Some tough luck on and off the field in 2007 had Nelsonville-York on
the outside looking in during last year’s Division V, Region 19
playoffs. It was a spot that Coach Dave Boston and his Buckeyes were
not accustomed to considering the brown and orange was coming off of
four straight postseason appearances. Now, Nelsonville returns 23
seniors and the tradition-heavy program is ready to put themselves back
in the playoff picture.
Some tough luck on and off the field in 2007 had Nelsonville-York on the outside looking in during last year’s Division V, Region 19 playoffs. It was a spot that Coach Dave Boston and his Buckeyes were not accustomed to considering the brown and orange was coming off of four straight postseason appearances. Now, Nelsonville returns 23 seniors and the tradition-heavy program is ready to put themselves back in the playoff picture.
“We obviously feel really good entering the season,” said Coach Boston when asked about the luxury of having so much experience returning. “Our expectations are always high here at Nelsonville-York, but with a tough finish to last season, I definitely think this year’s group is eager to accomplish some great things.”
Returning to lead the Buckeye offense is quarterback Michael Barrick. Barrick is 5-11, 191-pounds and is a great competitor and a great leader. The senior signal-caller will have plenty of offensive weapons as Nelsonville will return its top two running backs as well as a dynamic pair of wide receivers that should give the Buckeyes a balanced attack.
In the backfield, junior tailback Derek Arnold will run behind senior fullback Zach Talbert – who also does the place-kicking for the Buckeyes. At 5-8, 180-pounds and 5-11, 211-pounds, Arnold and Talbert, respectively, give the Nelsonville-York running game a thunder and lightning approach. This inside-out running game will be complemented by the ability to beat defenses through the air as well. Seniors Josh Dickerson and Mark Campbell will lead a receiving core that brings several options to the Buckeye passing game. Barrick’s arm along with the mixture of speed and toughness in the receiving core should allow Nelsonville to not only work the middle of the field but the ability to stretch the defense and make the big play as well.
“With the experience we have coming back at the skill positions, we should be able to spread things out a little better this season,” said Coach Boston who is attempting to lead his Buckeyes to their fifth TVC title and their fifth playoff appearance in just his sixth season. “We hope to have great balance on offense and spread the ball around to many different people.”
A big key to the skill guys being able to operate will come with the play of the offensive line. Nelsonville-York did graduate Trevor Polley, so the Buckeyes will mix a few returnees with a few new faces to give Barrick time and open holes for the talented backfield.
The loss of Polley will also play a role on the defensive line. In addition, the Buckeyes lost Patrick Norway and Scott Cunningham, but younger brothers Robert Norway and Justin Cunningham will be ready to step in and fill the void. Norway a senior and Cunningham a sophomore will anchor the linebacking core that will benefit from Talbert returning at nose tackle. Thomas Williams and Austin McDonald return as defensive ends and Nick Hunter will join several of the offensive skill guys in the defensive secondary.
“Our defense really played well last year for the most part,” said Coach Boston. “We had a few tough one-possession losses (Week 3 to Trimble 7-6 and Week 9 to Belpre 10-6) where we struggled to score, but our defense kept us in those games.”
The non-league schedule is full of some difficult tests for the Buckeyes. Nelsonville-York will start the season at home versus Trimble where the Buckeyes will be looking to avenge a one-point loss from a year ago. The Buckeyes will then travel to Piketon to play a very talented Redstreak team that returns over half of their starters from a 7-3 team last season. After a Week 3 trip to Berne Union, Nelsonville will start its conference play in the Tri Valley Conference’s Ohio Division, but will play one last non-conference game in Week 9 when it host Ironton.
“Our program has a great tradition,” said Coach Boston. “We know our schedule is really difficult, but as I said before, our expectations are always high. We have a great group of seniors who are really hungry to go out on top, and to this point, they have worked extremely hard to prepare for the season.”
8/22 TRIMBLE (GLOUSTER)
8/29 @ PIKETON
9/5 @ BERNE UNION (SUGAR GROVE)
9/12 @ WELLSTON
9/19 MEIGS (POMEROY)
9/26 @ BELPRE
10/10 ATHENS (THE PLAINS)
10/24 @ VINTON COUNTY (MC ARTHUR)