WEST LIBERTY – The WL-S Tigers advanced to the second round of the football playoffs last season before bowing out with a 9-3 record.
Veteran quarterback Brandon Upton led those Tigers to gridiron glory, but he graduated and will be replaced this year by senior Luke Woods – who moves over from wide receiver.
“Luke has been in our system three years in high school now and was our junior varsity quarterback, so he knows how to run our offense,” said WL-S Coach Dan McGill. “He is a very athletic, confident leader.”
Besides having a new QB, the Tigers are stacked with returning starters on both sides of the ball.
Returners on offense include seniors Trent Schmucker (tackle), Adam Schultz (tackle), Jerrod Smith (receiver), Sam Strickland (receiver), Chase Humphrey (tight end), Brandon Wolfe (running back) and Braden Miller (running back) and juniors Kevin McNutt (guard) and Trevor Burden (guard).
“We have a very experienced group,” said McGill.
Returners on defense include Schmucker (end), Burden (tackle), Schultz (end), Miller (linebacker), Wolfe (linebacker), Humphrey (linebacker), Smith (cornerback), Strickland (cornerback) and Woods (safety).
“We hope to compete and play our brand of football,” said McGill. “Our preparation and execution can help us win.”
McGill said Mechanicsburg is the team to beat in the Ohio Heritage Conference this season.
“They are the champs until someone knocks them off,” he said. “Greeneview and Northeastern should be good. There are a lot of improving teams in our league, so it should be competitive.”
The Tigers open the season tonight at Valley View, which defeated WL-S, 37-31, on opening night last year.
(Editor’s note: WL-S did not provide the Daily Citizen with a team photo)
Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @udcstout