MILLBURY — Lake coach Josh Andrews said having several players returning at offensive skilled positions and a strong offensive line will help bolster the team, but the Flyers are still trying to fill spots left open due to graduation.
To be successful. Andrews said his team must become “consistent,” “cannot get behind on the chains,” must execute and have the ability for a balanced pass and rushing attack.
On offense, wingbacks Matt Perry and Joah Herman return to earn their third varsity letters. Second-year letter winners returning include quarterback Joe Clay, who was an honorable mention All-NBC selection at running back.
Clay played a half season at QB, completing 44-of-82 passes (53.7%) for 651 yards and six touchdowns, but he also ran 542 yards on 127 carries (4.3 per carry) and six TDs.
Other letter winners include running backs David Parsons and Izyck Whalen, center Cole Mershon, and offensive linemen Jason Ahumada and Gerrit Kistler, who earned HM All-NBC offensive guard accolades.
Parsons ran for 324 yards on 69 carries (4.7 and two TDs, and receiver Matt Perry returns after catching six passes for 76 yards (12.7).
Andrews sees his offensive skilled player starters as Clay and Caleb Tobias at QB, Parsons, Anthony Anzaldua, and Xayden Wilkes at RB and Colin Haas, Nathan Wagner, Felipe Garcia, Connor Eck and Brandon Darr at receiver.
The line consists of tackles Ahumada, Trace Mannon, Kohl Weis, and Cole Fisher, guards Kistler, and Cody Cappelletty and tight ends Perry and Caleb Day.
Andrews says the defense has good size up front and returns several key returning linebackers, but replacements had to be made in the secondary.
The coach says the defense must have the “ability to play fast, physical and assignment football” and players must “understand assignments and execution of the assignments.”
Four defensive starters return with two letters already under the belts, including Perry and Herman at linebacker Jack Caughorn at defensive end and Clay at defensive back.
Darren Miller and Whalen return at linebacker after earning a letter last year.
Andrews sees his starting defensive line as interior linemen Kistler and Ahumada, Caughorn at end, Perry, Herman, Miller and Whalen at LB, Eck, Garcia and Darr at corner back and Clay, Haas and Parsons at safety.
Herman had 71 tackles last year, including five tackles for a loss, Perry had 53 tackles, Caughorn had 36, Kistler had 30, and Clay had 28 tackles.
Andrews saw games won and lost on special teams last year, too, but expects to return with a strong kicking game with “time spent on special teams.
He says players must “buy into the importance of special teams.”
On special teams, Darr, Parsons and Haas are the punt and kick returners, Caughorn, Reed, and Grayson Reed will do the place kicking and kickoffs with Clay and Tobias doing the holding.
Caleb Tobias and Ethan Bradfield will do the punting, and Mershon, Vincent Barton and Herman are the long snappers.