Mark it down A new head coach and a new district could pay dividends for the Yellowjackets in 2018. If quarterback Cameron Clamon has a big year, expect a deep run from Kemp. 2017 RECORD 13-2 (2nd, District 6-3A) Kemp hopes to repeat success in 2018 oming off the heels of their his- toric 2017 season, the Kemp Yellowjackets look to repeat the magic of their first-ever run to the State semifinals in 2018. Kemp finished 13-2 overall with a 9-1 record in the regular season. Their playoff run included victories against Pottsboro, Mount Vernon, Commerce and Grandview. In the State semifinals at AT&T Stadium, the Yellowjackets fell to the Brock Eagles 45-21. Despite falling short of their ultimate goal, many believe in the hype that Kemp will be a force to be reckoned with. In the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football preseason poll for Class 3A Division I, Kemp is ranked No. 8, one spot ahead of the Malakoff Tigers, who will be a new district opponent to the Yellowjackets in Region II, District 6. Their other district opponents will Eustace, Dallas A+, Life- Oak Cliff and Dallas Madison. The Yellowjackets have also been picked to win their district with Malakoff as the district runners-up and Eustace in third place. Notable departures include running back Jordan Kempf and wide receiver Kane Johnson, both of whom graduated in May and were key contributors on of- fense. C Most coaches departed as well, notably head coach and athletic direc- tor Brandon Hankins, who left to take the same position at Farmersville in the spring. Head Coach Kemp’s new Lee head coach and Wilkins athletic director is Lee Wilkins, who previously coached at Kingwood. Wilkins has been impressed with the chemistry of the team during the summer and knows they will improve. “Their work ethic has been outstand- ing,” he says. “They are doing everything asked of them and more. The group as a whole wants to be great, and they are will- ing to do what it takes to be successful. We were behind in 7 on 7 because of the time frame of my hiring and getting my staff put together. We played really well at times against very good competition. We had a few minor injuries that kept a few players out, so that slowed our ability to build chemistry and timing, but we are a team that will not hide behind excuses. We will get better.” Senior spotlight Desmond Jones returns as the lead- ing receiver following 18 catches for 208 yards and one TD last year. He rushed for Jones 450 yards and six TD’s last year as the top returning rusher. He had a kickoff return for a touchdown last year as well. With a big season, Jones could give first-year coach Lee Wilkins comfort in his offensive system. 62 Wilkins may be with a new team, but he brings a special philosophy with years of experience. “I have always hung my hat on building teams based on discipline and tough- ness. Those two things will take you a long way in football, but more importantly they will take you a long way in life. Our staff preaches that on a daily basis.” With a team that returns a number of talent, it will be the senior class that looks to be the leaders and strength of the team. Seniors include quarterback Cameron Clamon, offensive lineman Noah Herring, linebacker Boomer Irvin, running back Desmond Jones and wide receivers Desmond Tutson, Jaise Bowie and Brock Dedie. “Like all of our players, they have shown a willingness and desire to work hard and demand us as coaches push them farther each day,” Wilkins says. “I’m just excited to see these young men grow as players and teammates. We look forward to representing the community of Kemp on and off the field.” Kemp’s season begins Aug. 31 at Sunnyvale. Other notable games include Homecoming on Oct. 19 when they host Dallas Madison and the regular season fi- nale on Nov. 9 at Malakoff. Did you know? 2018 Schedule DATE OPPONENT Aug. 31 Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26 Nov. 2 Nov. 9 at Sunnyvale (2-8) Mabank (1-9) Waxahachie Life (5-6) Commerce (6-7) Dallas Christian (9-3) Eustace (6-4)* Madison (3-7)* at Life Oak Cliff (2-8)* A+ Academy (0-8)* at Malakoff (9-2)* TIME 2017 RESULT 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 W 26-14 W 53-7 DNP W 23-14 DNP DNP W 43-14 W 54-0 DNP DNP Bold denotes homecoming game/* district game Opponent is listed with its 2017 overall season record RETURNING STARTERS: 16 (7/9) RETURNING LETTERMEN: 26 • The Yellowjackets come into the season ranked No. 8 in the state in the Class 3A, Division I Top 20 poll by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine. •A playoff appearance in 2018 would continue a streak of four straight appearances in the postsea- son since the records have been kept from 1980. •Senior linebacker Boomer Irvin al- ready has a Division I offer from Air Force and Navy. He had 133 tackles, one sack and three picks in 2017.