A lot is new for Fostoria, last year’s No. 1 seed in Region 14. Quarterback Micah Hyde, who is ticketed to play football at Iowa, is out the door along with five other starters on offense and six on defense. Also, coach Tom Grine has moved on as well. Even with all that turnover, there is plenty of reason to believe the Redmen can contend once again.
* Players To Watch – WR Jordan Bulkowski (5-11, 190, Sr.); WR/CB Antoine Williams (5-11, 175, Sr.); C/DE Dominic Zelenak (6-0, 195, Sr.); SS Jake Solether (5-9, 160, Sr.); OLB Isaac Tyson (6-2, 200, Jr.); TB/CB Trevon Tucker (5-10, 165, Jr.).
* Outlook – A lot is new for the Redmen, last year’s No. 1 seed in Region 14.
Quarterback Micah Hyde, who is ticketed to play football at Iowa, is out the door along with five other starters on offense and six on defense. Also, coach Tom Grine has moved on as well, opening the door for Beau Carmon, who served the past two years on Grine’s staff as Fostoria’s offensive line coach.
Even with all that turnover, there is plenty of reason to believe the Redmen can contend once again.
“One of the things we talk about as a team and a staff is who’s going to step up – and not just for the loss of Micah,” Carmon said. “We lost a great left tackle and nose guard and also two wide receivers to Tiffin. That’s a lot to overcome.”
Carmon referred to two-way star Floyd Tucker, a hulking 6-3, 290-pounder, as well as speedy wideouts Derrick Pollom and Shaquille Taylor. While those players will be difficult to replace, the offensive line and receiving corps still could be strengths.
“I’m excited about our line,” Carmon said of the group he directed the past two seasons. “We will average 240 pounds up there and we’ve got two returning starters. We are going to be a team built on speed but I look for our offensive line to grind people up when we want to run it.”
Carmon expects to still get production out of the team’s spread offense, especially with Tucker ready to become a productive back and with receivers like Bulkowski and Williams still in the fold. Bulkowski gathered in 59 receptions for 588 yards and three touchdowns last season and Williams, who has 4.5 speed, made 20 grabs on offense along with playing his role of shutdown corner.
Also helping on defense will be Zelenak, who made 40 tackles as a defensive lineman in 2008 and Tyson, who produced 30 stops and six sacks.
Solether will lead the secondary and isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty against the run as evidenced by his 68 tackles last season. He is able to take chances with Williams and Tucker ably handling the duties at corner.
“I think our secondary is going to be extremely solid,” Carmon said.
Still, it will be extremely difficult to for offense to excel as it did with Hyde, a special talent who threw for 2,457 yards and 21 TDs and rushed for 1,363 more yards and 24 scores. He just set a record in the Big 33 game by catching a 99-yard score and is going to play either receiver or corner for the Hawkeyes.
The heir apparent to the signal caller spot is Perry Johnson.
“He’s got to step up and be a senior for us,” Carmon said.
Johnson and the Redmen will be tested right out of the chute as they host Ottawa-Glandorf in their opener. That all-important contest will be followed by a trip to Bowling Green, a Division II school, and a home date with D-I foe Toledo Whitmer.
Fostoria’s ledger settles down after that, but it would be hard to predict a clean sweep for the Redmen after they lost a majority of their starters.
Last season, Fostoria took a 9-1 mark and top seed into the Region 14 playoffs. The Redmen bumped off Sparta Highland in round one, 33-12, but were eliminated by Genoa Area by a count of 28-14.
This season, Genoa Area again should be a power in Region 14 along with Wooster Triway, Lorain Clearview, Huron and Ottawa-Glandorf. Many other teams in the region have reason for optimism, including Elyria Catholic, Pemberville Eastwood, Orrville, Paulding, Creston Norwayne and Bucyrus.
Still, Carmon likes the team’s position of dark horse.
“There are doubters out there and we like it that way,” Carmon said. “I think that will provide a lot of incentive for us. But it can work the other way, too, because with our schedule people are going to want to beat the hell out of us.
“We’re a very young team. We don’t have one senior linebacker, for example. We’re a team that’s looking to find an identity.”
Aug. 28 – Ottawa-Glandorf
Sept. 4 – at Bowling Green
Sept. 11 – Toledo Whitmer
Sept. 18 – at Willard
Sept. 25 – Norwalk
Oct. 2 – Upper Sandusky
Oct. 9 – at Bellevue
Oct. 16 – at Galion
Oct. 23 – Shelby
Oct. 30 – at Tiffin Columbian