Waverly took its lumps last season in
D-IV with a lineup of inexperienced players. This season in D-III, those players are back and aiming to
reach the postseason for the third time on four years behind Division I college prospect Derek Roback under center.
* Players to Watch – WB/S Derek Roback (6-3, 220,
Sr.), RB/DB Kevin Malone (6-0, 195, Sr.), RB/DB Kevin Malone (6-0, 195, Sr.),
WR/DB Shane Price (5-11, 170, Sr.), WR/DB Jake Kretzer (6-4, 170, Soph.), TE/LB
Rashaun Conley (6-2, 185, Sr.), RB/LB Kyle Phillips (5-9, 145, Sr.), FB/LB Shane
Murray (6-0, 195, Sr.), G/LB Jarrod Bowling (5-10, 175, Sr.), G/DL Nick Seymour
(6-0, 185, Sr.), C/DL Chris Schuyler (6-0, 275, Sr.)
* Outlook – Waverly took its lumps last season in
D-IV with a lineup of inexperienced players.
This season in D-III, those players are back and aiming to
reach the postseason for the third time on four years.
“We’re going to have just about everybody back from last
year,” head coach Rusty Wright said. “Those kids played for the first time last
year because they had a bunch of good football players in front of them. Last
year, they were just thrown in the mix and hadn’t really played.
“There were a lot of kids with little experience and a lot
of youth. They were just thrown into the fire weren’t really mentally or
physically ready because they just hadn’t gotten their opportunity.”
“It was a tough year but it was a growing year. We’re
coming back with a lot of good kids that got a lot of good time last year.”
Roback returns at quarterback after tossing for 1,585 yards
and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 480 yards and four more touchdowns in his
first season under center.
He was an all-state receiver as a sophomore.
“It really took a year for Derek to learn, especially with
the offensive line that we had,” Wright said. “We expect Derek to be a lot
better quarterback this year. With Derek’s ability to make plays, hopefully the
burden won’t be all on his shoulders.”
Roback, who is rated as the No. 56 prospect by Ohio High magazine in the 2010 class, has scholarship offers to Ohio, Bowling Green, Ball State, Toledo, Miami (Ohio) and Marshall.
Wright points to the offensive line a major key for the
“Our offensive line really has to come together. When your
offensive line does what they are supposed to do, it doesn’t matter what offense
you run,” he said. “If we put the offensive line together that I think we are
going to have, we’ll be in pretty good shape.
“We didn’t have the vertical stretch offensively and speed
last year like we had in the past,” added Wright. “It really took a year for
Derek to learn, especially with the offensive line that we had.”
Malone returns at tailback after missing four games due to
injury last season and Price will be out wide for Roback.
“We feel pretty good about what we got as far as skills guy
and the offensive line back,” Wright said.
Price started all 10 games last season and will be Roback’s
“We really think a lot of him. He just works and has great
hands and is a great route-runner,” Wright said. “We expect some big things out of
Wright feels confident about the personnel on the other
side of the ball as well.
“Defensively, we’ve got to get to playing like our kids are
supposed to – running to the football and getting off blocks,” said Wright. “If
we play defense like we did three years prior to last year, we’ll be alright.”
He added, “Last year we were just too young, too
inexperienced and too thin. If we got any injuries, we were dead in the water. If
we stay healthy, like any team, we’ll be okay.”
Aug. 29, Piketon, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4, at Jackson, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11, at Wellston, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18, Vinton County, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25, at Ashland (Ky.) Paul G. Blazer, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2, at West Portsmouth Portsmouth West, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9, Lucasville Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16, at Wheelersburg, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23, Miford, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30, McDermott Northwest, 7:30 p.m.