The Urbana High School football team returns almost every starter from last season except one – quarterback Levi Boettcher, who elected to not play football this year so he could focus on basketball.
UHS will start 5-foot-11, 200-pound sophomore Preston Shields at quarterback this season as the team seeks to improve upon last year’s 2-8 record.
“Our players have a ton of confidence in Preston because they see how hard he works in the weight room,” said second-year Urbana Coach Jon Daniels. “He’s big, strong, physical and very athletic. He’s hard to bring down and he has a big arm. He also has great decision-making ability for such a young player.”
Returning starters on offense include seniors Dillon Hasford (guard), John Cordle (lineman) and Nick Johnson (running back); juniors Bailey Ullah (lineman), Brandon Vogel (lineman), Devin Trent (receiver) and Kaleb Bowdle (receiver) and sophomore Max Niswonger (receiver).
Returning starters on defense include Vogel (lineman), Cordle (lineman), Hasford (lineman), Johnson (end/outside linebacker), junior Adam Gaver (linebacker), Ullah (linebacker), senior Mitch Moyer (outside linebacker), junior Logan Rooney (cornerback), Niswonger (safety), Trent (defensive back) and sophomore Ezra Lee (defensive back).
“We’re hungry to get back to work after going 2-8 last year,” said Daniels. “We’ve embraced our opportunities in the weight room and I really like our ability to win games this year.”
The Hillclimbers have moved to the big-school Kenton Trail Division of the CBC this season, and Daniels said that will be a challenge for his team.
“We’ll be the smallest school literally with the fewest players, so that could impact us in depth situations against teams with larger rosters,” he said. “We’re either going to step up this year or we’re not.”
Urbana opens the season Friday night by playing at London.
Reach Steve Stout ay 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @udcstout