Woodrum believes hard work will pay off for Redskins

| August 20, 2013
Coshocton High School 2013 Varsity Football

Coshocton High School 2013 Varsity Football

COSHOCTON – If the observations that Coshocton High School football coach Jim Woodrum has made so far translates into success on Friday nights, his Redskins team should be in for a fun and exciting 2013 season.

“The enthusiasm of this team excites me,” said Woodrum, who is embarking on his fourth season as head coach for the Red and Black. “These kids are high energy all the time and they get along very well.”

The Redskins are coming off a disappointing 2-8 record in 2012, a campaign that saw the program’s five year stretch of making the postseason playoffs come to an end but Woodrum believes this team is ready to make amends.

The Redskins’ lone two wins a year ago came over Tuscarawas Valley (46-17) and Meadowbrook (49- 21).

They also had a pair of back-to-back losses against Zanesville Rosecrans (21-14) and Claymont (17-14) in September which had they won, could have given the season an entirely different outcome. Rosecrans ultimately reached the playoffs and Claymont won the East Central Oho League Grey Division title.

Coshocton had made the playoffs 13 times since 1987 and nine times since the year 2000.

“Things are going well,” Woodrum said. “Our seniors are providing great leadership and this is one of the hardest working groups I’ve had. Our attendance in summer conditioning and two-a-days was outstanding.

“The kids have just about grown as much as they can to this point because they’ve been at about just about every opportunity we’ve presented to them.”

Coshocton’s roster includes nine seniors and 15 overall returning lettermen.

Leading the office will be junior quarterback Dom Johns with senior Isaiah Jackson at one halfback and junior Gavin Gray at the other. Senior Chase Ashcraft will start at fullback. The backfield’s biggest asset is its speed.

“This team is relatively young in terms of experience,” Woodrum said. “(Dom) has never taken a snap and our two halfbacks have never carried the football in a varsity game so we’ve put a couple series’ into our offensive scheme to eliminate defenses from keying. We have to try to get those out on the perimeter a little bit.”

Senior Cody Williams will be the starting split end while sophomore Tanner Shaw is at tight end.

“Cody is a very gifted athlete,” Woodrum said. “He has great hands so we are trying to find ways of getting him the ball and Tanner is very talented as well.”

Shaw is a younger brother of current Indiana University defensive end Zack Shaw and former Urbana University linebacker Nick Shaw.

On the offensive line, Harley Powers will be on one side while Nathan Leopard is on the other. Cody Tarman will man one guard position while the other is a battle between at least four players. J.T. Rodgers will start at center. All of the starting linemen are juniors.

Those vying for playing time in the trenches include seniors Jordan Saylor, Russell Roof and Andrew MacKenzie; juniors Devan Cutshall and Joe Batchelor and sophomores Blake Erman, Ethan Woodie, Tanner Howell, Ray Durham and Camron Redman.

“We’re a lot bigger and stronger up front,” Woodrum said. “We started weightlifting in the winter and haven’t slowed down. Our smallest kid on the offensive line is 215 pounds and we have a couple at 240 or better. Our coaching staff believes this might be one of the most athletic offensive lines we’ve had in a long time.

“We just have to build some depth. Our goal is that by midseason we will be playing more kids up there and our sophomores are going to be the key.”

Defensively, Powers and Roof will start at the tackles and Rodgers and Saylor at the ends.

The outside linebackers will be Jackson and Williams. Johns and Tarman will see action at middle linebacker, making a move from defensive end while the halfbacks are junior Donald Stiteler and Gray. Sophomore Spencer McCrea is the safety.

Also seeking time at linebacker are seniors Micah DeMoss and Ashcraft, sophomores Jeremy Bresciani, Brennan Alverson and Redmon.

Hoping for PT in the secondary are seniors Raiden Albert and Tyler Gentile as well as sophomores Austin Spitzer, Miles Hardesty, Tanner Ward and Trystyn Vanatta.

On special teams, Johns will punt and Jackson will kick.

“One of the big concerns I have is the kicking game,” Woodrum said. “I coached special teams for 15 years and we’re still trying to develop consistency. We’re trying to get some of the kids off the field a little bit but don’t want to jeopardize the importance of having solid kicking and punting teams.”

Woodrum believes that with a well-rounded team, the Redskins could challenge for the Grey Division title but says the consensus is that arch-rival River View may be the favorite.

“From what I hear, the league championship is going through Warsaw but our focus is to play every game.”

Coshocton opens the season on Friday, Aug. 30, at Cambridge while hosting Tuscarawas Valley in the home opener at Stewart Field on Friday, Sept. 6.

Other non-league games include being at West Holmes in week three and at Danville week five and home against New Lexington in week six.

“We’d better be ready to play week one because it’s really going to be a challenge,” Woodrum added. “We’re going to find out where we need to be real quick. The kids know they’ll have to buckle it up every single game.”

This story was contributed to The Beacon by Jim Barstow.

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