“So far the DB’s are looking good. No matter what, there is always room to improve, but I feel really confident going into week one,” said defensive backs coach Kevin Johnson ‘10.
Coming off of an 8-3 record and losing the great defensive class of ‘19, Connor Cmiel, Jack Welcsh, and others have to step up and become the leaders of the defensive backs.
“We look good as a group, and what gives us the upper hand this year is definitely going to be our experience,” Welcsh said.
The defensive backs have been working hard in the weight room and on the field over the offseason. Welcsh believes the work will pay off this year.
“We definitely made major improvements in the offseason working as a group and making improvements in the weight room,” Welcsh said.
The schedule this year includes many obstacles, including the No. 19 team in the country, DeMatha Catholic from Maryland, last year’s Division I state champion St. Edward, Division II champs Akron Archbishop Hoban, and Mentor. With these obstacles, Coach Johnson (KJ), said, “We are the last line of defense and as long as these guys keep things in front of them and on top of routes, I'll be happy.”
The team has also shown a lot of improvement since November, both on the field, and in the weight room.
“The player that has the most improvement was Jacob Davis, a young man who is now out with an ACL injury but still plays an important part of this team by giving the pre-game talks to the DB group. Also Chris Matthews is a kid who has shown so much improvement on the field.”
The defensive backs have also received a lot of help from JV players, such as Braeden Lair.
“He is a young man who has been moved up to Varsity already, and does a great job challenging himself on and off the field.”
As the team adjusts to its chemistry without the class of 2019, the senior class will fill in the shoes of its predecessors, with players such as Merick Hartley, Erik Daugenti, Charlie Kinzel, and Michael Corte. The juniors on the team will also be asked to contribute. Look for Chris Snyder and Emmett Hanna to lead the way.
This 2019 season will be challenging for the defensive backs, as well as for the rest of the team.
“This is going to be an exciting and very challenging year, especially with so many teams on the road, this team will have to focus week by week as we take on tough teams from all over,” Coach Johnson said. “A challenge that our team is ready for as we go into week one.”
Meanwhile, Jack Welcsh enthusiastically said, “I can expect a team who wants to win state.”