The Patriots returned to their dominating form of the early to mid 2000s last year and parlayed their first conference title in years into an undefeated regular season and state championship aspirations. Those dreams were shattered with a second round loss to Hough, but new coach Justin Hardin has a track record of success and inherits a talented roster hungry to prove 2104 was just the beginning.
The offense returns just one starter in running back Quantavious McGill, but he’s a good one. McGill got stronger as the year went on and became the Patriots’ lead back. As a junior, McGill gained more than 1,000 rushing yards and scored 16 touchdowns despite sharing carries. This year, he likely gets more of the workload and is in line for a huge year.
Quarterback Christian McPhail started one game last year and threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns during the year. The bad news is McPhail threw three interceptions, completed just over 50 percent of his passes and isn’t the runner of Kelvin Hopkins, Independence’s star last year who accounted for more than 2,600 yards of offense and 39 touchdowns in 2014. […]