Coach: Drew Witman, fourth season (14-20)
2017 Record: 7-6, 0-3 in CISAA
Returning Starters: Offense, 8; Defense, 7
The Bucs had their first winning season under coach Drew Witman and reached the state championship game last year, albeit the NCISAA Division II, for the first time since 2012. This team is gaining experience and will be a player in the state’s top private school conference.
John Calhoun takes over full time at quarterback for the Bucs. While he hasn’t taken any snaps yet, he’s talented and has many weapons at his disposal.
Tim Newman and Quentin Miller combined for over 1,100 yards and will split carries in the backfield.
Twan Flip and Rylan McLaurin caught nearly 60 passes between them and lead the receivers.
John Demas will line up all over and play some H-back, as well.
Six-foot-six tackle Tristan Miller, who is an N.C. State commit, headlines an experienced line. All-conference selection Jack Stajos will join returning starters Coulter Calhoun, Trent Mulligan and Holden Bobb.
David Lange and Julian Swann figure into the mix up front, as well.
The linemen will go both ways, so all seven will play some defense.
Thomas Shields and Grant Mitchell return as sure tacklers and starters at linebacker. JV call-ups Andrew Wilkes and Phelps Thomas will join Xavier Turner in the rotation.
Demas will split time on the line and at linebacker.
Last season’s defensive MVP Stephen Payne will be an asset at corner, as will McLaurin.
Reese Ryan and Alfred Letts, who slides back from his linebacker spot, will handle the safeties.
Junior kicker Edward Dellinger made 18 extra points and all three of his field goal attempts last year. McLaurin, the NCISAA 100-meter dash champion, and Flip are both outstanding return men.