SCIOTOVILLE — If you put your feet to the fire, you’re bound to get a little toasty.
For the second straight season, the largest class on the East Tartans football roster is its freshmen class.
A year ago, nine freshmen made up the Tartans’ youngest class.
In 2019, East put some of its youngest players in the most important positions — like quarterback Austin Baughman, a sophomore captain this year.
After having some struggles towards the middle of last season, the Tartans managed a 2-7 record — knocking off rival Notre Dame 12-7 in the season finale.
Now, a year older and with a year of varsity football under their belt, Baughman, junior tight end Leviticus Justice and the Tartans are hoping to build off their playing experiences from last season into the 2020 cycle.
“It’s been different,” Baughman said of preparing for the 2020 season. “We’ve just been working our hardest, going through everything step-by-step, and preparing the best we can.”
“It’s been crazy not knowing if we were going to get to play or not,” Justice said. “We’ve been working hard in the weight room, trying to stay positive that were going to have a season and do the best we can.”
When both captains were asked what they believed the strengths of the 2020 Tartans would be, they quickly pointed to East’s youth — in two aspects.
First in the fact that the Tartans’ 10-man freshmen class is not only talented, but even bigger than last year’s nine-man class, which helped bolster key positions on both sides of the ball.
Their youth also became a strength because of how it’s forced the entire East team to work that much harder in practice and in the weight room.
“A lot of the young guys became veterans, had a year or two of varsity experience last year,” Baughman said. “Coming back this year a lot stronger, and a lot of our freshmen guys are strong role players on the team.”
“Our young guys, for sure,” Justice said. “They work hard, they make us work hard. We get in, get out of the weight room and do what we have to do to keep going.”
East’s media day was the first football media day for Scioto County teams following the announcement from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine that fall sports in the Buckeye State would push forward as scheduled.
After an offseason of preparing and pushing each other in practice, the Tartans — along with thousands of other student-athletes in the state — were ecstatic that they’d been given the opportunity to improve and compete with their teammates this fall.
“A lot of happiness,” Baughman said. “Everyone in our group chat was happy that we get to play some football.”
“It was a celebration,” Justice said. “Everyone was hyped that we get to play some football finally. Hopefully we keep getting good news and keep playing, have some celebrations as a team and have a good season.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved