Kroner's football tour '14: Salt Fork
SIDELL — It didn’t take Salt Fork coach Brian Plotner long to realize an important fact about his current football team.
“We have a lot of kids who have the potential to play,” Plotner said. “It has been a very competitive week of practice. We have a lot of pieces, but I’m not sure how they will fit together.”
Some positions are less uncertain than others. Nick Barr and Jordan Lamb were fixtures on the offensive line last year and will return.
Some squad members are more likely to play now than if Plotner had made judgments when last season ended. Senior Breighton Phillips is one player who has worked his way into the lineup.
“He played some corner (in 2013) but had pretty limited time,” Plotner said, “and has now gone to someone who may not get off the field. He’ll start at corner. He will (also) start at wide receiver, and on special teams, he’ll be a key factor.
“He understands what we’re asking and plays with a lot of confidence.”
At some positions, Plotner said there’s more to consider than who is the best choice.
He has three quarterbacks seeking the No. 1 position, but the coach wonders how he can “play all three and be the best we can be.”
Senior quarterback-hopeful Colton Fauver also is working out at fullback and wingback. Sophomore Caleb Fauver also could be called upon as a wingback, and junior Connor Taylor — a pitcher in baseball — is another ball-carrying candidate.
The collective attitude of the quarterback prospects is a reflection of feelings among other Storm players.
“As far as willingness to do whatever, I see a unified effort,” Plotner said. “I believe this group has shown us a lot. I’ve asked them to do more conditioningwise, and they never batted an eye. I’m happy with the effort they’ve put in.”
Colton Fauver, Barr, Lamb and Phillips are among the team’s seven seniors.
It will take longer for lineman Brodie Cline to work into the rotation. He left in June for basic training in the Army, and he recently returned and rejoined the team. It could be the season’s third week before he fulfills the mandatory practice requirements established by the IHSA.
Among the other seniors, Clay Anderson was a part-time starter last year at guard, and Ross Anderson saw duty as a linebacker.
Juniors in the mix for time on the line are Caleb Andreas, Trevor Peterson and Dalton Weaver.
“The adage is, you only go as far as the line will take you,” Plotner said. “Those guys have to be a combined strength for us. They have to be our backbone.”
Coach: Brian Plotner, 13th year
2013 record: 8-2
2014 roster size: 53
Home opener: Aug. 29, Watseka, 7 p.m.