ROSSFORD — Rossford returns 17 lettermen from last year’s 5-6 team, which finished 2-4 in the Northern Buckeye Conference.
This year, coach Todd Drusback expects his team to compete for an NBC title.
The team includes senior quarterback and safety Alex Williams and senior wide receiver and linebacker Brandon Swope, who both earned all-league accolades a year ago.
Last year Williams completed 166-of-303 passes for 2,108 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 644 yards on 166 carries and five TDs. Williams is a three-year starter and two-time all-league performer.
Rossford coach Todd Drusback said Williams has the potential to play collegiate football but has not committed anywhere yet.
Swope, a two-year starter, was second on the team for tackles last year, and he and Williams both earned all-league honors for their defensive duties, too.
Other top wide receivers include seniors Brenden Revels, Jake Morrison and Wes Ellison while Revels also plays free safety, Morrison plays cornerback and Ellison safety on defense. Morrison caught 22 passes for 288 yards and two TDs a year ago.
Drusback says Morrison, Kaden Kirkman, Swope, Revels and Ellison “all can be impactful” catching passes from Williams this season.
Drusback says his team has the most “depth and experience” at wide receiver, adding that Revels brings “good size and speed with ball skills.”
As a result, Rossford will run a spread offense to go along with a 4-3 defense. On special teams, senior Jonah Shafer returns for kicking duties.
Top senior linemen returning include offensive guard/defensive tackle Logan Bieganowski, defensive end and offensive guard Tommy Hughart, offensive and defensive tackle Noah Hayes.
Key juniors returning include offensive and defensive tackle Owen Taylor, wide receiver and cornerback Kaden Kirkman and running back and linebacker Aiden Wilson.
Sophomore Grant Eckel returns at running back and linebacker, also. Aiden Wilson and Eckel are expected to split time at running back this year.
Top returning offensive lineman include Owen Taylor and Bieganowski, but Drusback says the other three spots are up for grabs. Hughart leads the defensive line, but the coach still has three spots up for grabs.
The strength of his defense, Drusback says, is the experience and leadership the linebackers bring. Eckel, Wilson, Swope, Nick Taddonio and Zayden Morrison are all competing for starting positions.
Competing for safety positions are Williams, Revels, Ethan Lashuay, Ellison and Brian Robinson and competing for cornerback spots are Kirkman, Morrison, Xavier Kellermeier, Luis Rivera and Jesse Tanicala.
Although Drusback says the team’s goals are “to win the league”, he adds the NBC “should be strong as usual.”
Drusback adds that he is still seeking out his most improved players from last year and says there is still inexperience in many spots.
Drusback is entering his 13th year at Rossford, where he sports a 55-67 accumulative record. He also coached at Genoa (2000-01, 4-16), Edgerton (2002-05, 21-20) and Fremont St. Joseph (2006-09, 23-18).
His 2009 St. Joseph team won a Midland Athletic Conference title and he was named Coach of the Year. Three times he has been named Northwest Ohio Coach of the Year.
At Edgerton he led the team to a playoff berth in 2003, at St. Joseph in 2009, and in 2015, he led Rossford to its first playoff win. The Bulldogs also qualified in 2020 and 2021.
He also helps with the track program at Rossford, coached track at Edgerton (2003-06) and at St. Joseph (2005-06), and coached basketball at Vanlue (1999-2000).