddard to KSU. The Scotties defensive line will be anchored by returners Tyler Simms (Columbia, SC) and Ebone Covington (Gaffney, SC). Coming off redshirt years, Brandon Berry (Griffin, GA) and Jim Philistin (Wellington, FL) will compete for playing time as well.
After enjoying a season with the Conference Defensive Player of the Year at linebacker, the Scotties will have to replace Tyree Horton, who signed with TCU, as well as the second leading tackler on the defense. Kendrick Catis (Deerfield Beach, FL), Kyle Pottinger (Overland Park) and Jeremiah Hill (Cairo, GA) all benefited from a redshirt season and will compete for starting jobs this fall.
The Scottie secondary also lost three starters to the Division I ranks in Deandre Bozeman, Montavious Smoke, and Damarius Brinson. Returning sophomore Sam Jallah (Orlando, FL) will compete for time along with newcomers Antonio Cole (Utah State/Edmond, OK) and O’Daryl Davis-Douglas (Ellsworth CC/Rock Hill, SC).
The Scotties will open the 2016 season at home on August 27 when they will be tested by Dodge City. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm in an evening contest that will answer many of the questions raised in the off-season.