The 2013 high school football season should be an interesting one if you are a Rockies fan. After graduating 12 players from last year’s team, 7 starters, including a 2-year starting quarterback and almost an entire offensive line, one might wonder where the optimism is coming from with 10 year Head Coach John Barron.
“I expect us to compete at a high level every game!!! We have some inexperienced kids at key positions this year, quarterback for example. But we need to be patient with these kids early, they’re working hard and have shown signs already of getting better”, said Coach Barron.
So let’s talk about the most important position in football, “the quarterback”. Two players have vied for the position to this point, as they did so last season. Junior, Kyle Lacefield and sophomore Jack Barron. Lacefield was a 43% passer before Ike Kastener returned as starter to finish the year. Lacefield threw for 174 yards passing with one touchdown. His problem were interceptions, he finished with five at season end. Barron played in a couple of games down the stretch, passed once, ran 13 times.
“Losing a 2-year starter like Ike Kastner leaves a big hole, but I believe Kyle Lacefield and Jack Barron can be the type of players we need at the quarterback position.”, said Barron. “ Kyle and Jack are similar in that they are both good leaders, and are very competitive/tough kids. Kyle has greater arm-strength, where as Jack runs the option game better. Heading into the season, obviously we need to name a starter, but we figure both will play quite a bit”.
We all know a quarterback is as good as his offensive line lets him be. Losing giants like Adam Lacefield and now Michigan lineman, Dan Samuelson to graduation, really has tested the Plymouth depth charts up front. Only one starter returns in Nate Hiatt at center.
“They are coming together. Early on we were concerned with finding “leaders” – but I think this is taking care of itself. Hiatt (jr), Jarrod Ellis (Sr), Evan Parkhurst (Sr), Corey Wallace (Sr), Derek Harner (jr), Branton Leazenby (Sr), Ryan Mareska (Sr) are all guys we will be counting in the rotation.”, added Barron.
The Rockies have always been known for their ground game, almost netting 3,000 yards on the ground last season alone. Leading rusher, Sam Stevens, has graduated and moved on to Bemidji State University in Minnisota. Nothing will change this season in running the football, especially with Senior Micheal Hartman now at fullback…..with support.
“Michael (Hartman) is our fullback. He is our strongest/most explosive player. Inexperienced at FB, but has played varsity football before at OLB. Justin Drudge is very elusive, and DaKota Brooke is solid as well. Trenton Briles and Ritchie Sutch will also play key roles for our offense at the split-end position.”, concluded Barron.
Defensively, the Rockies show promise in a couple of key spots. Up front Rockie fans will hear names like Kevin Escobar (5’11-240 lb-jr), Drew Dodson (6’4-260lb-Sr), Jose Figueroa (6’2-300-Sr), Tyler Fulton (5’11-171-jr), Brandt Peters (173 lb-sph), Chaz Scruggs (178 lb-jr) and 6’1-190-DE, Austin Bottorff.
“We will rotate 5-6 players up front. They are all pretty tough kids. We just need to keep gaining the skill set for playing the 3-man front. We continue to work on MOVING and ATTACKING all the time.”, said Barron.
The linebacking core has had a rich tradition of smart-talented athletes that have impacted an offensive play on every down during the course of a season. This year no different. Seniors Jon Stillson and Vicente Vasquez will lead this years core group.
“These two kids go down hill hard and love to hit. They too….are improving at their positions. Key kids who are still vying for linebacking spots are Caleb Weirs (jr), Eduardo Mayen (Sr), Kyle Lacefield (jr), and two sophomores, Matt Frier and Jeremy Splix. I like these kids. We just need to see who wants those spots.”, added Barron.
In the Secondary, the 2013 Rockies just might have one of the better group of kids at the Cornerback positions. Sophomore, Cam Eveland has raised the eyebrows of all the coaching staff, and may be the most athletic kid on the field for Coach Barron. Seniors Vince Hayden and Jacob Frantz will be competing for the other side.
“Cam is VERY athletic and has a high ceiling talent-wise. We are hoping our Seniors, Vince and Jacob, play like SENIORS this year.”, according to Barron.
Senior Micheal Garrity (two year starter), Kyle Lacefield, and sophomore Jack Barron will anchor the safety spots for now.
“Garrity is just a hard-nosed kid whose athletic, loves to hit people, but he’s also very intelligent at this position.”, said Barron.
Barron is hoping Lacefield or Barron will learn from Garrity and become more solid in the defensive backfield.
Plymouth is coming off a 7-3 season last year and a share of the NLC title with Concord. If the Rockies expect to compete for the NLC title again this season, turnovers & penalties will have to drop dramatically from last year’s totals.
The Rockies had 58 penalties against them last season which cost them 507 yards, and a Sectional win at Northwood last year. Turnovers were another “bug-a-boo” for Plymouth. 26 fumbles (11 lost) + 5 interceptions.
Rest assured….the coaching staff has already talked about those two factors during their practice sessions this season.