By Zach Gregory
BELLBROOK — The Bellbrook Golden Eagles have gone through growing pains in the last few years, not reaching the success that the program expects. This year’s squad has grown together and now hopes to meet those expectations.
“We have a much more experienced team this season and we are expecting much more out of this group. The offense and defensive lines are much improved and will lead us to a successful season,” said veteran coach Kevin Basinger. “We are looking forward to a few changes on the schedule for this season with Northridge coming on the schedule and making a trip to Columbus in week three to play Buckeye Valley.
“We have had a dry spell in terms of wins the last few years. This group of kids is ready to get us back where we want to be.”
Senior Alex Fryman will lead the Golden Eagles offense behind center. The 6-foot quarterback completed 101 of 225 passes last season for 1,614 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also rushed 129 times for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
Seniors Sam Martin and Evan Clark will be the main tailbacks running behind the improved offensive line. Clark carried the ball 159 times last season, totalling 832 yards and eight touchdowns. He also hauled in 11 catches for 94 yards and one touchdown. Jacob Schmitt is another senior in the backfield.
Zach Bannister will be a big target for Fryman running routes. The 6-foot 2-inch senior tight end will play a key role in the team’s passing game.
“He is a very versatile player that we are going to use in a variety of ways this season,” said Basinger.
The defensive side of the football will look a lot like the offense in a couple key spots. Fryman will lead the defense at the middle linebacker position, where he had 80 tackles and was named to the All-SWBL first-team last season. Martin was a second-team All-SWBL last year at defensive back.
A host of new starters will also make an impact for Bellbrook on defense. Juniors Malachi Diaz and Ben Terry will play on both sides of the trenches having earned starting roles after playing off the bench last season.
Basinger is also expecting a lot out of junior Caleb Shroyer at linebacker this season.
“He saw a lot of time as a sophomore and gained 30 pounds in the offseason. We’re looking for good things out of him this season,” Basinger said.
Along with their contests against Buckeye Valley (Sept. 11 in Delaware) and Northridge (Oct. 17), there are a couple of other games circled on Bellbrook’s calendar. They will play in a trophy game against Xenia in the Walter G. Sellers Memorial Game at 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at Xenia’s Cox Stadium.
An experienced squad, Bellbrook will be using its past bumps and bruises as motivation this season. Behind an improved line and while exhibiting physical play, the Golden Eagles hope to get positive in the win column. If their chippiness at practice on both ends is any indication, then Bellbrook is ready to get out there this season and hit someone.