CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There may not be another team in the SW 4A Conference bringing back as much experience as Myers Park’s 14 returners. But after a 5-6 finish in 2010 that included a six-game losing streak, head coach Greg Taylor knows the number of starters back this fall doesn’t automatically equal wins.
“Just because we’ve got a bunch of starters back doesn’t mean anything. The people we play don’t care who is coming back,” Taylor said.
Entering his second season with the Mustangs, Taylor is focused on picking up where MPHS left off. Myers Park closed the season with three straight victories over South Mecklenburg, Independence and Rocky River. A field goal in the last minute completed the come-from-behind victory against the Sabres in week nine, followed up by another rallying effort against the Patriots.
“We had a real good finish,” Taylor said. “We thought we had made the playoffs. That 5-6 record had been good enough to make the playoffs for the last 17 years but it just fell differently last year.”
If nothing else, the Mustangs have momentum and optimism entering fall practices.
“That’s what I told our players,” Taylor added. “We hope we built some momentum and hope it carries over into this season. It certainly did into the offeseason. “
After a small senior class last fall, seven players on each side of the ball return as starters, Taylor said. Leading the way on defense is a trio of senior linebackers in Matt Blanton, Mychal Turner, and Garett Guysel.
“They are physical football players. They can all run. They are all smart, know where to be, so we will kind of lean on them for leadership defensively. If they don’t play well, we will be in trouble.”
On offense, four of Myers Park’s top six receivers are back in the mix, and quarterback Ross Jeffries returns for his junior campaign.
“The biggest thing I think that should help us improve is that it’s these kids’ second year in the offensive and defensive systems. Things wont be new. They will be a bit more reactive to things instead of having to think. So we’re hopeful that’ll make a big difference,” Taylor said.
The schedule is an ominous one for the Mustangs, with road games at Butler, Ardrey Kell and South Meck. But Taylor remains hopeful.
“If we can keep improving, maybe we can improve our record a little bit,” he said. “ I don’t know if we have any stars, but we’ve got a lot of capable football players doing it as a team.”
9/2 @ Olympic
9/9 @North Mecklenburg
9/16 @ Butler
9/23 East Mecklenburg
9/30 @ Ardrey Kell
10/14 @ South Mecklenburg
10/28 Rocky River