Buckeye Trail has unfinished business

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Buckeye Trail Warriors

The Buckeye Trail Warriors notched their second consecutive postseason berth in 2007, this time posting an unblemished regular season record to go with it. The Warriors unfortunately found their stay in the playoffs to be a short one, falling 14-6 to regional finalist Fredericktown in Round 1. This year’s team will be a younger group but returns a solid core of five starters on each side of the football.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Bob Beros (6-0, 170, jr.), RB Jedd Beros (5-8, 160, jr.), WR/DB Ethan Snyder (6-0, 145, sr.), WR/DB Isaac Snyder (5-10, 145, sr.), DB J.C. Huber (5-8, 155, soph.), OL Dusty Black (6-3, 285, sr.), NG Josh Bourne (6-3, 305, sr.), OL/DL Jordan Marchiano (5-10, 220, sr.)

SEASON OUTLOOK

The Buckeye Trail Warriors notched their second consecutive postseason berth in 2007, this time posting an unblemished regular season record to go with it.

“Coming into last year, we thought we had a lot of talent,” head coach Randy Thompson said. “We had fifteen seniors, and that’s a nice number of seniors for a team our size. The previous year we were 8-3 and got beat in the first round by Shadyside; they had a real good year that year. Last year, we had high expectations with the seniors and had some big games during the season and were fortunate enough to go 10-0.”

The Warriors unfortunately found their stay in the playoffs to be a short one, falling 14-6 to regional finalist Fredericktown in Round 1.

“Fredericktown came to our place, and they had a nice team,” Thompson said. “We were two pretty even teams. Our quarterback got hurt early; that’s no excuse, but it certainly affected our offense. They went on to beat Wheelersburg, and they had a nice run. They were a good, quality team, so when you lose to real good teams like that it makes it a little bit easier.”

This year’s team will be a younger group but returns a solid core of five starters on each side of the football.

“We have three of our linemen back on the offensive line and the defensive line, and that’s a plus anytime you can get three linemen back from a real good team,” Thompson said. “They have nice size, and all three of them are going to be seniors, so we’re going to start there and build around those kids. Obviously we have a lot of skill kids to replace. We’re going to move Bobby Barris (from wide receiver) to quarterback. We have some nice tailbacks whose turn it is to play, and we’re going to use them. We have one kid that was ineligible last year and now will be eligible this year, we hope. So I think we’re going to be competitive on our schedule, and anytime you can be competitive with the teams you’re playing, I think that’s a plus also.

“We’re looking forward to it just to see what we can do with these young kids. We are going to be younger this year, obviously. We’ll be playing a lot of sophomores along with some of those veterans we have back. I think we have seven or eight lettermen from that team last year, so we have some kids to work with and build around.”

Thompson feels Barris, a three-sport performer, will be able to fit in well at the quarterback position.

“He’s a basketball player, he’s a baseball player, he’s a good athlete,” he said. “We’re going to move him to quarterback and not change our offense a whole lot, just move some kids around.

“Being a receiver for two years offensively, he knows the routes and the holes in defenses; he’s experienced that. He played some tailback for us last year, he played some wideout, and he’s a linebacker also. He played all year in our 52 as a linebacker, so he’s a tough kid and he reads very well defensively. But offensively, he’s never thrown the ball under competitive situations, so we’re going to have to let him throw a lot of balls and get his mechanics well once we start practice.”

Thompson expects Barris to be more than just a passing threat.

“Bobby will be running for us,” he said. “We like to get in that spread and run the ball for our quarterback, and we like to get in that spread and throw the ball, so Bobby’s done both. As far as running the ball, as a tailback he’s scored touchdowns for us. He’s caught some balls and scored touchdowns. We’ve just got to get him used to throwing the ball in competitive situations.”

The Warriors also feature two sets of twins that will play a big role.

“We have Ethan and Isaac Snyder,” Thompson said. They played special teams last year and we’re going to look at them as wideouts this coming season. They’re athletic, they’re hurdlers, and they’re track kids so they have some speed. We’re going to have some speed. We have Eric and Aaron Roberson. They’re a set of twins that are going to play as running backs and wide receivers.”

With several starters to replace and a younger group of players overall, this year’s Warriors team will have some obstacles to overcome to reach their goals.

“Offensively, our skill kids are going to have to take care of the ball,” Thompson said. “We’ll have a new fullback, we’ll have a couple new tailbacks, a new quarterback, new wideouts, and a new tight end, and they’re going to have to take care of the football. I think athletically they’ll be okay, but in games and competition you can’t have turnovers. I think young teams are a little susceptible to turnovers and mistakes and sacks and things like that, so we’re going to have to take care of the ball very early. Veteran teams take care of the ball, and we’re going to have to do a real good job of not turning the ball over early. That’ll come with experience. Defensively, we’ll have some new kids in defensive positions, so they’re going to have to learn to read and fly to the ball and do all those good things that good teams do.

“It’s going to take a little time. Early on, I think we’ll play like a young team, but I think we’ll get better each week because we do have some good athletes coming back. We just don’t have the experience.”

 

Thompson feels like the team will face many challenges on the field as well, coming from several quality opponents.

“We’re also a member of the Pioneer Valley Conference, and I think it’s a pretty good conference,” he said. “Caldwell has a lot of kids back. I think Monroe Central will be improved next year. We have River in the PVC, and they have a lot of kids back from a real good team last year that we were fortunate enough to beat. Of course, I think we’ll be decent, but there’s four teams right there that are going to be pretty decent. Frontier was young last year and they’ll be better. Fort Frye was young last year and they’ll be better, so we’re going to have our work cut out for us in our conference.

“Non-conference we have Barnesville, and they have a good program and play well every year. We picked up Linsley this year for two years. Linsley always seems to have very good athletes, and they have some size. I think that’s going to be a challenge for us being so young, but we’ll be fine. We picked up a team out called Wahama of Mount Mason, W.V. We played them a couple years ago; I think they were 9-2 that year and we were fortunate enough to beat them, but they’re a real good single-A team out of West Virginia. We also picked up the Columbus Crusaders; we’re going to open up with them. We don’t know what they’re going to bring; we’re going to have to scout them and pick up as much as we can, and it will be important to get off to a good start with them.”

Will Buckeye Trail reach the postseason for the third straight year? Time will tell, but the expectations and attitude needed to win are certainly there.

“We’re not in the tradition mode yet, but we have some expectations,” Thompson said. “We made it the last two years. We won our conference the past two years. Our kids know what it takes to win those championships, and hopefully they can build upon that. They know the work ethic that’s required to be good. These young kids, they’ve picked up on that and they’re doing a nice job so far of getting in the weight room. We’ve had great attendance in the weight room. They’re excited to get their chance to play, and they should be.”

SCHEDULE

8/29 at Caldwell

9/5 at New Matamoras Fronteir

9/12 at Barnesville

9/19 Wahama (W.Va.) Mason

9/26 Sarahsville Shenandoah

10/3 Beverly Fort Frye

10/11 at Wheeling Linsly (W.Va.)

10/17 Hannibal River

10/24 at Woodsfield Monroe Central

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