(08/24/2012)
By Gaylen Duskey
realfang@citlink.net

So how will Calhoun High School's football team fare this year? Most of the talk has been, oh, around .500 maybe.

And that kind of prediction makes sense since Calhoun will have better talent than at least half the teams it plays. So .500 is a good pick if everything goes as planned.

But here's a few "what ifs" to make things interesting.

What if Calhoun suffers a lot of injuries? With smaller numbers - the Red Devils have about 30 players - injuries could ruin the season just like it has the past two seasons. If the injury bug is avoided (except for the minor bumps and bruises of playing the game) Calhoun would better the .500 mark.

What if some of those "easy wins" turn out to be not so easy? Say a couple of teams that look weak on paper suddenly find out they can play the game and are a lot better than anticipated? Or on the other hand what if some teams that were supposed to be good, aren't? Then there are the tactical "what ifs."

Calhoun should have a good offensive line. As any person who has been at a Calhoun practice can attest the blocking sled takes a beating when the first team is on it. Start with Ricky Hall (6-5, 323) and go on to guys like Andrew Satterfield (6-3, 280), Derek Dawson (240), Dustin Holcomb (238), Coy Bailey (226), Chris Lacy (202) and Mason Sheldon (248) and you know where the beef is. And, Sheldon's a tight end on offense with good hands too.

The offensive skill positions are where the questions are the "what ifs" so to speak.

Logan Moore is no question at quarterback. He is battle-tested at quarterback and a good enough athlete to be a first team all-LKC pick at safety.

The question comes from the running back spot where Trent Phillips is attempting to move from the offensive line to tailback. At 6-0, 234, Phillips should be hard to bring down and downright scary for a little 5-9, 150-pound defensive back if he gets in the open field. The last time Calhoun moved a lineman to the tailback slot it worked out pretty well as Paul Goodrich made first team all-state at that position.

Should something happen to Phillips the Red Devils aren't without possibilities but they are untested possibilities as Lucas Wilson, Kirkland Allen and Johnny Taylor could all see playing time in the backfield.

The receiving duties will be handled by Sheldon, Taylor, Joe Richards, Shay Parrish, James Adams and Austin Satterfield, along with all the backs. So that position looks pretty good and if Sheldon is a good as he's looked in practice the receiving position looks very good.

Defensively it all depends on how quick things come together. If the unit gels quickly then things could be very good. If not well, look for a lot of 50-40 scores.

So how will the Red Devils do?

A quick look at the schedule:

GILMER: That's a win. Calhoun has won 13 straight over the Titans by lopsided scores. If the Red Devils lose, or even struggle too much, it could be a long season.

SHERMAN: The Tide is rolling all the way up here from Boone County and is coming off an 0-10 season which is even worse that Calhoun's 1-9 season. Again, this ought to be a win.

DODDRIDGE: They lost their longtime coach but probably a bigger loss was that of Corey Aichele. He was the Bulldogs' offense last year and he beat Calhoun by himself on a water-logged field up at West Union. He's gone and the Bulldogs have to play on the road which ought to give Calhoun enough of an edge to win.

PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC: Year in and year out Calhoun has more talent than Parkersburg Catholic. But year in and year out the Crusaders find a way to win because they don't make mistakes. This year the Red Devils travel to Parkersburg to play in a stadium that has more seating capacity than the entire population of Calhoun County. Calhoun has the talent but the game can be rated as no better than a toss-up.

TYLER CONSOLIDATED: Last year this place on the schedule was filled by the Billville Bullies (Williamstown) and that's just about where all the wheels came off the wagon as the Bullies physically beat the snot out of the Red Devils. But the Bullies aren't on the schedule this year. Their place has been taken by Tyler Consolidated who is dropping down from Class AA to Class A. As a Class AA team Tyler was, well, to be gentle, not good. But as an A team the Knights may be wanting to play Billy Bad Boy to show the wimpy little Class A schools how tough they are. I like Calhoun to win this one in Mount Zion.

SOUTH HARRISON: For several years Calhoun tortured South Harrison. But in the last two season the Hawks have been able to dish out a little torture of their own. This year the game looks to be one of those toss-up games.

ST. MARYS: The Blue Devils are good just ask them. In their futile pursuit of Billville St. Marys takes few prisoners. Since the game is at dimly-lit Imlay Field look for Calhoun to be a decided underdog. BUFFALO: Plain and simple this is the best team the Red Devils play. Last year Buffalo romped to an easy win. It may not be as easy this year but the Bisons are the decided favorite, even playing at Mount Zion.

WIRT: Like St. Marys, the Tigers are good just ask them. Playing in Elizabeth is a big thing in this game and could make the Tigers the favorite in what would be a toss-up game if it were at Mount Zion. CLAY: The only Class AA team on Calhoun's schedule this year. Last year Clay was not too good but it is the only Class AA team Calhoun plays and that should make it a toss-up.

If you're counting (and not yet asleep from reading this epistle) there are four wins, three toss-ups and three losses.

If absolutely everything goes right Calhoun could win as many as eight or nine games. But how often does absolutely everything go right?

If everything goes wrong Calhoun could be playing Gilmer tonight with the winner being guaranteed to not go winless. But does everything always go wrong?

The middle of the road here probably would be 4-7 wins with a slight chance of making the playoffs. And wouldn't that be a big improvement?


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