The city of Rogersville has become an exciting spot for Friday night football over the years, especially after the addition of the new Logan-Rogersville Football Stadium. Last fall, the Wildcats went 5-5, finishing second in the Big 8. This year, head coach Mark Talbert looks to use the experience gained by his returning players to lead the team to the top of the conference and beyond.
The Wildcats exited last year after a tough game against Monett in round one of the district tournament. This fall they will return just three starters to their offense.
“We had numerous injuries that led to sophomores gaining valuable experience on the field. This holds especially true on our offensive line,” said Wubbena.
Among the few returning starters is quarterback Thessen Prenger, who threw for 1320 yards and racked up 10 touchdowns over the course of last season despite injuries and an offensive strategy that relied heavily on the running backs.
“Thessen’s decision-making and timing have improved so much during the summer,” remarked Talbert. “His commitment to making the right play, not the big play, has put him into a different level of conversation for quarterback.”
Receiving the ball from Prenger will be Cameron Wray, Carther Athen, Blake Tracy, Jeffery Ipock, Nate Knowles, AJ Muncy, Bryant King, and Eli Craft.
“Wray and Athen have the ability to get by defenders at a high rate,” said Talbert. “Tracy has worked his way from an undersized freshman with a lot of heart to be one of our best football players. We are excited about his senior year. Ipock, Knowles, Muncy, King, and Craft will look to add depth to that position group.”
Tight end Brady Buckman returns after earning second-team all-conference last year.
“Buckman’s size and physical strength make him a handful for edge defenders. When he puts his hands in the ground, it’s like having another offensive tackle,” said Talbert. “His blocking will give us an advantage in our running game, and his hands will help make him a well-rounded threat at tight end.”
Kolbey Ballowe, Jacob Shinkarevich, and Kadin Agee will run the ball for the Wildcats this year.
“Ballowe has been impressive this summer and made his presence known at the Evangel Camp,” added Talbert. “All of our running backs will see time on the defensive side of the ball, so we will look to share the role on the offensive side to keep players fresh.”
By returning seven starters, the Wildcats look to own the field defensively under new defensive coordinator Kyle Schenker. After receiving all-conference honors last season, Ballowe, Shinkarevich, and Athen will return as linebackers. Ballowe led the team last year in sacks, racking up four over the 2022 season.
“Ballowe has developed himself in the weight room, making himself one of the strongest players on the team,” added Talbert. “Shinkarevich’s instincts and athletic ability led to success last year, and he will be well known this year when we play opponents.”
The secondary will be led by Wray, who blew expectations away last season with four interceptions.
“Cameron’s aggressive mentality led to teams staying out of his zone,” said Talbert. “His speed, high intelligence, and playmaking ability make him the total package at free safety. He is a special talent and will have a great year.
The Wildcats start their season on Aug. 25 at East Newton. The first home game will be against Lamar Sept. 1.
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