BELLBROOK — Coming off an appearance in the regional final, Bellbrook’s taste of success is only the tip of the iceberg for what it wants to accomplish.
The Golden Eagles aren’t satisfied coming within a few plays of a berth into the state final four, but the team also recognizes how great of a season it still had in 2021, according to head coach Jeff Jenkins.
Now a new core group will need to be the ones to take the next step as 12 seniors, who all were key contributors, have graduated from last year’s team.
The top question mark comes from the running game and who, if anyone, can challenge the production Seth Borondy provided. He set the school single season rushing yardage record and also lead the entire state in that category. Three of the next five also helped contribute to the team rushing record and need new bodies to step in as well.
The key to getting there comes from committing to creating the same culture as Jenkins wants to instill in his players each year, he said.
“We really got an answer to who will step up,” Jenkins said after the scrimmages.
The story on the other side of the ball is a similar one, but it’s what Jenkins said he hopes will be backbone of this year’s team. He said the preseason scrimmages were good for getting mental mistakes on record for his defense and trusts his strong collection of coaches to promote what his players will need to correct.
It all sounds a bit of a professional style, and that suites Jenkins just fine. After all, his mantra for preparing each week for the opposition begins with a few simple words: “Be a pro.”
Should that be followed, it could mean a fourth playoff appearance in five seasons for Bellbrook.
Bellbrook Golden Eagles
Coach: Jeff Jenkins (7th year, 51-13)
2021 Record: 11-3; Points Per Game: 35.7 (Off.) 16.9 (Def.)
What to expect: Lots of question marks on offense for who will become the primary running back after its top three rushers all graduated, including the state’s leader. The defense was also senior heavy, but will be the starting point to keeping up success.
Key Players: Carson Labensky, Sr., WR (7 rec., 122 yds, 3 TD; 19 car., 58 yds, 4 TD); Luke Kosins, Sr., S (85 tackles, 51 solo, 3 INT); Sam Barhorst, Sr., LB (80 tkls, 50 solo, 2 sacks, 2 INT, 2FF); Sam Vine, Sr., OL/DL (19 tkls, 11 solo); Luke Benetis, Jr., QB (2021 stats: 32-65 passing, 563 yards, 11 TD, INT); Elijah Brooks, Jr., RB (25 carries, 276 yds, 2 TD; 2 receptions, 39 yds);
Aug. 19 — at Tippecanoe (at Butler HS) — 7 p.m.
Aug, 26 — at Miamisburg — 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 — TECUMSEH — 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — EATON — 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — at Franklin — 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — WAYNESVILLE — 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — at Madison — 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — at Oakwood — 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — MONROE — 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — at Valley View — 7 p.m.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.