Replacing two backs the caliber of what Maplewood was blessed with last year figures to be a monumental assignment for coach Arcentae Broome.
The backfield duo of Stanley Hagan and Ladarius Vanlier combined for more than 3,000 rushing yards and helped Maplewood reach the Class 4A state championship game.
The 2012 replacement plan?
“It’s going to have to be by committee,” Broome said earlier this week. “We have three-four guys who are capable of starting and doing the job for us. But the issue comes when you consider all of them play defense as well. So fatigue can very well come into play.
“No one has yet jumped to the front. We’ll just see who emerges as we move along with practice. But replacing those two guys will be very difficult.”
The Panthers (13-2 and region champs last season) kick off the 44th annual Metro Jamboree at 7 p.m. Thursday on their home field against Hillwood in the first of the two-quarter sessions. Pearl-Cohn then meets Hunters Lane, which is trying to rebuild under coach William Darnell after going 1-19 the past two seasons.
Maplewood’s quarterback battle to replace graduated Alvin Stokes (now playing for Concordia (Ala.) College, looks to be between senior Kendrick Watts and junior Ladarius Wimbley for his replacement.
“Both have their strengths,” Broome said.
• East Nashville High: New East Nashville Magnet coach Brian Waite will send his Eagles into action for the first time Saturday against Glencliff.
The youthful Waite, 31, an assistant for three years under Jim Wilson who retired, was excited about his first team. The school, formerly East Literature Magnet, changed its name at the end of the school year.
“We have our work cut out for us, but what is exciting is we are exceptionally talented,” Waite said. “We just have to adapt to the team concept.”
Waite was especially excited about junior wide receiver Patrick Smith.
“He is someone we have to find a way to get the ball too, because he’s got breakaway speed,” Waite said. “Also, our quarterback [sophomore] Isiah Upton is a real talent for us.”
Defensively, Waite said he was counting heavily on players like senior linebacker Alex Vaughn and junior linebacker/defensive back Brandon Van Leer.
“They have looked exceptionally well in practice,’’ he said.
• Glencliff High: Brandon Easley is starting his second year as the Colts head coach after having guided them to the playoffs last season. They finished 6-5 with an opening round Class 5A loss to powerhouse Gallatin.
“We got to Game 11 last season,” Easley said. “This year, our goal is to get to Game 12, one more game. Ultimately, we’re pushing for 15 games [the state championship round].
“We have some truly great senior leadership this year, which I think will carry us a long way. We’ve been at the bottom of the barrel before, and we don’t like how it smells down there. We need to continue our climb upward, stay positive and work hard.”
It appears that first-year senior Joel Waters has landed the job as quarterback.
“He has picked up the offense really well,” Easley said.
• McGavock High: Under third-year coach Jay Gore, McGavock’s Raiders are expected to continue to use the pass as a major part of their offense.
At McGavock, quarterback is clearly the focal point of the offense, given the number of times the Raiders throw the ball. In last year’s jamboree, they passed 22 out of 25 plays.
Gore said two players were battling for the position – senior DeAnthony Patrick and junior Justin McAbee.
“Each has his individual skills, one’s a little better on his feet, the other has a better arm. We throw the ball – that’s what we do,” Gore said.
He added that his team had 55 players out.
“In the Jamboree, we hope to get them to line up right, with the biggest goal being not to get anyone injured,” Gore said.
• Whites Creek High: Whites Creek returns just four offensive and three defensive starters, but second-year coach Scott Murray is still optimistic.
“We’re very inexperienced,” he said. “But we’re athletic at the skill positions, and we have a group that’s really working hard.”
The most prominent of those is senior lineman Michael Cain (5-foot-10, 312 pounds), who can play any of the offensive line positions, including center, where he is expected to start, as well as defensive line. Blessed with speed as well as bulk, he is a top college prospect.
“He’s a major part of both offensive and defensive lines, and he’s an excellent leader,” Murray said.
The battle for quarterback is between senior Antonio Turner and senior transfer James Cox.
The Cobras hope to build on last year’s 4-6 campaign.
44th Metro Jamboree schedule
(Games are two quarters each)
(at Maplewood High)
Hillwood vs. Maplewood, 7 p.m.
Pearl-Cohn vs. Hunters Lane, 8:30 p.m.
(at Cane Ridge High)
Donelson Christian Academy vs. Cane Ridge, 6 p.m.
McGavock vs. Stratford, 7:30 p.m.
Whites Creek vs. Antioch, 9 p.m.
(at Overton High)
Hillsboro vs. Overton, 7 p.m.
East Nashville vs. Glencliff, 8:30 p.m.