By Stan Veitch/Sports Correspondent
With a bevy of talent in key positions, the Gadsden City High football team is in position to possibly have a banner season. The Titans have high expectations, and that’s not just from the fans. It’s from the team, as well.
“We’ve got more speed on defense than last year,” coach Matt Scott said. “We’ve got a lot of experience at the skill positions and a lot of depth.”
Senior Ahmad De-Ramus returns at quar-terback, while backup Ryan Sparks got a good bit of playing time last year. In 2014, DeRamus threw for 1,588 yards and seven touchdowns.
Last year, the Titans played 12 offensive skill players and nine of them are back.
“What people don’t understand is that they didn’t just go in to play in ‘mop-up’ time,” Scott said. “We rotated them in and out in the first quarter.”
There are several three-year starters on the team, including DeRamus, senior run-ning back Rodney Bozeman, senior re-ceivers Darnell and Denzel Mooney and Jalen Swain and ju-nior linebackers Jarvis McKee and Eric Ran-som. McKee and Ransom finished with 76 and 59 tackles, res-pectively, last season.
As a rotational back last season, Bozeman ran for 572 yards and six touchdowns. Darnell Mooney had 25 catches and five touchdowns, while Denzel and senior Jay-lon Williams each had 15 receptions and five scores. Swain added 12 catches.
Besides the nine experienced skill pla-yers, Scott has at least two sophomores who he plans to get in the mix a little.
With all that said about the offense, Scott said the deepest unit on the team is the defensive line, which is anchored by senior Tyrelle Brasher (6-2, 325) and junior Dam-ian Thompson (6-2, 300), who had 44 tackles in 2014.
“There are seven guys we can rotate in and out,” Scott said. “And again, that starts in the first quarter.”
The two units that will be mostly new are the offensive line and the defensive secon-dary.
Senior Jamal Jelks (6-3, 315) is the only returning starter on the O-line, but Terrance senior Lane and junior Gregory Collins got a lot of playing time last year.
Senior Trey Brasher (61 tackles in ‘14) also returns.
The Titans are replacing three-out-of-four players in the secondary. Jer’Michael Isom had 33 tackles and two interceptions at cor-nerback last season as a sophomore.
Scott said that senior kicker Parker Holland “has really come on. He’s one of the best kickers in the state.” Holland connected on 40-of-47 PATs last season.
Gadsden City is once again in Class 7A, Region 4 with the likes of James Clemens, Bob Jones, Hunts-ville, Buckhorn, Madison County, Gri-ssom, Hazel Green and Sparkman. The Titans won region title in 2014 and lost to eventual state champion Hoover in the state semifinals.
“As usual, some of the Huntsville schools will be loaded with talent,” Scott said. “Buckhorn has some 1A prospects and Bob Jones is always a contender. Clemens has a lot back from last year’s 7-4 squad.”
Assistant coaches are Ali Smith, Zac Glaze, Chris Gunn, Scott Brackett, An-drew Thomas, Hun-ter Scott, Jay Tinker, Larry Poole, Ray Ed-wards, Brad Lowe, Trent Walker, Renza Avery Jr., Jay Estes, Dalton Nelson and Hunter Crumpton.