Zanesville faces some rebuilding, Devils have holes to fill

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Zanesville Blue Devils

Last season, Zanesville graduate Chad Grandstaff rode a talented pair
of tailbacks to a 7-4 record including spot in the Division II playoffs
where they fell to perennial power Columbus DeSales in his first season
as head coach. This year, Grandstaff will have to rely on a talented
junior class to fill key spots if the Blue Devils are to get back to
the playoffs and compete for a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League
championship.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB/DB Cole Hudson (6-2, 180, JR), RB/DB Kyle Gladden (5-10, 200, JR), FB/NG Anthony Scott (5-8, 250, SR), WR/LB/DB JT Bunting (5-8, 175, SR), OL/DL Adam Cronin (5-11, 270, SR), RB/LB Seth Garrison (5-9, 175, SR), TE/DE/K Noah Baldwin (6-0, 180, JR)

SEASON OUTLOOK

2007 Record: 8-3, Regional quarterfinalist

Last season, Zanesville graduate Chad Grandstaff rode a talented pair of tailbacks to a 7-4 record including spot in the Division II playoffs where they fell to perennial power Columbus DeSales in his first season as head coach. This year, Grandstaff will have to rely on a talented junior class to fill key spots if the Blue Devils are to get back to the playoffs and compete for a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League championship.

Last season Bryan Gaiters, now at Youngstown State, rushed for 1,825 yards on 180 carries and 26 touchdowns on his way to winning SEOAL North division MVP honors. Classmate Anthony “Antman” Chandler equaled Gaiters’ 10-yard per carry average and gained 517 yards.

Replacing that talented duo, along with all five starting offensive linemen will mark a major rebuilding job for the Blue Devils in their final season as a member of the SEOAL.

Junior quarterback Cole Hudson (6-2, 180) and junior tailback Kyle Gladden (5-10, 200) will be looked upon to carry the load for Zanesville. Hudson, a southpaw, started one game last fall and completed 6 of 8 passes for 113 yards with two touchdowns on the season.

Gladden averaged over 8 yards per carry during mop-up play, rushing for 158 yards and 1 touchdown on 19 carries. Gladden will be teamed up with senior fullback Anthony Scott (5-8, 250) in the backfield. Scott is will be a three year starter and rushed for nearly 500 yards and 7 touchdowns last season after rushing for nearly 1000 as a sophomore.

Hudson should help the Blue Devils be more balanced on offense this season, and will look to senior wide receivers JT Bunting (5-8, 175) and Jordan Minnick (6-0, 170) along with tight end Noah Baldwin (6-0, 180) as the top receiving targets.

Replacing a talented offensive line won’t be an easy task either for the blue and white. Adam Cronin (5-11, 270) should be the anchor of the offensive unit after missing a lot of time last season due to injury. Seniors Zane Humphrey (5-10, 200), Charles Newton (6-0, 200), Neil Shreve (6-0, 205), and Todd Watts (6-2, 210) are others to watch out for on the Blue Devils front line. Juniors Jordan Paul (6-3, 225), Shaun Berry (6-1, 210), and Josh Edgell (5-10, 190) will also fight for time on the Blue Devils front line.

Defensively, ZHS returns 4 starters and several other key contributors from a unit that held 6 opponents to two scores or less.

Up front, Grandstaff will rely on Scott to anchor his five man front at noseguard. Scott was an All-SEOAL selection last season. Candidates to join him on the interior line are Dominique Howe (5-10, 305), Kyle Richard (6-0, 340), Cronin, Humphrey, Watts, Edgell, Newton, and Berry.

Shreve and Baldwin are the leading candidates at defensive end with Paul adding depth.

At linebacker, senior Seth Garrison (5-9, 175) is a returning starter and it’s possible that Bunting could move from cornerback to middle linebacker. As a junior Bunting was one of the top tacklers in the SEOAL.

In the secondary, Gladden is a returning starter where he saw action at strong safety and should reprise that role in 2008. Seniors Zach Watts (5-10, 185) and Kyle Melvin (5-9, 150) are leading candidates at cornerback. Minnick and junior Spencer McGlade (5-10, 170) are possible starters at free safety. Hudson also has the ability to play in the secondary.

Zanesville will play a difficult schedule for a young football team, starting with arch-rival Newark in week one and perennial power Licking Valley in their home opener week two. The Blue Devils will also travel to St. Charles for a challenging mid-season non-league match-up.

SCHEDULE

Aug. 22 – @ Newark
Aug. 29 – Licking Valley
Sept. 5 – Wheeling Park (WV)
Sept. 12 – Chillicothe *
Sept. 19 – Warren *
Sept. 26 – @ Logan *
Oct. 3 – @ St. Charles
Oct. 10 – Marietta *
Oct. 17 – @ Gallia Academy *
Oct. 24 – @ Jackson *
* = SEOAL Game

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