New coach in charge at Sunbury Big Walnut

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Sunbury Big Walnut Golden Eagles

Big
Walnut won the 2007 Division III state championship and advanced to the state semifinals
last year (qualified for the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in Region 10). This
season, the Golden Eagles move up in class to Division II and welcome Joe Weaver as the new head coach.


Sunbury Big Walnut
(11-3)

* Players To Watch
– QB Johnny Cannell (6-6, 215, Sr.), TB Cody Leitner (5-9, 180, Sr.), WR Bret
Myers (6-0, 180, Sr.), WR/DB Brad Beltram (5-8, 175, Sr.), LB Jacob Walaszek
(6-1, 220, Jr.), OL Skylar Schofner (6-6, 276, Sr.)

Outlook – Big
Walnut won the 2007 Division III state championship and advanced to the state semifinals
last year (qualified for the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in Region 10). This
season, the Golden Eagles move up in class to Division II.

Big Walnut has a new head coach this year in Joe Weaver and
he’s pleased to have a returning starter at quarterback in Cannell. Last
season, Cannell earned the starting job early in the season and threw for 1,079
yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions.

“We expect big things from Johnny this year,” Weaver said.
“You start to see him grow up and take on those leadership responsibilities.
Getting experience as the starter last year was important for him.”

At tailback, Leitner split time with a senior last year, but
still managed 636 rushing yards (5.8 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns.
This season, he has the job all to himself.

“He’s a hard worker,” Weaver said. “One thing about that kid
he’s hard nosed and works his tail off. That’s pretty much the cookie cutter of
our team. We have a lot of kids that are around the 5-9 size. They’re not very
big, but they’re scrappy, hard-nosed, fast kids.”

Myers returns as a starting wide receiver and he had 26
catches for 374 yards and two touchdowns last year.

Beltram had three interceptions last year and is the “best
defensive back coming back” for Big Walnut according to Weaver.

Weaver was Big Walnut’s defensive coordinator the last three
seasons and has been a coach in the program for nine years (including middle
school and freshman ball).

“I’m very excited. Obviously, I was very fortunate to work
with (former Big Walnut head coach) Scott Wetzel who is a great coach and a
great person. It’s not just about football; he teaches kinds how to be young
men. To see what he’s done and to have learned from that, we want to keep
building on it and that’s the goal.”

Weaver also discussed moving up to Division II, his team’s
schedule and Region 7 as a whole.

“Well, we’re excited about moving up to D-II,” he said.
“It’s a big challenge for our program. We play a tough schedule. We play in the
OCC (Ohio Capital Conference) and, it’s great football from top to bottom with
good teams. There is not a week that’s an easy week; you have to be ready to
play every week. We have some high expectations for this season and we’re
excited. But we’re worried about game one.

“If we get in the playoffs, Region 7 is a very tough region.
There are great teams in there with great football tradition. A few teams moved
into it and the separation from 1-8 this year is not going to be very much. In
some regions, there is a big difference between the top team in the region and
No. 8. But not in Region 7. There are a lot of tough teams and it’s going to be
difficult.”

Big Walnut must replace Ohio’s 2008 D-III Defensive Player of the
Year in linebacker Will Studlein who will play college football at Northwestern but welcomes transfer Skylar Schofner on the offensive line.

Schofner, who was previous at Johnstown-Monroe, is rated as the No. 15 senior prospect by Ohio High magazine.

 

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