Tyner has everything needed for a special season

Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Tyner quarterback Josh Jackson, right, has a big arm that he will unleash on opposing secondaries this fall.

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Head coach: Scott Chandler (7-4 here; 43-33 overall)

Returning starters: 7 offensive; 7 defensive

Last year's record: 7-4 overall, lost in Class 2A first round

Key players: Josh Jackson (6-3, 205) Sr. QB, Jersey Chubb (5-10, 225) Jr. RB/LB, Journe Norwood (6-4, 295) Sr. OL/DL, Josiah Bridgeman (6-1, 180) Sr. LB, Jonah Chapman (5-11, 255) Sr. OL/DL, Zashun Hubbard (5-10, 170) Sr. WR, Jamarion Varnell (6-1, 275) Sr. DL

Season outlook: A much quieter offseason could help the Rams make a lot more noise on the field.

Last year Tyner had three head coaching changes in a five-month span, but now Chandler follows his first season on the field with his own offseason workout and conditioning program. That, plus the return of 14 total starters as well as several transfers expected to make an immediate impact, has expectations soaring.

"We've got some really talented kids who could make it a special season," Chandler said. "We have 18 seniors, and all of them should contribute. Most of those kids are going into their third year as either starters or guys who have played a ton of snaps.

"We have to be able to run the ball and defend the run better than we did last year. That's the difference between potential and putting it all together the way we believe we can. But there's good size, speed and experience, so I'm as anxious as anybody to see us get after it."

The Rams opened last season with six straight wins, averaging 40 points per game, before things began to collapse. They averaged just 12 points in losing five of their last six, including a first-round playoff exit. The last time Tyner advanced past the second round was five years ago, when it reached the title game.

The offensive line anchored by Norwood - who is being recruited by multiple Football Bowl Subdivision programs - and the defensive line led by Varnell both have plenty of potential, while the starting backfield returns intact with Jackson, a dual threat who had more than 1,500 total yards last season, and Chubb, a power runner who wears on opponents. Hubbard has game-breaking potential on the perimeter, as does newcomer Jaydan Parker.

The schedule is also more conducive to success as key Region 3-2A games against Marion and Meigs County are at home and, unlike last year, not in back-to-back weeks.