Kell's football program does not care about style, especially in the spring.
The Longhorns want winners.
Last season, Kell went 9-3, averaging 35 points per game, before losing to Buford in the second round Class AAAAA playoffs. For coach Brett Sloan, there is room to be bounce back.
“After the loss, I knew we would lose a lot of leadership from our seniors,” Sloan said. “The good thing is, we have young players who have seen how it should be done. It’s time to pass the torch to them.”
Sloan said he enjoyed watching the players perform at a high level during spring practice.
“I was pleased with the intensity and how they came to play,” he said.
Kell graduated 23 players -- 10 on offense, 13 on defense -- most notably quarterback and captain Evan Conley. Conley passed for 2,202 yards and 30 touchdowns in his senior year, signing with Louisville in December.
Conley’s departure leaves juniors Corbin LaFrance and Jaylen Brown fighting for the starting quarterback job come fall.
“We have two juniors in Corbin and Jaylen who got reps at quarterback this spring,” Sloan said. “Corbin played a lot for us last season behind Evan. Jaylen is an amazing athlete, so we had him at wide receiver last year. Both will have the opportunity to show what they can do.
Lafrance stands just under 6 feet and excels in the short passing game. Brown amassed 362 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season.
The defense was captained by ball-hawking safety Nicholas Ross and disruptive pass-rusher Justin Talley. Ross had a team-high four interceptions, while Talley amassed 88 tackles and 13 sacks.
With both gone, Kell will likely turn more to linebacker Branson Hall, last season’s leading tackler with 110.
With a depleted squad on both sides of the ball, repetitions are the only tool the Longhorns’ coach staff can use, and that will be key with returning running back Ebony Jackson.
Jackson, who is also a sprinter on the track team, won state titles this spring in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and Sloan plans to use Jackson’s attributes this season.
“He is so dynamic with the football,” Sloan said of Jackson, who committed to Tennessee in April before reopening the recruiting process earlier this month. “He will be heavily involved on the field next season, whether we put him out wide at receiver or as a returner.”
Sloan incorporates a “smash-mouth" style play for the Longhorns, especially at running back spot with Jackson and B.J Abson, who combined for 926 yards and 11 trips to the end zone last fall.
The plan for Sloan and the Kell coaching staff is just to set a solid foundation.
“The expectations of how we want to practice is what we want to implement in the offseason,” Sloan said. “Everyone looked great, so we just have to build on that.