Veteran Titans want redemption for last season's snub

THE PLOT

Three things to watch

The playoff chase: 2017 was a breakthrough year for Trask. The Titans won a school-record eight games and exceeded expectations in the new Coastal 8 Conference with a third-place finish. Stunningly, Trask was left out of the 2A playoffs due to a seeding system that the N.C. High School Athletic Association has since changed. Head coach Jonathan Taylor was happy with his kids' ability to not dwell on the disappointment, but it's definitely serving as motivation. "If that kind of stuff from last year, the adversity in the end, if that doesn't put a little chip on your shoulder you're probably in the wrong business," Taylor said.

An impressive backfield: The Titans' triple-option attack took off toward the end of last season when Jake Johnson became comfortable within the offense. Johnson wasn't supposed to be the starting quarterback, but an injury to Tyrease Armstrong forced him into action. Now, Johnson (422 rushing yards) is back with two incredible weapons behind him in BJ Jordan (875 yards, seven touchdowns) and Anthony Tucker (568 yards, four TDs). The experienced group will look to pick up where they left off in 2017. "We had to kind of hold some stuff in at the beginning of the year because Jake was catching up with being a starter," Taylor said. "That's not going to be the case this year. I think everyone on the offense is excited to see what we can do."

The tackling machine: Foster Williamson led the area last year with 133 tackles. Back for his senior year, how many tackles could Williamson record in 2018? 150? We'll find out in November, but there's no doubt Williamson is one of the top defensive players in the state and will need another big year if Trask's defense wants to match the physicality of the Coastal 8's elite rushing offenses.

 

LAST YEAR

2017 record: 8-3 overall, 5-2 Coastal 8 (did not qualify for 2A playoffs)

 

THE PROGRAM

Head coach: Jonathan Taylor (fourth season, 19-27 record)

Coaching staff: Randy Pugh, Mark Rupnik, Tyler Pugh, Zac Rudisin, Lance Capps, Mark Williamson, Chuck Richardson, Matt Wilcox, Larry Johnson, Rocky Myrick.

Stadium: Trask Stadium (2,500 capacity), 14328 NC Highway 210, Rocky Point

 

THE PLAYERS

Returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense

3 players to watch: Sr. RB BJ Jordan (875 yards, 7 TDs); Sr. QB Jake Johnson (673 rushing yards, 9 TDs); Sr. LB Foster Williamson (133 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries).

 

SCHEDULE

Aug. 17 at Topsail

Aug. 24 vs. Lakewood

Aug. 30 vs. South Brunswick

Sept. 7 at Union

Sept. 21 at Pender*

Sept. 28 at Richlands*

Oct. 5 vs. Lejeune*

Oct. 12 at East Carteret*

Oct. 19 vs. Dixon*

Oct. 26 at Croatan*

Nov. 2 vs. Southwest Onslow*

* denotes Mideastern Conference game

-- Jackson Fuller