“We like to spread out a little bit,” coach Mike Harmon said.
The Commodores are a young team that will start 8 to 10 sophomores, but Harmon says they are a very talented group of sophomores.
“We have an extremely talented freshman class as well, and you might see a couple of those guys on the field,” Harmon.
Tates will be led by senior quarterback and returning starter Martell Berry. In eight games last year, he threw for 460 yards and six touchdowns.
Tates Creek has a couple young running backs who will get touches but haven’t seen much varsity time.
On defense, the Commodores return Dennis Oxendine, who led the city of Lexington in interceptions as a sophomore last year with 11 picks.
In 2010, East Jessamine went 8-4 overall, winning its first playoff game in coach Mike Bowlin’s tenure.
This season, East will be led on offense by Thomas. In 2010, he racked up more than 2,400 yards in 12 games. At quarterback, East will rely on first-year starter Cody Garrett.
East Jessamine coach Mike Bowlin hopes to shut down some of Tates attack with linebackers Tyler Nguyen and Hayden Tatman and corner James Russell.
“We’re going to have a lot of kids out there for us that haven’t been out there on a Friday night and don’t know what it’s like to actually step in there and get it done,” Bowlin said. “Until you get out there and do it, you never know."
West Jessamine vs. Somerset
In the second game, West Jessamine will face Somerset at approximately 8:50 p.m.
Somerset is coming off a 13-1 season, its one loss coming in the Class 3A state semifinals to Belfry.
However, the Briar Jumpers lost 20 seniors from that team.
“We have several seniors this year that have stepped up into a leadership role,” coach Robbie Lucas said. “As young as we are, don’t be surprised if we have sophomores or juniors that step up.”
Somerset touts an all-state receiver in Storm Wilson and a talented running back in Tevin Slaughter. Wilson had 40 catches in 2010 for more than 740 yards and 14 touchdowns. Slaughter saw limited action last year but still had two touchdowns on seven carries and will be a primary back this fall.
West Jessamine went 8-4 overall last year and won its second playoff game in school history, upsetting Holmes.
The Colts return a number of play-makers such as Sean Donaldson, Will Knight and last year’s leading rusher, Romando Tatum
“Basically we have two of our top three receivers back and our leading rusher, but we’re missing the guys who open the holes for them, and we’re missing the guy to pull the trigger,” West coach Graham Heasley said.
Donaldson and Knight will also be top players on defense along with Robbie Irgang at linebacker.
• By choosing to play in “week zero” of the high-school football season, all four teams will only have one preseason scrimmage. However, they will have a bye week later in the season.
• Residents of Jessamine County and those familiar with the area are asked to park at East Jessamine Middle School.
The district is providing buses to shuttle fans, free of charge, from East Middle to East High.
• Admission to the bowl is $7 for both games.