The Teays Valley High School football team went through a significant transition last season under a new coach. Now, the changes will continue for the Vikings.

The Teays Valley High School football team went through a significant transition last season under a new coach. Now, the changes will continue for the Vikings.

Coach Gary Tipton is back for his second season, but this year he will introduce a different look by installing the spread offense.

"Like any new transition offensively, you're going to have to work the bugs out, and we're taking it step by step," said Tipton, whose team will open Friday at home against Westfall.

"But I made the commitment to go to it, and we're going to stick with it and keep working at it."

By switching the offense, Tipton hopes to bring more success to a team that went 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the MSL-Buckeye Division to finish fourth behind Logan Elm (7-0), Canal Winchester (6-1) and Teays Valley (5-2).

Teays Valley also will turn to unfamiliar faces to carry the team after losing 20 graduates and welcoming six transfers from South-Western City Schools after the failure of that district's Aug. 4 levy.

The transfers give the Vikings more depth, but it has also created a challenge for the newcomers to adapt to a new system and new teammates.

"The biggest thing we're working on right now is chemistry, just making sure that we can all work together," Tipton said.

One of the transfers is senior Trevor Cowles from Grove City. He had not played quarterback for the Dawgs, but he had the early edge over junior Cole Tupper to lead the spread offense.

"He didn't play quarterback the past couple of years, but he's an athlete," Tipton said. "He's the type of kid that we put in that position to be an athlete. Everything you know about this spread offense, you need to have a leader at quarterback. As of right now, I've been pleased with his leadership."

The Vikings will not rely exclusively on the pass, however, as Tipton plans to have an effective running game.

With a number of players who can line up in the backfield or on the wing, Teays Valley possesses several threats who can make plays in the open field.

Senior Jordan Sturgell, juniors Luke Pontius and Stanley Johnson and sophomore Derrick Taylor will see time at running back and wingback.

"The bottom line is, in a spread, you get people in space," Tipton said. "Those are the four that we need to find a way to fit them in there."

Sturgell, who also transferred from Grove City after the levy failure, played a prominent role for the Dawgs a year ago when they finished 6-5 and reached the Division I playoffs.

Both Sturgell and Cowles enter as captains of their new team, and Tipton welcomed the transfers to come and compete for a starting position.

"We had the mindset of, 'If we were in that situation, how would be want to be treated?'" Tipton said.

"(The failed levy) is a very unfortunate situation."

Defensively, the Vikings lost plenty of talent and will rely on Tupper at linebacker and Scott Stevens at end. Both saw extensive action on last year's senior-dominated team.

The rest of the lineup on defense is unclear, as the Vikings have no other returning starters at linebacker or in the secondary.

"With so many spots that we need filled, we're just going to take it step by step and day by day, and just see what happens," Tipton said.

"I think the whole league is going to be much, much better," Tipton said. "We're looking for leaders. We're looking for kids that will step up."

The Vikings also travel to first-year Hilliard Bradley (Sept. 4) and Licking Heights (Sept. 11) before opening MSL play at Fairfield Union (Sept. 18).