16 Camps: Woodberry Forest Confident Despite Young Defense

Woodberry Forest achieved its team goal of winning the Prep League last season...and ended the year by beating rival Episcopal.

But this year...the Tigers say they're viewed as underdogs because of its losses to graduation.

"Its not a feeling, its a theme we're getting from everywhere," coach Clint Alexander said. "I told the team, 'We're too small, we're too young, too inexperienced.' I think we'll be okay with that."

Sophomore quarterback Lindell Stone is one of two quarterbacks returning for the Tigers who earned wins during the 2013 season. Stone and his teammates are focused on continuing the momentum they had during the one-loss season.

"I think we're really just conserving the energy that we ended with last year and bringing it into this year and kind of just building on it," he said. "I think that's the big thing with all of our young guys, just getting this experience."

The lone mark on the Tigers' 8-1 record -- a loss to Liberty Christian -- adds more motivation to the energy that's being carried over from last year, too.

"Our whole team has been thinking about that loss since it happened, that was crushing to us," junior offensive lineman Clark Yarbrough said. "That's definitely been a motivating factor in the weight room, on the field, in the spring just getting ready for the season. We're ready to get that loss back."

Although the team is looking to retrieve bragging rights from Liberty Christian, Woodberry Forrest's defense, won't be able to get back what it lost to graduation last season.

It returns only one starting linebacker and will be grounded up front with an entirely new defensive line. But Alexander has faith in his backfield to make the stops needed while the front line gets experience under its belt in the first few games this fall.

"Well we start with a really good defensive backfield, we've got some really positive players back there -- great leaders, very fast, can play one-on-one in the defensive backfield," Alexander said.

The coach hopes that backfield will be able to set the tone for the new defensive starters this year.

In addition to the two returning quarterback, the Tigers return an all-state runningback, most of the line and the offense features a receiving corps that Alexander believes will be one of the best in program history.

"We've got some veterans that we're counting a lot on on the offense," Alexander said. "If they can get their part done and control the ball and not turn the ball over, we've got a chance."

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