Physically, Granville High School senior quarterback David Hettler is more similar to 1999 graduate and former Ohio State University player Scott McMullen than he is Cory Becher, another record-setting three-year starter who departed after leading the team to a second consecutive Division III playoff berth a year ago.

Physically, Granville High School senior quarterback David Hettler is more similar to 1999 graduate and former Ohio State University player Scott McMullen than he is Cory Becher, another record-setting three-year starter who departed after leading the team to a second consecutive Division III playoff berth a year ago.

Hettler is hoping to enjoy plenty of Becher-like moments nonetheless this fall as he takes the controls of one of central Ohio's most dynamic offenses.

"We've still got the same playbook. Nothing's really changed," said Hettler, who is 6-foot-6, 220 pounds. "My size helps, of course. I want to take advantage of that, but I've learned a lot watching Cory the past few years and I'm hoping I can do some of the same things."

Becher, a first-team all-district and second-team all-state selection, led the Blue Aces to 19 victories as the starter, which included last year's 8-3 overall record and third-place finish (5-2) in the MSL-Ohio Division won by Licking Valley (7-0). The team went 7-4 in 2007 and qualified for the postseason for just the second time overall and first since a 2003 appearance in Division IV. Becher threw for 2,849 yards last year, averaging 259 yards per game while tossing 32 touchdowns with only eight interceptions.

Still, Hettler has the kind of supporting cast that eventually could place him on the school's lengthy list of quarterback standouts, who include 2004 graduate Kyle Decker and '02 graduate Tyler Collen. McMullen, whose school-record career passing yardage (7,027) still stands, led the Blue Aces to an undefeated season as a senior.

"When five school records walk out the door there's obviously a lot to do," first-year coach J.R. Wait said of Becher's departure. "But we're still going to be in the spread (offense) with no huddle and four- and five-receiver sets. We won't look exactly the same, especially to the people outside our program, but to our people we will look pretty close to it.

"David's our guy now and he's doing a great job. He's worked his way up and paid his dues, and now for the first time he's going to be the focal point football-wise. He's big and strong with an accurate arm, and he'll be able to run the ball like Cory did, too. He'll be more of a north-south runner, though, a tough kid who can keep a drive alive by getting those 4 or 5 yards between the tackles."

Senior Graham Rucker (5-8, 190) and junior Josh McKenzie (5-10, 150) return as wide receivers, and senior tailback Tyler Link (6-0, 190) also is back after rushing for 739 yards and 18 touchdowns with more than 1,200 all-purpose yards. Last year's top receiver was graduate Adam Alderman, who made first-team all-district and honorable mention all-state after pulling down 84 receptions for 1,230 yards.

Senior Ross Comisford (6-0, 160), a three-year starter and one of the team's most athletic players, returns but is recovering from a broken collar bone in baseball, the fifth major injury of his career. Also look for junior Andy Gress (6-0, 150), among others.

The offensive line returns starters in seniors Michael Hofer (6-4, 215) at left tackle and Tyler Sims (5-11, 210) at a guard spot and junior Kirk Willis (6-1, 195) at right tackle after he played center last year. Junior Cole Gordon (5-9, 210) will be a guard after starting on the defensive line a year ago, and sophomore Devyn Steffeny (5-9, 200) is the new center.

The defensive line will feature several of those players in addition to junior nose guard Ricky Palmer (5-11, 240), a three-year starter.

Wait, who is replacing Mike Hensley after Hensley compiled a 90-53 record in 14 seasons, called senior linebacker Austen Harrison (6-2, 220) the "best football player in the program." He's missed only one game despite starting for three seasons and made first-team all-district last year.

Harrison, a sprinter in track and field, will be joined in the middle of the defense by junior linebackers Adam Hartness (6-1, 175) and Chris Lanham (6-3, 195), among others.

Link will play free safety and anchors a secondary also featuring returning senior starter Clay Watkins (5-10, 160) at one of the cornerback spots.

Wait, who has been with the program for nine years, turned over the defensive coordinator position to Shane Huck and Tony Adams. Heath Mullenix remains the offensive coordinator, a position also once held by Wait. Hensley just recently took the coaching job at Fisher Catholic.

Granville averaged 37.8 points offensively a year ago and showed considerable improvement defensively with more aggressive, blitzing schemes. The gambling will continue, Wait said.

"We gave up (15.1 points) a game," said Wait, whose Blue Aces open Friday against Johnstown. "That was our best since 2001 and by far the best we've done in the MSL-Ohio (which was created in 2003)."

The Blue Aces -- who started 5-0 a year ago while outscoring their opponents 213-43 -- still are waiting for that first playoff victory, however. They fell 27-24 on a late field goal against Poland Seminary in a first-round game last season.

"We definitely think we can be the first Granville team to win in the playoffs," Hettler said. "That'd be a great way for us seniors to go out, but first things first. Johnstown's the key game for us right now and then we'll go from there."