SPORTS HEADLINES

‘Jackets eye return to playoffs

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Boyd Yellowjackets fought through injuries last year to make the playoffs out of a tough District 5-2A Division I with a 4-7 record.

One benefit from last year’s injury-plagued season was that several young players received some valuable experience. Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins is hoping to see that experience start to pay off Monday afternoon when the Yellowjackets start their preseason work.

Boyd will hit the field at 6 p.m. for its first practice. They will be in the weight room at 7 a.m. Monday.

“We have a chance to be pretty solid,” said Hopkins, who starts his third season as the Yellowjackets’ head coach. “We played quite a few sophomores last year, and they took their lumps.”

The Yellowjackets will be short on numbers, according to Hopkins, with fewer than 60 players.

“Our freshman and sophomore classes are small overall classes,” Hopkins said. “We have a couple of classes where there’s eight to 10 players. Our junior class has 22 to 25.

“We can’t have the injuries like last year.”

Boyd brings back starting quarterback Clay Barnett, who threw for 1,083 yards and 11 touchdowns last year, to play behind a veteran offensive line with Matt McConnell and Sequoia Smith up front.

The Yellowjackets did graduate the program’s all-time rushing leader, Fino Cardona, who piled up 4,611 and 64 touchdowns over his career.

Boyd will look to junior Qualynn Wells, last year’s 5-2A Newcomer of the Year, to become the feature back. He ran for 379 yards and three scores a year ago.

Defensively, Smith is expected to be solid at one end. The Yellowjackets will need to replace a pair of starting linebackers.

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