Last season: 5-6 (3-3 in 7-5A)
Key players: QB Vince Burton (6-2, 210); RB Keyshawn Everly (5-10, 185); WR Jaylon McLean (6-3, 210); WR Bryce Grubbs (6-0, 175); WR Gabe Woodard (5-10, 160); OL Kameron Dixon (6-1, 265); LB Cordell Palmer (5-7, 165), LB Noah Soto (5-6, 200); CB Vernon Kimbrough (5-7, 165).
The big picture: After a 3-17 record during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Trimble Tech has gone .500 (11-11) with back-to-back playoff trips the past two years. The Bulldogs snapped a 25-year playoff drought in 2014, but face a large turnover with only five offensive starters returning, eight overall, and five seniors. “The push is coming from the returners, they know the urgency and pressure to get the whole team ready,” coach Dwayne Henry said. One of those seniors will be wide receiver Jaylon McLean, who had 57 catches, 528 yards and 7 TDs. Someone will have to find McLean the ball, and that someone could be junior quarterback Vince Burton. “This upcoming season I see a lot of great things happening for us and we have tons of potential,” Burton said. Another area of emphasis will be running back, trying to replace Tylar Smith (990 rush, 12 TDs). Junior Keishawn Everly saw limited playing time last season, but could be stepping into that starting role. Noah Soto, Vernon Kimbrough, Bryce Grubbs and McLean also had rushing attempts last season. Clearing the way up front will be senior lineman Kameron Dixon, while senior Pedro Lara and junior Derick Washington also return. “Our strength will be our offense this year, we have a pretty good receiving corps,” Henry said. The younger guys will have to step up defensively. Returning defensive starters include linebacker Cordell Palmer (65 tackles), Kimbrough at cornerback and Soto at linebacker.
Quotable: “The seniors stepped up to the challenge with their leadership. They’ve taken on that role, being the big brother and taking responsibility, helping the young guys pay more attention and stay focused during practice.” — Coach Dwayne Henry
“The off-season was probably one of the best. We have a lot of younger guys coming into the program and for the upperclassmen, we had to set an example for them. I can’t wait to get out on the field and show everyone what we are all about.” — QB Vince Burton
Notable: The Bulldogs have won 11 games the past two seasons, the most in a two-year stretch since winning 12 in 2008 and 2009.