Playing in a tough Region 6-A, the Wildcats hope to repeat their perfect 14-0 season from last year.
However, this year’s Wayne County team is expected to be a far cry from the team that handed always-powerful South Pittsburg a 27-14 defeat in the 2011 Blue Cross Bowl.
In fact, the coaches in Region 6-A are predicting the Wildcats will finish no better than fifth below Mt. Pleasant, Loretto, Columbia Academy and Collinwood.
Primarily, this belief is due to the major rebuilding job the Waynesboro coaching staff has this season with only five seniors suiting up for the 2012 campaign.
And only one of those seniors has a lot of playing experience from last season’s team.
Brandon Lowe (6-1, 189) was second team All-Region last season from his work at free safety. He is also the probable pick at the starting job at quarterback for the Wildcats this year.
Senior Carson Kelly (5-9, 185) will get the nod at fullback and linebacker. He is described as being a tough player.
Anchoring the offensive line and defensive end is senior Dylan Jackson (6-0, 200), who is also described as being a tough player.
Senior Brandon Frazier (6-2, 280) hasn’t played football since his freshman year but with his size and strength, he is expected to help the Wildcats in a hurry, as is classmate Tyler Mitchell (6-0, 190) in the offensive line.
Giving Lowe competition for the starting job at QB are junior Keeton Kelly (6-0, 160) and sophomore Chase Turnbow (5-9, 175).
If he doesn’t get the quarterback job, Kelly will see action at wide receiver and defensive back. Turnbow’s toughness will see him playing linebacker.
Junior Toney Van Etten (5-8, 150) is a two-way starter this year in the Wildcat secondary and at either wide receiver or runningback. Also getting the ball at runningback will be Jacob Bevis (5-7, 150) and Evan Sadler (5-8, 170).
Sadler was ineligible to play last season but is a quick learner and Bevis has a lot of speed and toughness and will probably be the starting RB for Wayne County.
Ian Powell (6-2, 175) is an outstanding receiver who may give the Raiders’ inexperienced secondary fits on Friday night.
Despite their youth, two Wildcat sophomores seem to have bright futures on the gridiron in Kaden Davis (5-9, 185) and Peyton Bratcher (6-0, 250).
Davis will be the starting center for the Wildcats and the Wayne County coaching staff seems to think Bratcher may be the best lineman the Wildcats have ever had.
The Raiders have looked good in their pre-season scrimmage games but can’t afford to overlook the Wildcats or any other team on their schedule this season.
After the home opener, they will travel to Cornersville on Aug. 24, and then to Eagleville for a key Region 9-A tilt on Aug. 30 for a rare Thursday night game.
The Raiders return to Lynchburg for home games against East Robertson and then a region game against Middle Tennessee Christian.
They will travel to McMinnville to play AAA Warren County on Sept. 21 and then host Huntland and Cascade on Sept 28 and Oct. 5 respectively.
The Raiders will close out the regular 2012 season on the road against Community and Forrest.
Kick-off for tomorrow’s game is set for 7 p.m.