Glen Este returns just six starters from last year and lose star running back Klye Slater to Fort Ancient Valley Conference foe Anderson but the Trojans are aiming to getting back above .500 and into the postseason.
Glen Este (5-5)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB/DB Tyler McCalla (6-0, 180, Sr.), LB Tony Castaluccio, LB Taylor Krimmer (5-11, 185), OL Jacob Sparke (6-4, 195, Sr.), FB Ryan Lehr (6-1, 190, Sr.) LB Colin Pittman (5-9, 175, So.).
Glen Este looks to rebound following an up-and-down season along with the departure of RB Kyle Slater to Anderson.
The Trojans’ chances of improving upon their 5-5 record from last season will be tested early in the season with games against Cincinnati Sycamore and Cincinnati Princeton who had a combined 17-5 record.
The Trojans beat Princeton 35-32 in last year’s contest and defeated Sycamore in a scrimmage, but have yet to play them in the regular season.
“Our early schedule is not very forgiving,” head coach Zack Taylor said. “We’re really young and we have to find our way early.”
After being ranked in the top spot in the Cincinnati Enquirer Division II-VI poll four seasons ago, Glen Este has steadily come back down to blend back in with the rest of the Fort Ancient Valley Conference. The Trojans have enjoyed success since that 11-2 season, winning nine games the next two years, but consistency has been hard to come by as of late.
The Trojans will have to rely upon a corps of young players lacking experience to lead them on the field, though they have an offensive line that returns four of six starters. Overall, the team returns six starters of the 22 that took the field last year.
Taylor hopes to get his players to play together and avoid the mistakes that cost them in close games last year.
“Last year at times we lacked the discipline to play consistent,” Taylor said.
The defense will have to play remarkably better for them to stay in games throughout the season. The group of linebackers led by sophomore Kyle Pittman and Taylor Krimmer will be counted on to stop the run and rush the opposing quarterback.
“We are a little more athletic at linebacker and off the edge,” Taylor said of his defensive backfield. “We’ll be better at that this year.”
Former Glen Este starting running back Kyle Slater was suspended for off-field issues and opted to transfer to Anderson where he will play his senior season.
Playing against their former teammate may prove to be difficult for the Trojans. Slater gained 890 yards on the ground and caught for another 192 last season while scoring 13 touchdowns.
The Trojans will be lead by quarterback Tyler McCalla, who will provide most of the offense for a team that is ground game oriented.
Taylor speaks highly of McCalla, someone that doesn’t share the usual qualities of a starting high school quarterback.
“(McCalla) is a real quiet, unassuming kid,” Taylor says. “I think he realizes that he will make things happen.”
For the Trojans to succeed in the always tough FAVC Buckeye Division, they will need to have their young players play bigger than they are. And with the likes of Anderson, Winton Woods, and the opener against Sycamore they won’t get many nights off.
“Because of the tough schedule we should be battle-tested for the rest of the season.” Taylor said. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
8/22 Cincinnati Sycamore
8/29 Liberty Township Lakota East
9/5 at Cincinnati Princeton
9/12 at Amelia
9/19 at Cincinnati Northwest
10/10 at Cincinnati Anderson
10/17 at Harrison
10/24 Cincinnati Winton Woods