Despite the loss of key players on both sides of the football, Wynford head coach Gabe Helbert has once set the bar high for his ballclub.
“Our goals are to win the Northern 10 championship, make the playoffs and make a run in the playoffs,” he said. “We must be consistent in our effort and work to get better every day.”
The Royals were the Div. VI, Reg. 20 runner-up in 2014 after running the table in league play to win the inaugural Northern 10 Athletic Conference championship. Wynford finished 11-2 overall led by a veteran cast that featured 11 seniors.
Fast forward to the present and Helbert, now in his fourth season as Royals’ head coach, must fill six slots on offense and seven on defense. The good news is that 17 letter winners are back in the fold.
“We return quality skill, overall team speed, but must develop experience and depth on the offensive line with only returning starter,” Helbert said. “On defense, we return all three linebackers and have overall good team speed. But we lack experience in the secondary and defensive line, and don’t have a lot of depth and experience at defensive end.”
Replacing dual-threat quarterback Keaton Teynor (1,256 passing yards, 1,208 rushing yards, 32 total touchdowns) is Zach Hoffman (5-10, 165, Jr.), who had 238 rushing yards and two touchdowns last year. Running backs Cole Fortner (5-8, 160, Sr.) and Nick Looker (5-9, 170, Sr.) combined for over 1,200 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns in 2014.
Anchored by center Wes Perdue (6-1, 310, So.), the offensive line will also feature tackles Jeff Cramer (5-10, 240, Sr.) and Nate Sparks (6-7, 300, Sr.), and guards Eric Thomas (5-10, 225, Sr.) and Seth Hoffman (5-10, 240, Jr.).
The trio of returning linebackers, Looker, Tony Watson (6-1, 190, Sr.) and Josh Gregory (6-0, 180, Sr.), will be called upon to provide leadership for the largely inexperienced defense.
The Royals open 2015 on Aug. 28 with a tough road test at Liberty-Benton, the Div. V, Reg. 16 runner-up in 2014. Wynford begins defense of its N10 crown on Sept. 4 at Ridgedale.
Reach Carter at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048, or on Twitter @ACGalionSports.