Rebuilding will be the operative term for the Bucyrus football program in 2015 after the Redmen lost 16 players to graduation in May. Only two starters return from a team that finished 7-3 in 2014 and head coach Aaron Eckert knows the task for his staff is to keep the Redmen focused each week.
“Our team goal is very simple, it’s to compete week in and week out,” he said. “We have a bunch of hungry guys who want to leave their mark on this program.”
Two-way lineman Nick Kohler (5-10, 225, Sr.) and running back/defensive end Zane Richardson (5-9, 200, Sr.) are the only starters back for Bucyrus. Kohler was second-team All-Northern 10 Athletic Conference on offense and Richardson earned honorable mention on defense.
The biggest shoes to fill on offense might be those of dual-threat quarterback Cole Murtiff, who passed for 2,269 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 796 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014. Gavin Lewis (6-2, 200, Jr.) gets the nod as the starting signal-caller for the Redmen’s spread offense in 2015.
Also gone are wide receivers Austin Williams (760 yards, 6 TD), Dalon King (521, 6 TD) and Cole Hollis (386, 3 TD). Trenton Dunford (5-10, 160, Jr.), Gram Dick (5-9, 155, So.), Clinton Carr (6-1, 170, So.) and Haden Johnston (5-9, 145, Jr.) will be asked to carry the load.
“I feel we have a lot of team speed from our offense, but we are very inexperienced,” said Eckert, now in his fourth season at Bucyrus.
Led by Richardson and Kohler, the Redmen’s defensive line is expected to be solid, Eckert said. Dillon Emahiser (6-0, 230, Sr.) and Jaret Pollock (6-1, 200, Sr.) will be the other two starters up front in the 4-3 set.
“Our size is not overpowering, so we need to be able to run,” Eckert said. “Like our offense, we have good speed on defense.”
Bucyrus plays host to longtime rival Galion in the season opener on Aug. 28. After a non-league game on Sept. 4 at Crestline, the Redmen open N10 play on Sept. 11 at home against Seneca East.
Reach Carter at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048, or on Twitter @ACGalionSports.