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NEW CONCORD Believe & Achieve.
A short, simple slogan, but one the John Glenn Muskies equates in a successful football season.
Coach John Kelleys squad, coming off a break-even 5-5 season (5-3 in the Muskingum Valley League) are hoping that the belief that they can be successful allows them to achieve the goals they desire and the veteran Muskie mentor feels his team is primed for a solid 2011 campaign.
That (motto) is something the captains chose and they truly believe in, offered Kelley, set to begin his 17th year at the JGHS grid helm. Our senior leadership has been great...its a good group of kids and theyve done everything they needed to do to get ready for hte season. They didnt short-change it in any aspect.
Kelley, who achieved a couple of coaching milestones last year surpassing the 100-victory plateau at John Glenn (he is now 104-64) and reaching 200 career coaching wins (hes 200-147-2 overall) likes the experience his team returns and feels they have the makeup to play Muskie Ball.
We have a lot of experienced, athletic kids, he related. Were not gigantic, but we do have some good size, too. I think our strength lies in the front line, both offensively and defensively. We just have to play our type of game and take care of the football.
One concern for Kelly & Co. is coming out after halftime and performing better.
Last year, we werent a very good third quarter team and weve got to improve on that, the JG coach acknowledged. I havent put a finger on why, but we were probably a 7-3 team in the first half, then a 3-7 team in the second half so we ended up 5-5. We have to be ready to play after halftime.
Inheriting the quarterback role is senior Joey Ferguson (6-1, 195), a one-year letterman.
Joey has paid his dues and its his time now, said Kelley. He is a capable thrower, so we want to mix in the pass effectively.
Other signal-callers on the Muskies roster are junior Zach Swingle (5-10, 175) and sophomore Zyler Flowers (5-10, 155).
As always, John Glenn features a stable of wingbacks headed by returning starter Jared Larson (5-9, 165), a senior two-year letterman. He rushed for 166 yards last fall and added 115 receiving on 13 catches and earned special mention all-Eastern District as a linebacker.
Other capable ballcarriers include senior two-year letterman Carl Wiencik (5-9, 165); junior letterman Grant Hall (6-2, 175), Cole Bennett (5-5, 140) and Chandler Warne (5-8, 155); and sophomores Stone Morgan (6-1, 160), Blake Atkins (5-7, 150) and Sean Whitlow (5-10, 164).
Senior two-year letterman Josh Thomas (6-1, 210), who earned all-MVL honorable mention last year, heads the list of fullbacks. Others are juniors Cody Day (5-10, 180), Jordan Moore (5-10, 195) and letterman Brian Doane (5-11, 195) along with sophomore Austin Bell (6-0. 200).
The teams top receiving threat figures to be senior letterman Heath Dodson (6-3, 170), a second team all-MVL selection, with other regulars to include senior letterman Karl Klein (5-6, 140) and junior Austin Parker (5-9, 160).
Remaining wideouts are seniors Dusty Sharrer (6-3, 185) and letterman Zach Payne (6-0, 140); junior RJ Glosser (5-8, 140); and sophomores Blade Woodburn (5-7, 150), Garrett Killian (5-10, 130), Kaden Jones (5-6, 140), Cody Mack (5-8, 135), Tyler McGee (5-7, 145), James Brandon (5-2, 115),
Senior lettermen Cody Lake (6-2, 175) and Michael Kuhns (6-2, 175) along with junior Jordan Halasi (6-0, 175) are the top tight ends, with senior letterman Cody Hockenberry (6-2, 180) and sophomore Chase Brown (5-9, 180) adding depth.
Anchoring the offensive line at center is returning starter CJ LaCroix (6-1, 229), a junior letterman, with senior letterman Clayton Larimer (6-2, 230) as a capable backup.
Three-year letterman senior Dallas Morgan (6-4, 240), a first team all-MVL and second team all-Eastern District Division III selection last fall, returns at one guard post, with senior letterman Coleman Mathers (5-11, 195), juniors Collin Babcock (6-0, 215) and Ryan Patterson (5-10, 187) and sophomore Luke Larson (5-8, 215) among the prime candidates on the other side.
Several letterman are vying for PT at offensive tackle, including juniors Travis Brock (5-11, 215) and Gage Snider (6-3, 205) and the senior trio of John Seevers (6-3, 230), Garrett Bradley (5-9, 205) and Matt Rice (6-2, 255).
Other interior linemen are senior letterman Austin Norton (6-1, 275); juniors, Adam Delong (5-7, 205) and Reed Bugglin (5-11, 235); and sophomores Austin Husk (5-9, 185), Matt Tom (5-10, 180), Coulter McDermott (6-1, 212), Austin Sharrock (5-10, 190) and Brad Comisford (6-2, 210).
Defensively, the Muskies front line will include the likes of Mathers, Thomas and Doane at the terminals while Dallas Morgan, Norton, Rice and LeCroix are the primary tackles.
Backup support on the D-line includes Seevers, Larimer, Bradley, Babcock, Patterson, Brock, Delong, Bugglin, Tom, McDermott, Sharrock, Larson and Comisford.
The inside linebackers are led by Lake, with Snider, Halasi, Moore, Day, Sharrer and Stone Morgan in the mix.
On the outside, its Larson, Kuhns, Wiencik and Ferguson as the primary backers.
Addional linebackers are Hockenberry, Swingle, Warne, Whitlow, Mack, Bell, Brown Husk,
The safeties are Dodson, Hall, Atkins and Bennett.
The rest of the DBs are Payne, Klein, Glosser, Parker, Woodburn, Killian, Flowers, Jones, James and McGee.
Morgan and Lake are among the top returning tacklers while Dodson had three picks.
Day and Tom are expected to handle the placekicking duties while Stone Morgan and Doane are the punters.
The Muskies graduated a host of players, headed by a pair who earned all-state recognition Jake Heagen and Laine Crawford. Both were all-Ohio D-III special mention along with first team all-Eastern District and all-MVL.
Other grads who earned all-star honors were Nick Fraunfelter, first team all-MVL, special mention all-Eastern District and a participant in the Muskingum Valley-Licking County All-Star Game; Kyle Dumolt, first team all-MVL and special mention all-Eastern District; Brandon Dolick, second team all-MVL; Jordan West, honorable mention all-MVL; and Tyler Bosson, a Muskingum Valley-Licking County All-Star Game participant.
The rest of the departees were Christian Norman, Noah Hill, Jordan Parker, Derrick Berry, David Burch, Corey Marsh, Wyatt Glass, Michael Flesher, Barry Ransbottom, Chris Buckey and Logan Miller.
Kelleys coaching staff includes veterans B.J. Scott, Doug Joy, Brad Barclay, Matt Abbott and newcomer Cory Hanes. Ryan Haynes and Chris Merry handle the freshman squad while Chase Rossiter, Mike Bennett, Jeremy Rice and Brian Wilfong coach the junior high team.
The veteran Muskie mentor sees two teams as the cream of the crop in the MVL.
Sheridan is the defending champ, and theyre always good, Kelley acknowledged, and Tri-Valley has a big-time quarterback so they will be tough, too.
As has been the case since 1964, John Glenn will open the season against Barnesville on Friday, this time on the Shamrocks home turf.