BROOKESMITH —  Jeremy Black has decided to return for his second consecutive year as coach of the Brookesmith Mustangs, which will be his third overall at the helm of the ’Stangs. Black left the program after coaching in 2009 for family reasons and came back in 2012 to coaching.

Last year was a difficult one for the Mustangs, as they went 1-9. Black is looking to improve greatly this season.

“The main thing about last year is that we got physically whipped in every game,” Black said.

Black said that the Brookesmith kids didn’t spend much time in the weight room before he got there last season, and it cost them on the field.

“Didn’t really matter what we did,” Black said. “When the guy across from you is bigger and stronger, you will get physically whipped every time.”

Black said that his kids participated in voluntary workouts during the offseason and hopes that it will bear fruit for the Mustangs.

Another key thing involved in last season’s losing record were injuries, offensively and defensively.

“You lose one or two key players in a game where you’ve only got six on the field, that really makes a difference,” Black said. “A lot of the younger kids got to step up and get experience, so that was a good thing for us.

Two-a-days start Aug. 5, and Black is eager to get things going. In reference to his starting lineup, Black said, “It all depends on who shows up and which combinations work best for us. Everyone is healthy now and I expect 18 players to show up for two-a-days. That’s actually a high number for us, considering our enrollment.”

Black is excited about the play of sophomore Devon Eason during his first season as a freshman and expects him to step up this season.

“He played running back, wide receiver and did some throwing for us, so we may try him out as a quarterback also,” Black said.

Seven lettermen are returning to play for Black this season including key players Gage Fenton and Peyton Donahoo at the wideout spot.  

Black said he has three starters on both sides of the ball coming back and expects some of the kids moving up from junior high to make a contribution on the field as well.

“We’re trying to make the entire program a stronger one,” Black said. “We hope to keep everyone healthy and eligible to play. If we can keep our numbers up all season, we will be all right.”

Black believes that strength and conditioning will help prevent some of the injuries the Mustangs sustained last season.