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The first team defense works on rushing the passer during a Wildcat practice Thursday afternoon at Saks High School. Saks opens the season August 24 at Alabama Christian Academy. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

A capsule look at Saks:

HEAD COACH:

Jonathan Miller, 58-15, entering seventh year overall, all at Saks.

CLASS, REGION:

Class 3A, Region 6

LAST YEAR:

13-1 overall, 7-0 region. The Wildcats finished first in their region and lost to Fayette County in a semifinal playoff game.

HOW IT WENT IN 2017:

All wins. That’s how the 2017 season went for Saks until the Class 4A semifinals. Jonathan Miller and his team put their 13-0 record on the line at foggy Fayette County in early December and ultimately left with a 34-7 loss to a team which finished as 4A state runner-up. The 13 wins set a school record for most in a season by the Wildcats, while Miller grabbed his second region championship in six years as head football coach. But the most impressive thing? The Saks defense allowed only 65 points in seven region games.

RETURNING STARTERS:

RB Johnathon Cobb, C Caleb Ogle, LG/DL Marreo Thomas, RT Jaylen Childs, LB Roilan Torres, K Anthony Cornejo

OUR TAKE:

Jonathan Miller says this is a young and inexperienced Saks team. But the last time he said that, the Wildcats still found a way to make the playoffs with a 5-2 record Class 4A, Region 5 record in 2015. However, reclassification has put Saks in Class 3A, Region 6, which is a different brand of football in Alabama. The Wildcats’ region schedule opens with B.B. Comer, Wellborn and Pleasant Valley before Piedmont, Weaver and Randolph County follow a timely bye week. However, as tough as this region is, Saks’ regular-season finale against Glencoe might be a win-and-get-in game for the Wildcats.

WORD FROM COACH MILLER:

“I don’t know what to expect. Early on, there will be some growing pains. The one good thing about playing on August 24 is that will give us a good measuring stick to see where we are at and what we need to work on to get better.”

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