GEORGETOWN — Josh Cavanaugh has an idea of what he’ll do with the quarterback position this year with his Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman football team.
“We may run plays in with them,” said Cavanaugh, in his third season as the Buffaloes’ coach.
A week into the preseason training camp, the G-RF/Chrisman cooperative team did not have a clearcut signal-caller.
“It’s the first time ever we haven’t had a “1” or “2” by now,” Cavanaugh said.
The prospects are all underclassmen. Junior Wyatt Covington is battling sophomore challengers Riley Goodwin and Dylan Mills.
Cavanaugh is confident that the team will be in good hands regardless of whoever gets the position.
“Teams can not load up in the run game against us,” Cavanaugh said, “because we have good receivers and quarterbacks that can get them the ball. That will keep them honest in the running game.”
Two starting receivers return: Ryan Berry and Kyle Coburn. Junior Andy Nicholson will add depth — as well as quickness — to the position. He’s a runner on the Buffaloes’ 400-meter relay.
Berry, one of the Buffaloes’ quickest players, is a returning all-conference player who could emerge as a marquee player in the area.
“We’ll find creative ways to get him the ball,” Cavanaugh said. “His numbers will go up.”
Berry was the team’s leading receiver last fall, hauling in 28 passes for 433 yards.
The coach is less certain about his tight end. Three sophomores are in contention: Michael Chittick, Brady Herrin and Matt Willaman. Cavanaugh issued the trio a challenge.
“The first one that learns to block plays,” he said.
Returning line anchors are tackle Evan Olson (235 pounds) and Gage Jurumbo (210 pounds), who play side by side. Derek Shuman (205 pounds) will be the other guard. Dakoda Chapman (240 pounds) and Nate Henson (286 pounds), a first-year player as a junior, are seeking the other tackle slot.
Chapman is also working out at center along with Cory Tintore (190 pounds), a first-year player as a senior, and Heath Watters (240 pounds).
Compared to his first year at the school, Cavanaugh sees a profound difference.
“Two years ago, we had no one over 200 pounds on the line,” he said. “This year, it could work out we have no one under 200 pounds on the line.”
Two lettermen return in the backfield, including 400-meter relay runner Tyson Reed along with Dylan Bina. Among the fullback hopefuls are Tyson Digby, Drew Pratt and Troy Rodriguez.
The top three rushers from last year’s 6-4 team (Korie Vire, Tanner Kelley and Ryan Dieu) all graduated. Bina and Reed each scored two touchdowns last fall.
G-RF/C will open the season with three consecutive road games, starting with the Aug. 24 opener at Decatur Lutheran. The schedule gets progressively tougher with the Buffaloes closing against the teams picked as the top three in the Vermilion Valley the final three weeks: Salt Fork, Bismarck-Henning and Westville.
“Our schedule is favorable for us to grow as a young team,” Cavanaugh said. “If it were reversed, it would be a tough road to hoe. We’re running a system similar to last year, but it will take a little time for our kids to get together.”
The defensive front features three holdovers. Jurumbo and Shuman are returnees at end. Zyrone Petty (299 pounds) started at tackle. Olson and Henson could also play up front.
Among the linebackers, Bina saw the most playing time in 2011. Rodriguez and Colby Roberson are other outside linebackers. Playing inside are Chapman and Pratt.
Free safety Berry is the veteran of the secondary. Also hoping to see time in the defensive backfield are Coburn, Dylan Mills, Nicholson, Reed and Aryn Vaughn.
Shuman, Berry and Petty were third, fourth and fifth in the team in tackling last fall.
G-RF/C has 60 athletes in its program. Twenty five of them are freshmen. Seven are seniors.
Chapman, Henson and Watters are among the players coming from Chrisman. Sophomore Austin Romine, a first-year player, and junior Hayden Buckley, who is sidelined with a torn meniscus, are also from Chrisman.
Joining Cavanaugh on the coaching staff are holdovers Jay Willaman, Steve Rutter and Ryan Goodwin along with newcomers Jeff Willaman, Nathan West, Brandon Herrin and Max Call. Herrin was in charge of the community’s youth program the past two years and had last year’s eighth-graders running the same system Cavanaugh has in place at the high school.
Friday: Westville’s Tigers