Especially early in the season, if O’Hara is going to rebound from a 3-7 record, the offense will have to shoulder the load.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Fortunately for the Celtics, junior quarterback Michael Briggs returns with a full season of experience in coach Jim DeMarea’s spread offense.
“He is really calm, and we like that in him,” DeMarea said. “He doesn’t overreact, and I think he’s able to adjust to anything that comes at him. We hope he’s going to be a good leader.”
O’Hara’s top passing target entering the season is junior Zach Drake, but sophomore Jordan Supplee and senior Brett Kies are expected to emerge as reliable weapons for Briggs as the season unfolds.
Hopes are also sky high for sophomore running back Brock Hughes, a two-way starter and budding star.
Led by senior tackle Robert Martin, a three-year starter, two junior returning starters in center Tim Tinsley and guard Brian Downs, the Celtics expect to have a strong offensive line.
That group is bolstered by senior guard Garvey Jones and senior tackle Sawyer Meese, who come to O’Hara after St. Mary’s closed.
It’s a different story on defense.
“Our offense is going to be our strength until our defense can jell,” DeMarea said. “We lost a number of those kids.”
Returning defensive stalwarts are Hughes at linebacker, Larry Bosworth at strong safety and Stephen Conway at linebacker-defensive end.
Garvey and Downs will play both ways on the line.
“I’m hoping we’re past the building mode,” DeMarea said. “They had a real good off-season and real good camps this summer. I hope that continues. Hopefully, the boys remember that we’ve been in the playoffs before, and now it’s their time to go ahead and do it.”