The Worthington Kilbourne High School football team has introduced some new looks to its triple-option offense as it begins play in a new league with a fresh outlook.
"We've added some new wrinkles with lots of shotgun and pistol formation," said seventh-year coach Vince Trombetti, whose team opens Friday, Aug. 30, at Dublin Scioto. "We want to get back to the Kilbourne ways, winning. In order to do that, we have to throw the ball more effectively and we need the players new to Friday nights to understand their role in becoming playmakers."
The Wolves finished 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the OCC-Cardinal Division a year ago, but will be competing in the OCC-Capital this season.
Kilbourne returns 23 letterwinners, including six starters on each side of the ball.
"We have six players who will be starting for the third year," Trombetti said. "We have a little more speed than what we've had in the past, but depth may still be an issue."
Senior Keaton Reinhart is one of the returnees, but he has been moved from quarterback to receiver, as junior Griffin Dahn will line up behind center.
Reinhart completed 42 of 103 pass attempts for 670 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions.
Senior Jayce Miller, junior Rafael Herrera and sophomore Isaiah Young also will see time at receiver. Senior slotbacks Seth Hill and Chandler Bridges and senior running back Justin Stoner are also targets, along with junior slotbacks Joe Davis and Dom Brown.
Stoner led the team in receptions (10) and yards (122) last season, followed by Bridges (seven receptions, 102 yards) and Hill (five catches, 135 yards).
"Seth Hill is energetic and he's our biggest weapon," Trombetti said. "He's a three-year starter and can affect the game on offense, defense and special teams."
"I'm just looking to make plays and that's the position the coaches are trying to put me into," Hill said. "We're coming off a rough season, so I need to stay healthy and help us in any way I can.
"We're looking forward to a new start, in a different league. We have 22 seniors and I think we're going to provide great leadership."
Stoner takes over at running back replacing graduate Isaac Lumpkin, who had 888 yards rushing on 173 carries.
He will be running behind an experienced offensive line that returns five starters in seniors Joe Schick (C, 6-foot-3, 265 pounds), Matt Lacey (G, 6-0, 215) and Alex Meehan (T, 6-1, 230) and juniors J.C. Bartok (T, 6-5, 235) and Ahjallah Williams (G, 5-8, 183).
"We typically try to two-platoon as much as possible, but it is apparent that we'll have to play some of these men on both sides of the ball quite a bit," Trombetti said.
Seniors Josh Happ and Taylor Wilson are expected to lead the Wolves' 4-3 defense at linebacker, with juniors Grayson Biglin and Luke Hackathorne also vying for a spot.
Seniors D.J. Freer (6-4, 210), Mason Rigio (6-4, 215), Meehan and Bartok will see time at end, with senior Gavin Elifritz (6-0, 235), Connor Silva (6-0, 240) and Danny Darby (5-10, 165) at tackle.
Expected to see action in the defensive backfield are Hill, Bridges, Brown, Davis, Miller, senior Daniel Stricker and junior Johnny Mack.
Elifritz (63 tackles, 7.5 sacks) was first-team all-district in Division II along with Wilson (87 tackles, 3 sacks). Wilson also averaged 39.3 yards on 29 punts and pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line eight times.
Joining Hill as third-year starters are Elifritz, Freer, Meehan, Schick and Silva.
"I think this is the group that helps turn us around and get us back to winning football," Trombetti said. "We're real excited about this season."