While depth will remain a challenge for Briggs, its players also need to grow up in a hurry.

In addition to a roster that numbers fewer than 30 players, the Bruins must use many first-year varsity players to replace nine 2019 graduates who had starting roles.

"We're very sophomore and freshman heavy," said third-year coach Sean Zink, whose team opens Aug. 30 at Olentangy Berlin. "Out of the 29 on the roster, 12 are sophomores and seven are freshman. ... We have a lot of talent, but it's just developing that talent in the right way over the next two years."

Zink came to Briggs from Licking Heights, where he was an assistant, and is familiar with the City-South after leading Africentric's program for one season in 2014.

His task will be trying to end the streak of nine losing seasons for the Bruins, who went 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the City-South behind champion Eastmoor (7-0), Walnut Ridge (6-1), Marion-Franklin (5-2), Independence (4-3) and Columbus South (3-4) and ahead of Columbus West (1-6) and Africentric (0-7).

Briggs has not had a winning record since 2010, when it went 6-4 overall. However, last season's 50-0 victory over local rival Columbus West in week 10 marked the Bruins' first against the Cowboys in eight seasons.

Sophomore running back David Downs (first-team all-league) and sophomore lineman Glen Browning are the only returning starters on offense, although junior lineman Lashawn Dillard played varsity as a freshman before missing last season.

Two starters also return on defense in Downs (linebacker) and senior Mykeal Daniels (secondary). Junior linebacker Tyler Barbee saw playing time as a freshman but also missed last season.

Among the 2019 graduates the Bruins must replace are linebacker Jaylen Smith (first-team all-league, honorable-mention all-district), quarterback Josh Gainey (second-team all-league), running back Eli Dillion (second-team all-league) and receiver Jalin Lake (second-team all-league).

"I see a good future, but obviously we can't fast-forward," Zink said. "We've got to focus on developing it this year. We have to stay healthy and use our athleticism, getting people in the right positions to be successful."


Junior David March and sophomore transfer Tajh Bowers have been competing at quarterback and one of them will lead an offense that averaged 15 points last season.

"They're both very similar," Zink said. "David was with us last year, but he didn't play a lot. We've seen some sparks from Tajh in practice, which has given him the edge, but both are pretty good."

The offensive line includes two freshmen in Trent Hatfield and Nick Boldizsar. Dillard and junior Aaron Whiteside are expected to be the other starters up front with Browning, blocking for Downs at running back.

Fullback Johnny In, tight end Jaden Osborne and wingback Daniels are the starting seniors.


All but one of the Bruins' defensive starters -- sophomore defensive back Tyler Robson -- will play both ways.

Senior linebackers Isaiah Auls and Osborne and Daniels in the secondary are expected to lead the defense, which allowed 36.6 points per game last season.

"We're trying to build these guys into athletes and to get them to understand the basics," Zink said.

"I like their desire to work as a team. We had good numbers in the weight room."


Downs will do the kicking and punting for the Bruins, with Osborne as the long snapper. Osborne also is expected to return kicks along with Daniels.



Quarterbacks: Tajh Bowers (so., 6-1, 160), David March (jr., 6-2, 140)

Running backs: *David Downs (so., 5-9, 185), Jaevon Thomas (so., 5-11, 175)

Fullbacks: *Johnny In (sr., 5-8, 170), Isaiah Auls (sr., 5-9, 215)

Tight ends: *Jaden Osborne (sr., 5-9, 140), Tyler Barbee (jr., 5-11, 170)

Wingbacks: *Mykeal Daniels (sr., 5-8, 140), David Martinez (so., 5-8, 140)

Linemen: *Nick Boldizsar (fr., 5-8, 192), *Glen Browning (so., 6-1, 285), *Lashawn Dillard (jr., 6-4, 260), *Trent Hatfield (fr., 5-8, 235), *Aaron Whiteside (jr., 6-1, 295)


Linemen: *Dillard, *Whiteside, Boldizsar, Browning, Hatfield

Linebackers: *Auls, *Barbee, *Downs, *In, *Osborne, Stacey Lindsay (jr., 5-8, 165)

Secondary: *Daniels, *Martinez, *Tyler Robson (so., 5-9, 165), March

Special teams

Kicker: *Downs

Punter: *Downs

Returners: Daniels and Osborne

Long snapper: *Osborne

(*Denotes projected starter)