In three short years football has become king in and around Ayersville High School. Qualifying for the state playoffs was once just a dream but now anything short of a trip to the state final four would be considered a disappointment.
David Gatwood has more on the 2007 Ayersville squad.
The author of this sudden success is head coach, Chris Dales, and his staff, which has convinced the young athletes at Ayersville that with hard work and dedication they can reach great heights. Fortunately for Dales, the hard work and dedication was also coupled with an outstanding group of athletes.
The Pilots enter the 2007 season coming off a tough 48-14 regional final loss to Liberty-Benton. Although the loss was lopsided, Dales feels that the regional appearance benefited his team and that his “kids know what it takes to get the regionals and that our goal is to get to final four.”
Ayersville suffered some serious losses from its 2006 team (11-2) including its offensive leader, quarterback Rob Luderman, and Austin Fritch who finished his four years as an Ayersville starter by being named First team all-Ohio. Despite these losses, Ayersville is not without solid performers on both sides of the ball.
“We will score points,” Dales said, “but we need to develop our defense. The key to our defense is, without a doubt, Thomas Rodriguez.”
Rodriguez (6-0, 195) will be moving from outside linebacker to middle and must do so quickly in order for the Pilots to succeed, however, playing behind Rodriguez will be the strength of the defense: the secondary.
Three starters return in the defensive backfield for the Pilots and each are blessed with outstanding speed. Seniors Travis Flint (6-0, 175) and Jerry Knight (6-0, 200) were starters all last season and will be joined by Travis’ younger brother Dylan who saw considerable time last season including big starts in both Fairview games.
The final piece of the secondary puzzle is move-in Demetrius Trapps (5-10, 175). Trapps, who started last season for Dayton Belmont at both quarterback and corner back, possesses sprinter speed and, in fact, qualified for the state finals in both the 100 and 200 last spring. Trapps’ presence provides Ayersville with an exceptionally fast secondary and should help the defense overcome the inexperience that will be present on the defensive front line.
It is on offense that Ayersville really shines.
Finding someone to takeover at quarterback for Luderman will not be easy but the transition should be eased by the return of several top quality performers. Leading the way is senior fullback Anthony King (6-1, 205). All King did last season was rush for over 1,600 yards and 32 touchdowns. Said Dales: “He could have run for much more if we let him.”
According to Dales, King is the “total package. He has sprinter speed, power, and he can catch the ball out of the backfield.”
Complimenting King in the backfield will most likely be Trapps.
Receiver Travis Flint also returns after tallying over 600 yards last season.
Another Ayersville strength will be its offensive line. Anchoring the line will be senior tackle Kurt Hanenkrath (6-7, 235), who has received interest from Mid-American Conference and several Big Ten schools. He is flanked by two all-league guards, seniors Marlon Graves (5-9, 165) and Eric Cooksui (6-1, 230).
Considering the talent returning, it is easy to understand why Dales has set such lofty goals for his team.
“For us we live every second, every minute, every hour to reach our goal,” Dales said. “We will not be satisfied with anything less.”
|8/31/2007||@ Ottawa Hills||5|
|9/8/2007||@ Fremont St. Joseph||6|
|10/12/2007||Haviland Wayne Trace||6|