Blue Aces expect air attack to remain potent
Isaac Maurer has just one season to leave his mark on the Granville High School football program.
The senior quarterback, who waited as graduate David Fraley guided the Blue Aces' explosive passing game the past three seasons, is prepared to launch from the multiple spread offense.
"It's a great feeling to finally get my turn to take the reins of the team," said Maurer, whose team opens Friday, Aug. 30, at Caledonia River Valley. "I've had three years to sit behind Fraley and I learned so much from him. I think I'm ready and prepared for the job."
Mauerer has a trio of talented senior receivers to throw to as Ajay Alderman (first team), Hunter Orth (second team) and Brock Hill (honorable mention) return after earning Division III all-district honors. Fraley was the district Offensive Player of the Year.
"I'm very blessed to be in this situation, having three great and experienced receivers," Maurer said. "I think we have a fourth receiver, (senior) Connor Koester who also will make plays. Plus our backs can catch it, too.
"It's difficult for defenses to stop that many threats. They can take one or two away, but it'll be tough to shut us down completely."
Despite a long list of record-setting Granville quarterbacks, Maurer hopes to be the first to guide his squad to a postseason victory. Granville finished 9-2 overall last season after losing to Dover 27-24 in overtime in the first round of the Region 11 playoffs. The Blue Aces are 0-5 in the postseason, with other appearances coming in 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The roster includes 20 letterwinners from last season's team, which also went 6-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division to share the title with Licking Valley and Newark Catholic. The Blue Aces will compete in the Licking County League this season.
"Our goals are to compete for a fourth league championship in the last five seasons and to compete in the playoffs for the fifth time in the last seven years," said coach J.R. Wait who enters his fifth season with a career 34-8 record.
Adding depth to the receiving corps are senior Blake Compton and juniors Ashton Plute and Adam Miller. The Blue Aces plan to rotate Compton and juniors Christian McDermott and Jett Nye at running back.
"Our skilled players offensively are experienced and talented and we have high expectations for them," said Wait, who was the district Coach of the Year. "We do lack depth on both our offensive and defensive lines, so we're still looking at a number of people at several positions and we're trying to iron out how we best move our linemen around to cover both sides of the ball."
Returning on the offensive line are seniors Ian Huprich and Andrew Cecil and junior Brandon Priest.
"Ian Huprich, like (senior) Remington Larsen on the defensive line, is a foundation player," Wait said. "You won't read their names very much during the season, but they will be the glue that holds us together. They're clearly ready to perform and lead."
Vying to start on the line with the three returnees are seniors Dane Hueghebart and Eland Leigh, and senior Chris Duncan and sophomores Caleb Browne and Braeden Leigh also should be in the mix up front.
Senior Bradley Burkholder will be the punter and the place-kicker. He was honorable mention all-district last season.
In the diamond-7 defensive scheme, Wait expects key players to include Nye, Larsen and sophomore Thomas McGrath along the line, senior Hayden Brown and juniors Kyle Bundy and Patrick Oehlman at linebacker and McDermott in the defensive backfield.
Also expected to contribute on the line are senior Austin Vega, junior Austin Finley and sophomore Zach Vanderink, as well as Cecil, Priest, Huprich and Eland Leigh.
Senior Caleb McVey will see action at linebacker.
Others in the secondary are senior Alec Acquino, Compton, Orth, Miller and Alderman, and Wait expects all of them to play.
"The keys for us will be building depth and staying healthy to be able to handle a very good schedule," he said.