After going 0-10 in his first year with Mount Gilead, head coach Joe Ulrey will be looking for improvement behind a young team.
The squad lost 12 players to graduation and returns four letter-winners on both sides of the ball. Ulrey notes that those experienced players will be asked to take on a lot of responsibility.
“This year, we will be counting on our four captains — Garrett Casto, Mason Mollohan, Tristin Seitz and Brandon Strickland,” he said. “Their expectations are simply to lead both vocally and by actions and take this team as far as it will go.”
On offense, junior Nathan Rogers is expected to start at quarterback, while seniors Nathan Weaver and Strickland will be the backs. Sophomore Owen Blanton and junior Aaron Baer will play at wide receiver, while also returning kicks and Mollohan will be the tight end and kicker. Playing on the offensive line will be seniors Seitz and Casto, as well as sophomores Virgil Tomlin, Andy Williamson and Zach Davidson.
Ulrey also listed senior Lane Carpenter; juniors Colton Cronenwett, Noah Strait and Brady Mermann and sophomores Devon Hill, Josh Sullivan, Chuy Rubio and Kyler Hall as players who could contribute offensively.
The starting defense will see a lot of the same names in key roles. Mollohan, Casto, Seitz and Strickland will anchor the line; while Williamson, Cronenwett and Mermann will start at linebacker. The backfield will consist of Blanton, Weaver, Carpenter and Baer. Blanton will also punt, while Baer will return punts.
Also expected to see time on the field defensively are juniors Tristan Stewart, Strait, Nathan Rogers, Tristan Young and Alex Anton; sophomores Davidson, Colton Clark, Sullivan, Rubio, and Hill and freshmen Levi Stephens, Justin Dendinger and Zach Congrove.
The team is relatively young and with little varsity experience for many of the players,” said Ulrey. “However, they have a great mentality thus far and are coming together very well as a team. The goals for this year are to improve and continue to get better in every aspect of the game.”
Ulrey knows for that improvement to show in his team’s record, they’ll have to navigate through a number of tough opponents in the KMAC.
“The league should be very decent this year,” he said. “Three teams went to the playoffs last year and a fourth team was very close to making it. I would expect similar results this year.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS