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Melrose Golden Wildcats seek to bounce back from tough 2017 season

The Melrose Golden Wildcats are coming off a disappointing 2017 season in which they went 3-8 and lost in the first round of the Class 3A Region 8 division. The Golden Wildcats lost 24-12 to the Covington Chargers in the first round of the playoffs.  Melrose has a tradition of competing deep into the state playoffs and would like to get back to their past glory.

Second-year head coach Ronald Davis was thrown into the fire only days into the season last year.  Since then, he has had time to implement his plan and develop his players.  His biggest obstacle so far: Replacing the 17 seniors who left last season.

“Last year was a whirlwind,” said Davis, who took over after his predecessor Teli White was suspended. “Coming into the season seven days before it started, I did not have any idea of what I was walking into. We did the best that we could and held the fort down.

“Although we went 3-8, I saw some very good things out of some kids,” he continued. “We ended the season with 32 kids.  Now we have 40 kids.  Not only have we replaced the seniors we have added to our depth.  We may have even gotten better in some spots.”

Having his players for an offseason has allowed him to get to know his players better and for them to understand his system. And having a conditioning plan put into place should help the team avoid the early season cramps that many smaller teams suffer because of a lack of depth.

“I am already proud of these kids of how they have stuck together,” Davis said.

Most of Melrose’s skill positions return this season. In Davis’ offense, skill position players are required to block in the run game.  Michael Holmes will handle the running load this season. “He is shifty and fast.  He has an understanding of what we are trying to do,” Davis said of Holmes.

At quarterback, 6’2” sophomore Will Mason is still learning his craft. Mason was a deer in headlight his freshman year and reportedly has a better understanding of the plays this season.

On defense, Melrose will rely on linebacker Antrell Kendrick to lead the charge. The team hangs out together off the field and are building team chemistry.

With 19 freshmen on his squad, Davis is working to build a solid foundation that will reap benefits not only this season, but for seasons to come. He wants his team to compete on every play and he won’t measure success just on wins and losses.

The Warriors and Golden Wildcats will open season against each other on August 17 at Crump Stadium.

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