LEADING RETURNING TACKLER … Edgerton junior Joel Walkup (#12) tries to shed a block to tackle the Edon ball carrier. Walkup is the top returning tackler for the Bulldog defense after recording 93.5 tackles last season as a sophomore. PHOTO BY RICH HARDING / THE VILLAGE REPORTER
By: Daniel Cooley
EDGERTON – One year ago, Edgerton rebounded from a 4-6 season and made the Division VII playoffs with a 7-3 regular season.
If the Bulldogs are to make the playoffs again, it will depend on how quickly their young and inexperienced offensive line grows up.
During its ten game regular season, Edgerton averaged 30 points per game, while surrendering just 16.8 points per game.
But the Bulldogs must replace four of its five starting linemen on both sides of the ball. “We were able to get seven wins, but weren’t happy with how the season ended,” said Edgerton coach Brody Flegal.
“We had a hard time keeping our starters healthy and struggled late in our league schedule. We had a great group of seniors that will be missed.”
Offensive and defensive linemen lost to graduation are Justin Huffman, Cooper Everetts, a defensive lineman, and GMC second team offensive guard, Blake Flowers, defensive lineman and GMC second team center, Ray Pelz, a second team tackle and second team defensive linemen and defensive lineman Justin Fry.
Senior tackle Elijah Martin (235 pounds) is the lone returning offensive lineman. Others looking to start are sophomore tackle Urijah Rivera (220 pounds), sophomore guards Bryce Schroeder (220 pounds) and 185-pound senior Jackson Flower and junior 220-pound center Evan Stark.
How the offense performs will depend on how well either quarterback plays, whether it’s junior Scottie Krontz or sophomore Maddox Baker.
Either one will have big shoes to fill, replacing dual threat Corey Everetts, who led Edgerton in rushing, with 806 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. In addition, Everetts passed for 1,496 yards more, along with 18 touchdowns and threw just three interceptions.
Krontz, as a backup, rushed for 147 yards and three TD’s, while completing 11 of 19 passes for 90 yards. Baker, meanwhile, was 5-6 passing, for 42 yards.
Edgerton lost its leading receiver, Kadyn Picillo (654 receiving yards), along with Riley Kollar (172 receiving yards).
Returning wide receivers are Krontz, 220 receiving yards (when Baker is at quarterback), junior Cory Herman (155 receiving yards) and sophomore Noah Weaver (88 receiving yards). Junior Joel Walkup will also see time at receiver.
Senior Owen Roth, with 183 yards rushing and four TD’s, is the top returning running back. Senior Shaun Murphy will also see playing time.
On defense, linebacker Walkup is the leading returning tackler, with 93.5 tackles and 12 tackles for loss. Weaver (six tackles) will be the other starting linebacker. Defensive ends will be Roth (35.5 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss and Flower.
The interior linemen will be Murphy (29.5 tackles, 4 tackles for loss), Schroeder and Martin. Cornerbacks will be Krontz (21.5 tackles) and Herman (9.5 tackles).
Sophomore Dakota Burke will be one safety, while junior Noah Grande and sophomores Levi Hess and Baker will battle for the other starting safety.
STRENGTHS: “With our skill positions offensively, we have a lot of guys with varsity experience,” Flegal said. “We must take care of the football and establish a rhythm early. When we do those things, we are successful.”
“On defense, our overall team speed should be a strength and we have a lot of experience in the secondary,” Flegal said. We must control the line of scrimmage and be great tacklers.”
On special teams, sophomore Parker Elden was solid, making 28 of 31 extra points. Punter Herman, a second team GMC selection, returns and averaged 36.3 yards per punt.
WEAKNESSES: “Offensively, we will be replacing four of five linemen and will be relying on some sophomores to fill starting positions as we start the season,” Flegal said.
“Defensively, we graduated a lot on the defensive line, and we will look to replace them with speed and quickness up front.”
“On special teams, we need to continue to avoid giving up game changing plays (botched punts and long kickoff returns),” Flegal said.
ABOUT THEIR SCHEDULE: Season Opener: August 18th – Edon (H) 7pm; GMC Opener: September 8th – Wayne Trace (H) 7pm
Dan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org