Coach: Jim Mallos, first season
2017 Record: 7-4
Returning Starters: Offense, 4; Defense, 4
Veteran coach Jim Mallos takes over the the program and brings almost 30 years of experience to the Pride. Mallos was the offensive coordinator for the Pride from 2009 to 2010. He replaces Mike Hawks, who coached the Pride for two seasons before being named the defensive coordinator at Butler.
“I’m excited to come back,” said Mallos, who like all the coaches on staff is a volunteer.
Mallos has introduced new schemes on both sides of the football – a variation of the wishbone with some spread on offense and a 3-4 on defense. He said the transition has gone well.
Senior Luke Thierfelder and junior Wanyae Freeman are working at quarterback, and both are expected to see playing time. Freeman is a threat to run the football, while Thierfelder is more of a pocket quarterback.
Junior Tobias McNeil gives the Pride speed at running back. Senior Steven Ardrey will anchor the offensive line at one tackle. Junior Alvin Hutchinson can play multiple spots on the line.
“We have the biggest linemen that we have ever had on both sides of the ball,” Mallos said. “We will have a good rotation, and that has always been a problem in the past.”
Senior Seth Graves will be a threat at receiver along with his younger brother, freshman Josiah.
Connor Stout is expected to be at nose guard, while Ardrey and Hutchinson will pull double duty by also starting on the defensive line.
TJ Taylor and Northside Christian transfer Deonte James bring speed and experience at linebacker.
Freeman and McNeil will anchor the defensive secondary.
“A lot of our kids will play both ways,” Mallos said. “We have a big roster, 42, this year so we have a lot of kids that can fill in.”
Taylor is going to handle kickoffs but Mallos is still looking for someone to handle PATs, punts and field goals.
“We may go for two points a lot,” Mallos said. “This is unusual for us as we have always had kickers. We have not found a kicker.”