#8SportsBlitz Pre-Season: Douglas Freeman, J.R. Tucker

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) —

DOUGLAS FREEMAN

The Douglas Freeman Rebels have made back-to-back playoff runs in 5A, but it will be much more difficult for Head Coach Mike Henderson to replicate that success in 2015.

For starters, not many (starters) return for Freeman. The skill positions were particularly hard hit. According to Henderson, three quarterbacks are still competing for the starting job and four running backs are sorting out that position as well. On the other side of the ball, the secondary is mostly new as well.

The Rebels’ strong point will be the interior, where most of the returning starters play.

Returning non-starters and JV call-ups are always uncertain. Sometimes, the kids in ninth and tenth grade turn out to be studs-in-waiting. Sometimes they don’t realize their potential at the next level. Henderson has won multiple state titles in the VISAA, so he knows how to coach. If Freeman succeeds again this season, it will be one of his best coaching jobs.

J.R. TUCKER

The Tucker Tigers move up from 4A to 5A this season, and that will make a playoff run even more difficult for fourth-year Head Coach George Earle.

But the man has a plan.

Earle hopes his single wing attack featuring Taj Conway and Marcus Tarrer will defenses again this season and propel Tucker to a 7-3 record, which he believes will put them in the playoffs.

In order to do that, Earle says the blocking up front needs to improve over last season and his offense will need to be more of a threat to throw the ball. The Tigers will also have to replace QB Malik Van Brussell, a terrific athlete who graduated.

The Tigers face a brutal stretch in weeks two, three, and four of the season when they travel to Hanover and Henrico and follow that up with a home game against Hermitage. If Earle’s squad can start the season 2-2, his Tigers stand a decent chance of reaching that 7-3 goal.

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