With most of his starters back on both sides of the ball, Wyoming East coach Donald Jewell is looking for improvement.
“They don’t want 3-7,” Jewell said, referring to his team’s 2015 record. “And they know I don’t want 3-7.”
East lost its first five games last season, won three straight and then fell in the last two.
Jewell likes the enthuasiasm this year’s team has shown.
“They have worked really, really hard in the weight room,” he said. “Joel Cannady (a senior lineman) has gone from (benching) 305 to 405. (Running back) Uriah Adkins worked on his quickness.”
“We have seen the strength and quickness come into play in practice,” Jewell said. “But we’ll see what happens in the scrimmages.”
While his team will stick with the double wing when it has the ball, “we will spread it out a lot more,” Jewell commented. “We’ll put them five or six more yards out.
“We’ll still run the same plays,” he added.
What he is looking for is better execution.
“Teams stuffed the box last year and it killed us,” the coach noted. “Sometimes they would put 10 in the box.”
A big, experienced offensive line includes center Adam Compton.
“He’s worked hard,” said Jewell. “He knows he’s got one job, and that’s get the ball to the quarterback.
Right guard Austin Tilley and left guard Cannady make the Warriors big up front at 280, 325 and 332.
The tackles are Matt Cook and Tyler Hagy.
“They’re about the same size and same type of player,” said Jewell. “We hope we’ll have a lot more aggressivness. We want to get off the ball quick and push blocks down field.”
Senior Hunter Hall is back at quarterback.
“He’s worked hard on his passing,” Jewell stated.
Uriah Adkins was the team’s top rusher last season. “Hopefully, if we can spread defenses out, he can get some good yardage,” the coach remarked.
Running backs Zack Raye and Jake Cannady will be on either side of Adkins.
“I like their work ethic,” the coach said.
Tanner Hall and Ethan Hatfield will play at wide receiver. Logan Davidson and Tyler Bradford will see time there as well.
Others likely to play at times on the offense are Kyle Clay and Ethan Francis.
Others who could play in the backfield are Michael Elkins, who will back up Adkins, and Evan Preece, who played wide receiver last year.
Jewell says he is looking for greater consistency from the offense.
“Last year we would move the ball on one series and then not do anything on the next three or four possessions,” he recalled.
The defense will operate from a 4-4 formation.
“We’re big in the middle and quick on the ends,” Jewell commented. “We’re trying to keep (the defense) simple.”
The defensive ends are Christian Weis, Matt Cook and Tyler Hagy.
Ethan Francis will be one tackle. The other will alternate between Tilley and Joel Cannady.
Junior Christian Ross may also get to play.
Inside linebackers are Brody Jenkins and Kyle Clay.
Michael Elkins and Josh Simmons are also in the mix.
Outside linebackers are Zack Raye and Jake Cannady. Adkins could be used there as well, although Jewell says he prefers to keep him on offense only.
Contending at the corner are Ethan Hatfield, Evan Preece and Hunter Hall.
“Hunter is quick and has good hands and wants to play,” the coach said.
Tanner Hall and Ethan Day will also get time at the corner.
Battling for a spot at safety are Logan Davidson, Tyler Bradford and Gage Bailey.
Jewell says his defense is a veteran crew. “They were all out there last year and they got a lot of playing time,” he observed.
The coach says the upper classmen should have thier eyes on the freshmen.
“I’ve got some good little freshmen and they want to play some ball,” he said.
James Snuffer, a sophomore, is the kicker and punter. He was 10-11 on extra pointss last year.
According to Jewell, Snuffer is a hard worker. “He’ll stay out here until I have to get out there and holler for him,” he said.
Micah Compton may be the long snapper.
The schedule is much the same as last year except Shady Spring has replaced Mount View. Shady dropped to AA after four years at AAA.
Staying injury-free will be key to how the season goes, Jewell noted.
“You can’t have injuries,” he said.
East opens the season at home against Mingo Central on aug. 26.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.