2017 Highlight Zone Preview: Bellmont Braves

DECATUR, Ind. (WANE) – Coach Marty Ballard enters his second season leading the Bellmont program with high expectations for the Braves in 2017.

That optimism starts in the trenches – specifically on offense, where three-year starting center Braiden Shaw and classmate Derek Simon return to guide unit with plenty of Friday night experience. While two-time Fab 15 selection Caleb Hankenson is now at Saint Francis, the Braves have a number of players to fill that void at running back. At quarterback, two-year starter Grant Gutierrez has graduated, and Noah Macklin is expected to take the reigns of the offense.

Defensively, the Braves will miss the tackling firepower of Hankenson and former standout Tony Busse, but Mike Metz and Colin Mills are expected to lead along with Shaw and Simon up front.

The Braves went 3-8 last year and open the 2017 campaign August 18 at home against Adams Central.