As the scrimmages and two a day practices wrapped up, injuries had taken a toll as the starting center Steven Jackson had a knee injury, and running back John Jackson, arguably the fastest player on the team, was nursing a sore ankle.
The three senior captains of the team, Rusty Parker, Paul Albert, who was named All-State the previous year, and Joe Pettiette, along with Gary Travis were the only four seniors set at starting positions as the Brahmas worked up to their first preseason game traveling to La Grange to face the Leopards, who had won the State AA Championship in 1975.
The starting lineups were taking shape, as Rusty Parker returned at quarterback, and junior Reese Burger and sophomore John Jackson were at the two running back spots. Senior Gary Travis and juniors Virgil Anderson (Balke) and Randall Barton rounded out the receiver spots. The offensive line had Paul Albert and Ike King at tackles, Joe Pettiette and Frankie Krumrey at guards, Jerry Reese at tight end and Steven Jackson was at center.
Defensively, starting linebackers were Albert and Pettiette, with King and Reese at the tackle positions, Edward Leaks and Steven Jackson at guards, and David Bartay and Alan Ward at the end positions. Kenny Kiecke backed up Ward and relieved him during the games when he was busy as a running back. The defensive backfield had Burger at safety, Bryant and Jackson at cornerbacks.
Looking at those lineups, there were seven players who went both ways, with the other starters holding key backup positions. The punting duties were handled by Burger, and Steven Jackson handled the kicking duties. With Jackson’s knee injury, other team members handled the kicking and point after attempts the first two games.