- Young but hungry: Scanning the age of players on the Paden City football roster might give someone the impression the Wildcats were fielding a junior varsity squad.
Wednesday was picture day for Paden City fall sports. In typical fashion, football coach Brent Croasmun handed out a preview guide to the media. One page listed the 16 members who will represent the Wildcats on the gridiron in 2012. All but two individuals are either sophomores or freshmen.
With 21 individuals participating in the middle school program this year, Paden City is already peering ahead to the future.
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Paden City head football coach Brent Croasmun, left, shows a player a blocking technique during a team practice.
"We're at the beginning of the tunnel, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel," Croasmun said. "If these kids all stick with the program, in two years we could be looking at maybe 26 or 27 kids on the varsity football team. We haven't had that many in a long time."
Paden City graduated 11 players from last year's 3-7 finish. The Wildcats scrimmage at Parkersburg Catholic at 10 a.m. on Saturday then play host to Calhoun County at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17, before opening the regular season Aug. 24 at Clay-Battelle.
- New era of expectations: After making the Class AA postseason last year, Roane County head football coach Paul Burdette knows things will be different this season after losing a lot of standout players.
The Raiders started camp with 37 players, but currently have 33 still sticking it out on the gridiron.
"We've got some guys who are standing out who we thought would stand out," said Burdette, whose team went 8-2 in the regular season before falling to Oak Glen in the first round of the playoffs.
Although Raider opponents won't have to worry about the likes of graduated seniors Dylan Cottrell, Nathan Reynolds and company this season, coach Burdette feels Roane County could be in store for another strong year if they can remain healthy.
"I promise you when you get the stats on Friday night you will see a lot of stats on Hunter Bradley, John Ash and Luke Scott," said the coach of the Raiders' expected starting quarterback and fellow backfield mates.
- Still a Wildcat: Tom Tucker bleeds green and white. Where football is concerned, he has always been connected to Waterford High School. First as a player and now as a head coach.
Tucker takes over the helm for Chad Ross following the Wildcats' 6-4 finish last season.
"We're keeping most of the same stuff from last year intact," Tucker said. "We have a little bit of new terminology for some things, which we have been working on. I think we're looking OK."
Wateford opened the first week of practice with 28 players in camp. The Wildcats lost three All-Tri-Valley Conference selections to graduation in quarterback Trevor Lang, and linemen Tyler Pyatt and Kendrick Schwendeman. Brian Moore, who received all-conference honors last season as a receiver, is being groomed for the quarterback position.
Waterford scrimmages River at home on Wednesday before opening the regular season at Miller on Friday, Aug. 24.
- Moving Forward: A winless season in 2011 is a distant memory for Frontier.
"Last year wasn't the best," said Jordan Jefferson, who was the Cougars' only All-Pioneer Valley Conference selection after throwing for 1,084 yards in his first year playing high school football. "We're going to show everyone we're ready to play. I think everyone is catching on, but we still have work to do."
Jefferson will join lineman Kris Comstock, tailback/linebacker Taylor Merckle and wide receiver/linebacker Eddie Salazar as senior captains this season.
"We're ready to rock and roll," Comstock said. "We want to show everyone what Frontier football is all about."