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OFA opens grid season hosting Canton

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The OFA Football coaching staff is quick to credit its team for making consistent progress throughout preseason practices and a Saturday scrimmage against Malone, Indian River and Watertown IHC.

But the Blue Devil staff also wastes no time asserting that the squad is definitely a work in progress.

“There is an lot of opportunity for a lot of young players out there,” said OFA Defensive Coordinator Charlie McCormick when speaking about the intrasquad competition for primary spots in the player rotation.

The Devil coaches have been rotating players in all areas and those rotations will most likely continue in Friday night’s NAC opener and Class C matchup with Canton.

Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. after a 4:30 p.m. junior varsity contest. Following this weekend’s season openers all JV games will be played on Thursdays.

The many young players on the Devils’ squad will be looking to follow the lead of three team captains and a fourth weekly captain who earns the honor through outstanding efforts and wok ethic in practice and games.

Seniors in Kevin Goolden, a two-way lineman, wide-receiver-linebacker-defensive back Jon Tayler and quarterback-defensive back Josh Liebstein were elected as the team’s captains and senior slotback-defensive back Chandler Barney earned the right to serve as the first weekly captain.

Head Coach Matt Tessmer said the Devils will be looking to follow up a very positive showing in Saturday’s scrimmage.

“We played a lot of players and did a lot of good things in the scrimmage,” said Tessmer. “The guys learned a lot and we got a lot of film which will really help us. And we didn’t have any injuries.”

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK

One of the major developments of the preseason was emergence of Liebstein making the move from wide receiver to quarterback. He will be backed by freshman Joey Dalton.

“Josh Liebstein has played very well and we will be also be getting Joey Dalton in. He throws the ball well and has a great attitude about learning the position,” said Tessmer. Senior Jordan McCormick gives the Devils a powerful performer at running back backed by senior Ryan Denny and juniors Taylor Richardson and Jon Rogers who will also see a lot of action at slot back along with Chandler Barney and Denny.

Heading the wide receiving corps are Tayler, Taylor Bouchard (Sr) and Nick Sweeney (Jr). The offensive line will feature combinations of Zach Barr (Sr), Nolan Rufa (Jr) , Nate Rishe (So), Keegan Clark (Sr), Kevin Goolden, Jacob King (Sr), Devin Compo (Jr), Will Pearson (Jr) Zade Lesperance (So), Quinton Denner (Jr) and Joe Loffler (Jr).

DEFENSIVE OUTLOOK

Defensively Goolden, King, Rishe, Pearson, Denner, Lesperance, Brent Mills (Jr) and Clark will operate on the front line. Loffler, McCormick, Barber, Richardson, Rufa, Tayler, Barr and Ryan Denny will form the linebacking corps and Cody Rolfe (Jr), Bouchard, Liebstein, Tayler, Barney, Andrew Layng (So), Spencer Mayette (Jr), Dalton, Rogers and Drew Merria (Jr) will work in the defensive secondary.

Canton enters the contest with a very young squad but with an injection of enthusiasm in the Golden Bear program after the junior varsity team was restored through private funding. Key returning starters are: T.J. Lumbard (Sr FB, DL), junior quarterback Hunter Yerdon, junior workhorse running back Peyton VanBibber and tightend Cole Zeller

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