Kroner's football tour: Urbana (w/video)

Kroner's football tour: Urbana (w/video)

Prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner is touring 17 area football camps. Today ... Urbana


URBANA — Don’t discount the Urbana High School football program as “won and done.”

A year ago, the Tigers captured the school’s first postseason victory, led by All-Area Player of the Year Cameron Mammen. Quarterback Mammen — and the majority of the offensive line — graduated, but head coach Nathan Watson doesn’t view this season as a time to rebuild.

“Even though we lost a lot of seniors, I expect that this team will have the opportunity to build on last year’s success,” Watson said.

His optimism starts with the talent and depth at the pass-catching positions. Tanner Russell ranked third in the area in receiving yards as a junior, and classmate Dustin Lard finished the year with 25 receptions. James Cobbs is another senior wideout positioned for a breakout season.

Watson describes sophomore Alex Beckman as “a young quarterback with a strong arm” who will benefit from an experienced receiving corps.

The inexperience up front, Watson said, will be countered in other areas. 

“Our size and strength will improve across the entire line,” he said. “That size and strength, in addition to our experience at the skill positions, should produce lots of points for the offense.”

Defensively, seven starters return. That group includes senior linebacker Kenny Patton, a two-way standout who rushed for 601 yards a year ago, and 250-pound linemen Cedrick Fry and Mike Martinez, both juniors, along with defensive backs Demetrius Jackson and Moaso Bumba, also juniors.

“We return the nucleus of a tough defense,” Watson said.

Fry will also figure into the offense as a tight end.

The Tigers open Aug. 30 at home against Normal Community.

Fred Kroner