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Douglas offensive line hopes to come together

Chuck Smock

Sophomore Luke Rippee and senior Shane Cauley are the leading candidates to earn the starting quarterback position.

Rippee has the early edge, but head coach Mike Rippee said Cauley has shown great progress in the preseason.

Douglas coaches are hoping the offensive line will come together quickly enough to give either quarterback the chance to take advantage of a deep pool of running backs and receivers.

Seniors Cal Lewis and Nathan Bennett and junior Grant Hall are newcomers at offensive guard. They’ll join Jake Allsip, Chad Linderman, Cheyne Jackson adn Brandon Shupe in the rotation on the offensive line.

“There’s plenty of room for playing time up front,” coach Rippee said. “You’d like to give those big guys a little rest.”

Lewis is a talented baseball player who came out for football last year for the first time. A shoulder injury early in the season limited his playing time.

Hall played linebacker and fullback on the DHS junior varsity squad. He volunteered to move to guard to help the Tigers fill a need on the offensive line.

Bennett finished second at the state wrestling tournament at 171 pounds last winter. He played JV football at Douglas as a sophomore, but didn’t play last season. Rippee said Bennett’s mental toughness and athletic ability will help the Tigers on both sides of the ball this season.

Senior Kevin Jones and junior Danilo Aguilera could also see playing time at guard this season.

Senior Tommy Hoyle, like Lewis, is a baseball player who first came out for football last year. Hoyle could be an impact player at tight end and defensive end this season.

“We expect our tight end to block, but Tommy can catch the ball and he can run,” Rippee said. “We’re excited about that. We hope to be able to utilize that weapon.”

Seniors Erik Olson and Mike Garren are the starters at the two receiver positions, but both also will see considerable playing time in the Tigers’ defensive backfield.

Fortunately for Douglas there’s no shortage of players capable of stepping into the X (wide) and Z (inside) receiver positions.

Junior Craig Bell is a speedy player who has exceptional body control in the air. He has the athletic ability to be a dangerous player at either receiver position.

Junior Drew Bateman gives the Tigers depth at the inside receiver spot.

Douglas coaches say sophomore Andy McIntosh has already stepped up to the varsity level mentally. He likely will see plenty of playing time at wide receiver and outside linebacker.

Throw Cauley into the mix and the Douglas receivers could easily be considered on of the top groups in the North.

“You could say our receiver corps has the potential to be very good,” Rippee said. “We have four or five guys who can really play and make some things happen.”

In addition to senior Monte McCann, junior Evan Bill and sophomore Dusty Cooper all have shown flashes of greatness at the halfback position.

Three players are in competition to play fullback. Senior David Tingle returns with limited varsity experience. Sophomores Stormy Herald and Jake Peterson are both tough runners who could earn playing time at the position.