CEDARVILLE — If the largely inexperienced Cedarville Indians are to find success this season, it’ll be because their senior leadership and spread running game have gotten the team pointed in the right direction. Right off the bat, they’ll have to overcome familiar foes: injuries and graduation.
First, they’ll have to get healthy and overcome some of the injuries that have slowed down offseason practices. Then they’ll have to replace the efforts of the now-graduated Caleb Coe, the work horse running back that powered the team’s offense for the last three years.
Despite all the obstacles that the Indians are staring down, head coach Jason Christian doesn’t see a six- or seven-win season as being out of reach – if the team can get healthy.
With two new faces handling the majority of on-the-ball responsibilities this season – first-year senior quarterback Jacob Gannon and running back Mitchell Depp – the team will rely on what Christian believes could be a strength for the Indians: the offensive line.
“I think our offensive line could be a pretty strong suit for us,” Christian said. “I’ve got four kids … who have all seen the field, who have all played a little bit, maybe not were starters, but they’ve been out there and been tested a little bit anyway. All four kids have worked really hard in the weight room.”
At tailback, Christian isn’t looking for Depp to step in and be the player that Coe was, adding that Depp could be serviceable for the team. Christian also noted that Depp will be running behind a better offensive line than Coe did last season.
While the team will likely tend towards the run, Gannon will be given the green light to throw if he shows Christian he can take care of the ball.
Christian is hoping to run the 50 on defense, but noted that his defense will be “a mixture.” The defense will be anchored by two standouts: senior linebacker Nathan Sheridan and junior defensive end Sam Allex.
“We’re really going to rely on Nathan to get us lined up right and then rely on him to make a bunch of tackles,” Christian said.
Christian said Allex was honorable mention all-league last season and classified him as “another kid who’s worked really hard in the weigh room, has gotten better, bigger and stronger.”
“I expect good things from him,” he said. “I would hope he grows up a little bit more this year.”
Kicking responsibilities will fall to Seth Salisbury and Kosi Alhasan once both return from injury. Everett Harding will handle punt and kickoff returns.
The Indians will look familiar in the sense that they’ll be running the ball a lot this season, yet they’ll do it with new faces taking those responsibilities. If the the team gets healthy, the team grows up quick and the offensive line proves to be as much of a strength as Christian hopes it could be, the team could see some success in 2015.
Reach Nathan Pilling at 937-502-4498 or on Twitter @XDGNatePilling.