|By Gaylen Duskey |
The high school football playoffs are under way across West Virginia and a once-proud Calhoun football team is already moving on to basketball and wrestling, the uniforms all washed and put away.
The Red Devils went 0-10 this past season.
That's because the 2013 Red Devils were essentially a junior varsity squad going up against varsity teams every week.
Calhoun started the season very young with only five seniors and only one of them - Iron Man David Overbay - was able to play in every game. Only three finished the season with the team as Overbay was joined by Logan Moore and Mason Sheldon for the final game, but both of them were sidelined for at least one game. The other two seniors - Nathan Peck and Joe Richards - were forced out by injuries early on.
But along the way many young players gained valuable varsity experience, experience they may not have gotten had there been more veterans.
For instance the offensive line was mostly a sophomore-junior group … but quite talented.
In Coy Bailey the Red Devils have a budding All-Little Kanawha Conference lineman. This year the 6-2, 240-pound sophomore was outstanding both ways. One of his highlight games was a 19-tackle night against South Harrison.
Dustin Holcomb, 5-10, 250, was another sophomore to have a solid season. Classmates Christian Hash and Chris Lacy also performed well.
Junior Jorge Webster was one of the Red Devil leaders in a surprising category - kickoff returns as he seemed to be in the right placer at the right time on a lot of short and onside kicks. And when he got the ball he was a pretty good runner. He also made a lot of good blocks and tackles along the way.
Other junior linemen making contributions included Cameron Jones and Nathan Hipp.
At the skill positions Calhoun had one young player absolutely burst onto the scene as sophomore Ethyn Miller proved to be the go-to guy in many passing situations and he made the impossible look easy on a few of his catches. The 5-7, 126-pound Miller was also a standout on defense as well as returning punts and kickoffs.
Casey Ritchie showed enough backing up Logan Moore to be the leader in the quarterback race for next season as he passed well and ran better.
Three or four guys figure figure to battle it out for the two running back spots next season as senior-to-be Kirkland Allen was this season's starter at tailback while Cole Ritchie was an often used starter at fullback. Freshman Seth Moore, a standout at the junior high level, and late bloomer Dylan Heiney also earned some repetitions in the backfield.
So there is hope.
But how will Calhoun do?
A lot depends on the depth. Will some of the many guys who for one reason or another sat out last season come back and play football? Will any of the middle school group coming up be contributors right away? Will some who have never played football play?
Those are big questions sine the football team really needs 35 or so players instead of the 25 or so it had this year.
If the depth is there a plus .500 season is not out of the question for 2014 and an even better team could be in the Red Devils' future in 2015.
Calhoun could have better days ahead.