Despite a very difficult non league schedule and a very balanced seven weeks of Scioto Valley Conference opponents – including road games at Westfall and Piketon – the Warriors have little room for error; however, Adena and its senior leaders are still extremely confident heading into the 2007 season
Despite a very difficult non league schedule, that includes a Week 2, home-opener against state-power Mechanicsburg and road trips to Greenfield McClain and Washington Court House, the Adena Warrior football program still has high expectations for 2007. Add that to a very balanced seven weeks of Scioto Valley Conference opponents – including road games at Westfall and Piketon – and the Warriors will have little room for error; however, Adena and its senior leaders are still extremely confident.
“We have 12 seniors out at this point – which is a pretty high number for our program – and they are really working hard and doing a nice job leading the team,” Adena coach Paul Thomas said. “They have said their goal is to win the league, and we feel that is something we can obtain if we work hard and play up to our capabilities.”
The Warriors have had some big pieces of the puzzle graduate over the past two years, but several familiar faces return and are ready to take on bigger roles. Quarterback Brandon Kinnamon will lead an offense that will look to do much of its damage on the ground. Two years ago, Kinnamon was thrown into the fire due to an injury suffered by then quarterback, Nick Milliken. Kinnamon spent much of that season just managing an extremely talented offense, but now with two years under his belt the senior signal-caller is ready to build off his solid junior campaign and help lead the Warriors to a league title and a third straight playoff appearance. Kinnamon will miss his favorite target, Michael Hitchens, but Thomas says he looks for Kinnamon to make a lot of big plays with his feet.
“Brandon is a great athlete and a great competitor,” Thomas said. “I think he will still get plenty of chances to make some plays through the air, but his athletic ability and desire really gives us an extra dimension in our running game.”
Joining Kinnamon in the backfield is junior running back Buddy Barnes. Barnes, a versatile back, does much of his work with a hard-nosed style between the tackles, but can also combine that power with quickness and speed to provide the Warrior offense some big play capabilities. Although Kinnamon and Barnes will carry much of the load for the two-shade blue, the Warriors will also look to running backs Jimmy Starr and sophomore Johnny Johnson.
The Warrior running game will be running behind an offensive line that should contain more depth than in year’s past. Although Adena lost one of the area’s top linemen in Kenny Collmar, senior Andrew Jordan will lead a group that is young and hardworking. The other major hole that Collmar’s graduation brings is in the special teams. Collmar was also one of the area’s top place-kickers and produced several clutch kicks over the past few seasons. Thomas will not only ask Jordan to take over the responsibility on the offensive line, but will also ask him to take over the kicking duties as well.
“Our offensive line is going to be somewhat young and inexperienced in spots, but they are extremely hard workers,” Thomas said. “I think Andrew will supply some solid leadership up front, and he will really allow us to have a solid kicking game again this year. He isn’t quite as consistent as Kenny at this point, but he has a great leg and I think that consistency will come once he gets a chance to get in there and get his feet wet.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Warriors will ask many of those same offensive stars to play both ways. Barnes and Starr will shore up the linebacker core, and safety Levi Merritt gives the defense a lot of help not only in pass coverage but in run support as well.
“We know our three non league opponents are going to be very good, but I feel they will prepare us well for conference play,” Thomas said. “As far as the SVC goes, you know Westfall is going to good, and I look for Paint Valley and Piketon to be much improved. There are no easy ones in this league, so we are going to have to take it one at a time and keep working hard to get better.
“I think most people probably feel like we are going to be hurting a little bit and I don’t mind playing that role. Our kids – especially our seniors – have been working hard, and I think we can really surprise some people.”