*This article is being reran after previous errors were corrected for this updated version*
LUCASVILLE – A year ago, Valley’s football record could have looked much differently. In 2018, the Indians finished 4-6 capped off by a Week 10 blowout win in their rivalry game with Minford, 42-14. However, last season’s few narrow losses which could have seen the Indians finish at 6-4 or 7-3 if the game turns out differently are fueling this year’s fall camp.
Head coach Darren Crabtree is entering his 30th (!!!) season as a head coach, but that doesn’t mean the expectations are any different than any of the other 29 years in Lucasville. Led by senior running back Kayden Mollette and senior lineman Mason Zaler, the Indians are hoping to turn heads outside of what prognosticators think their ceiling could be.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out there,” Mollette said. “We’ve worked really hard in the offseason. I think we’re ready to go, looking forward to a good season.”
Due to graduation, Valley lost a heck of a lot of offensive production from their high powered offense which was known for making big plays a season ago. Now graduates of Valley Andrew Shope, Gabe Streeter, Tanner Spradlin, and Tanner Cunningham were all players who benefitted off experience in prior seasons in their positions.
In 2019, Mollette takes over the reigns as the lead tailback in Valley’s offsene while junior playmaker Andrew Andronis makes the transition from wide receiver to quarterback. Those pieces combined with the Indians best returning group of players being their line should make for another exciting year of Indians offense this season.
“Having Kayden [Mollette] move to tailback will really give us some speed and a power back outside,” Zaler said. “Andrew [Andronis] moving to quarterback helps us bring back the option which he’s been doing great in. Our offensive line is probably our strongest point: five starting offensive linemen who are seniors.”
Levi Williams, Jacob Brickey, Jacob Ward, Devon Stiltner round out the line for the Indians while Devin Wiley assumes the tight end role.
“Those guys know our schemes and our plays so well,” Mollette continued. “That gives us bigger holes so that when we get into space, we’re able to make plays. They also have a ton of experience.”
After a year in which expectations for the team may not have been met in the win column, Mollette and Zaler are determined to prevent a similar scenario from taking place this fall.
“I think we can be really good, maybe even compete for the playoffs,” Mollette said. “Definitely going to surprise some teams who don’t look for us to be very good.”
“We want to be playing in week eleven,” Zaler said. “If that means fighting for a home playoff game in week nine and ten, we want to be right there fighting.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved