BELLBROOK — After an exciting season with more down-to-the-wire wins than you can count, Bellbrook is looking to fill in some key pieces to continue to find success. Core offensive positions are being replaced, but the Golden Eagles hope to build off an experienced offensive line.
“It’s going to be an adventure to see how it all works out, but we really like the kids that we have. There is a lot of inexperience, but that happens. We’re looking forward to it. It’s a good challenge,” said head coach Kevin Basinger.
One thing Bellbrook isn’t lacking is leadership.
“We started a leadership council last year. We try to bring some sophomores and juniors in there and we have a group of kids becoming leaders,” said Basinger. “We picked our captains out of that. Those kids have all been around. They know where we want to go. They have to be the vocal leaders this year.”
The Golden Eagles aren’t as deep as they would like to be, but they are a tough group that is eager to get out on the field. Basinger said that the first three games will really set the tone for the season.
Malachi Diaz, Austin Horne, Brad Russelburg, Nolan McNamee and Drew Ashurst are all big bodies returning to play on the offensive line for Bellbrook. Basinger said that this group, who was undersized but scrappy last season, has put on some weight and will be the anchor of the team.
“They’re going to be the strength of our team, and we’re going to go as they go,” he said.
They will be protecting and entirely new backfield. David Vine replaced the graduated Alex Fryman at quarterback. Connor Oldham will be taking a lot of the handoffs. Chandler Wren, who is also the backup quarterback, will be running the ball as well.
Caleb Shroyer and Justin Havens will be the middle linebackers for Bellbrook and will command the defense. Basinger said they are the “heart and soul” of that side of the ball.
“Caleb played a lot last year and Justin has been doing really well in preseason and in the weight room. He’s a big, strong kid,” he said.
Basinger said that Rye Bennett and Nick Barhorst will also be key players on defense.
Basinger said Jeff Jenkins did a great job as defensive coordinator teaching the kids to take pride in their play.
“Running to the football was a strength. Kids really bought into that,” he said. “We had a great defense last year and I’m sure we’re going to hang our hat on that again this year. Hopefully we can score a little more points too. “
Shroyer will be the punter again this season. Brady Tincher, who was responsible for kickoffs last season, will be taking extra points as well this year. Chase Sawyer was the placekicker last year, but is unable to kick this season.