Anthony Baum has been the starting center since the middle of last season for the Ready High School football team, but his role goes beyond snapping the ball to the quarterback.
His intelligence and an ability to remember details have proven to be beneficial for an offense that has gradually improved since an opening 31-0 loss to Columbus Academy on Aug. 25.
Baum, a senior who recently was given an award for his work in the school’s STEM department, is one of the players whom other members of the offense are likely to talk to if they have a question about a play or assignment.
“Honestly, memory more than anything helps, and I think I have a pretty good memory,” Baum said. “I take pride in knowing what I do on every play and what the other players do. If we come up to the line, they’re not afraid to ask me what they do on a certain play if they don’t remember. Having someone on the line that knows what everyone is doing can really be beneficial.”
Baum is just 5-foot-9 but weighs 240 pounds and makes up for his lack of height with lower-body strength.
The offensive line was the team’s biggest strength entering the season with the return of Baum as well as seniors Lance Gallion and Ryan Spoon and junior Cade Canter, and it hasn’t disappointed thus far.
The Silver Knights had won five in a row before losing to Hartley 42-10 on Oct. 6 to fall to 5-2.
Despite losing a two-time Division VI district Offensive Player of the Year when running back Devin Dukes transferred to Grove City for his senior season, Ready averaged 29.6 points during the five-game winning streak.
In a game that will be held at DeSales, the Knights play host Friday, Oct. 13, to London, which improved to 7-0 by beating Grandview 50-8 on Oct. 6.
“(Baum’s) a leader on the field,” coach Brian Cross said. “He’s very smart and he puts a lot of work in in the weight room. He’s very intelligent and he knows how to use angles and leverage to be a good, solid offensive lineman.”
Baum also is a starter at nose guard. He first became a starter on the offensive line as a sophomore when his older brother, 2016 graduate Zach Baum, suffered an injury while playing guard.
Anthony started at guard the rest of his sophomore year and for part of his junior season before moving to center.
A Grove City resident, Anthony also has two younger brothers who play for the Knights in Josh, a sophomore, and Jake, a freshman. Like their older brothers, Josh and Jake are two-way linemen.
Anthony, who isn’t planning to play football in college, is considering attending Ohio State or Miami University to study data analytics. His older brother is studying a similar field at Ohio State.
Their father, Phil, is an actuary and their mother, Teri, is a teacher’s aide at Our Lady of Perpetual Health, where Anthony attended before coming to Ready.
Anthony likes the way his team’s offense, which features junior quarterback Austin Aiello and sophomore running back Jack Foley, has come together.
“This year we’re a lot tighter of a unit than in the past and a lot more balanced offensively,” he said. “(There’s been) a lot more passing involved than the attack of the past few years because we’re more diverse. Our turnover margin has been really good.”