FRANKTON — Otis Cress will begin his 29th and final season as Frankton’s football coach tonight at home against Anderson Preparatory Academy.
Cress, whose name already adorns the Eagles’ home field, has posted a 176-122 record in nearly three decades at the school. He’s led Frankton to five sectional championships, with the most recent coming in 2001.
Cress will hand the team over to assistant coach Cody Thompson next season, and the Eagles and their new coach likely will grow together.
Of the 37 players on Frankton’s roster this fall, 27 are freshmen or sophomores.
Among the players lost from a 5-5 team in 2012 is senior running back Cole Douglas, who rushed for 711 yards and seven touchdowns on 84 carries as part of one of the area’s top backfield tandems. The other half of that duo, junior Nik Clark, returns this season after carrying 145 times for 978 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Clark is also the Eagles’ leading returning receiver with 12 catches for 132 yards. Junior quarterback Braydon Ginder also is back after throwing for 590 yards and four scores.
Last year’s top receiver and leading return man, Austin Compton, will not return after a shoulder surgery cut his sophomore season short.
Frankton also lost eight of its 10 leading tacklers to graduation. Defensive lineman Jeremy Hensley is the top returnee with 43 stops and two tackles for loss in 2012. He also intercepted a pass and scored a safety.
Clark made 29 tackles, intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble on the defensive side of the ball last year.
Attempts to contact Cress and Thompson for this story were unsuccessful.