Head coach Adam Jarecki knew player numbers would again be an issue for his Wilson Hall football team as it has been the past of couple of seasons.
"We're basically at the same level we've been at the last couple of years," said Jarecki, who is …
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"We're basically at the same level we've been at the last couple of years," said Jarecki, who is preparing for his fifth season as the Barons' head coach. "This is the last of our small classes. We have five seniors. We just picked up our fifth senior. We're going to be around 29 players again."
While he knew the numbers were going to be low again, and that he would lose some key seniors to graduation, Jarecki did expect to have starting quarterback Wise Segars and running back Nathan Harris-Waynick from last year's 3-7 team back for their junior seasons. However, neither is with the program this year.
Jarecki is taking a woe-is-me approach to the upcoming season.
"It's just next man up," Jarecki said. "We've got what we've got, and we've got to work with it. You're going to lose kids year in, year out, one way or the other. You just have to get ready for the next year."
Jarecki said he and his coaching staff have learned how to deal with the limited numbers.
"When you have small numbers, you have to get more players ready to play," he said. "Offseason stuff and things we do at practice are geared to getting them ready for that."
Tate Sistare will step into the role of starting quarterback.
"He's a sophomore who moved up from our JV team, and he's had a great summer," Jarecki said. "Emory (Moore) is working some at quarterback too."
A positive for the Barons on offense is the fact it will have a lot of experience on the offensive line
"We return four of our five starters on the offensive line," Jarecki said.. "We'll lean on that. On the other side, we have just one skill player back."
That player is Graham VanPatten. He was the third leading rusher last season, picking up 322 yards and scoring five touchdowns on 65 carries. He also caught six passes for 64 yards.
The returning starters on the line are Wade Albert Payne, Heath Watson, Logan Kennerly and Michael Towery. Jacob Watt is the fifth starter and all of them are juniors.
Jarecki thinks the Barons could have some struggles on defense, at least initially.
"Defensively, we've got some big holes to fill," Jarecki said. "But once we get people in the right spots, getting everything worked out we're going to be OK."
VanPatten thinks the Barons will be better defensively.
"We had some games where we seemed to forget how to tackle, but I think our defense has really bought in," VanPatten said. I think we know what we need to do to stop the ball. We just need to go out there and not overthink it, go out and play defense, not overthink it and make the tackle."
With big numbers on the junior varsity and B teams, Jarecki likes the direction in which the program is heading. The school's weight room was upgraded last November, and said the team had a great workout schedule over the spring and summer.
"The entire attitude, the entire way of doing things, has had such a positive change going into this season," he said.
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