Looking for highlight video of Bryan Station quarterback Ora "Bo" Johnson? Cue up the Defenders' regular-season finale last year.
Johnson completed 31 of 44 passes for 452 yards and five touchdowns, and ran 22 times for 99 yards and two scores to lead Bryan Station to a wild 55-52 overtime victory against eventual Class 4A state runner-up Collins.
Johnson returns this season, along with a talented group of receivers.
"When you have a three-year starter at quarterback and wide receivers who can make plays, you've got to feel good about those positions," Coach Frank Parks said.
Johnson, a 6-foot, 175-pound senior, has thrown for 4,165 yards and 41 TDs in his career, and rushed for 994 yards and 14 TDs.
Parks said Johnson has improved his mechanics and should be more efficient this year. He'll have plenty of skill people surrounding him.
Bryan Station senior defensive back Jamar Brooks goes against Johnson in practice, so he knows how difficult the Defenders are to contain: "We've got some strong weapons — a mobile quarterback who has a good arm and a lot of smart, fast receivers."
Johnson's targets include Marcus Floyd, who had 14 receptions for 208 yards and two scores against Collins. He had 39 catches for 707 yards and nine TDs for the season.
LaVelle Cloyd (21 catches, 361 yards, six TDs) is tall (6-3) and fast (4.5). Glenn Spencer, Tequan Claitt and Devon Key are also reliable receivers.
Parks expects sophomores Key and K-Ci Carmichael to be robust running backs and make the Defenders more balanced than last year.
The offensive line will be anchored by Jordan Dawson, Brannon Sturgeon, Dermonte Bond and Mikel Horton.
"We'll make some minor adjustments on offense, but everyone is a year older and familiar with what we're trying to do," Parks said.
He's also optimistic about his defense, which will be led by standout cornerbacks Brooks and Spencer.
Johnson, Carmichael, Claitt and Andre Davis will see time in the secondary. Keondre Bradley, Jesse Tudor and Horton will shore up the defensive line. Jamaree Robertson and Shane Preston are outside linebackers, with Parks still looking for inside guys.
Johnson said Bryan Station's style is simple but effective: "We need to play fast and quick and get to the ball. We need to stay disciplined. If we do what we do, we should be all right."
The Defenders' early schedule is daunting. They play Murray, one of the best teams in 2A, in their opener, then take on defending state champs Bowling Green (5A) and Highlands (4A). Their home opener is against 4A power Lexington Catholic.
Parks said he wanted to expose his players to "elite status" competition "so they can see what kind of intensity and focus those teams have on every play. With this schedule, I want our guys to play with a sense of urgency."
Brooks said "nobody expects Bryan Station to beat those kind of teams, but if we do, we'll shock the city and shock the state.
"Our motivation is being the underdog, people thinking we won't be able to do this or do that. We want to prove them wrong."
Aug. 24 x-Murray, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 31 y-Bowling Green, 5 p.m.
Sept. 6 at Highlands
Sept. 13 LEXINGTON CATHOLIC
Sept. 27 at Tates Creek
Oct. 4 LAFAYETTE
Oct. 10 PAUL DUNBAR
Oct. 18 at Scott County
Oct. 25 HENRY CLAY
Nov. 1 at Ballard
Note: Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted. Home games in capital letters.
x-Roy Kidd Bowl at Madison Central
y-Bluegrass Bowl at Lexington Catholic
Coach: Frank Parks (second year)
Last year: 6-5 (lost to Simon Kenton in first round of 6A playoffs)
Top players: Ora Johnson (QB/S), Jamar Brooks (DB), Glenn Spencer (DB/WR), Jordan Dawson (OL), LaVelle Cloyd (WR), Jamaree Robertson (OLB), Marcus Floyd (WR), Dermonte Bond (OL), Brannon Sturgeon (OL), Jesse Tudor (DL/RB), K-Ci Carmichael (RB), Tequan Claitt (WR/S), Devon Key (RB/WR).
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.