SIDELL — Salt Fork’s starting quarterback last year was a junior. Taylor Kirby still is playing football as a senior, but it won’t be the center who hands him the ball.
Coach Brian Plotner asked Kirby to make a position switch for the benefit of a veteran team that retains seven starters on offense as well as seven on defense.
“The last couple years, with Taylor Kirby and David Sacre, we had as tough, hard-nosed running quarterbacks as you could hope for,” Plotner said, “but we were limited in the passing game, and teams were willing to let us throw. We felt Taylor was our best open-field runner, and we want to get him to touch the ball in space.”
Kirby embraced the backfield move.
“We explain what we think is best, and he was very accepting,” Plotner said.
Kirby will make an impact as a ball carrier, while senior Jacob Hughes takes over at quarterback with junior Colton Fauver waiting in the wings.
“Colton is one of those kids who can play anywhere, if needed,” Plotner said.
Steven Meade, a guard-linebacker who moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore, is back as a senior. His junior year was derailed in Week 3 by a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Meade and Max Stutsman will play side-by-side on the offensive line.
The Storm has made the playoffs 12 consecutive years and 14 of the last 15.
“The kids take a lot of ownership (in the tradition), and that drives the offseason workouts,” Plotner said. “No question, they have put the time, effort and diligence into making themselves better athletes. They want to continue what has been done before and, if they put it together, to be one of the more memorable groups we’ve had.”
With 17 lettermen on the 62-player roster, Plotner acknowledges, “We have a lot of potential.”
Salt Fork opens the season Friday against Arcola. The game will be played at Jamaica High School. The Storm will have six home games this season. Three will be played at Jamaica, and three will be played at Catlin.