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Washington hopes to learn quick with Nick

September 05, 2008|By Chris Carter

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Other than the uniforms they wear, there's no comparing Dylan Nick to his Washington High School teammates.

That's no chop to the players who will grace the artificial turf at the first-year school. It's more of a praise to Nick, who will be the only player in the program with even the slightest bit of varsity football experience.

"He's just going to have to do it all," said Washington coach Mark Hash. "We'll try to spell him when we can, but he's our stud. And when you've got a good horse, you have to ride it."

As the starting running back, Nick will have to be a Clydesdale. He is among only 19 juniors and seniors on the team, but the only one who saw a varsity snap - that was last season playing predominantly defense for Hash when he was the defensive coordinator at Jefferson.

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That leaves Washington with 31 underclassmen, all with limited experience.

"It's cool to start out in a new school with a brand new team," said Nick, who is the reigning Class AAA 171-pound state wrestling champion, a feat achieved last year at Jefferson.

"We just have to mold what we have and wait for it to come together. We have to come out and work hard everyday and don't let up."

Nick seems fully prepared to deal with all the growing pains that will come with joining a new program.

But, Nick said, they don't have to play like a new program.

"We need to come out here as if we've been playing for a couple years," he said. "With the coaches we have, it really doesn't look like a first-year team."

The Patriots open with two road games before a bye week. The first home game in school history comes against Martinsburg on Sept. 19.

Nick is anxious to embrace the opportunity to be the first non-coach that Patriots players turn to.

"I'm a leader and I'll need to step up," Nick said. "Hopefully I can be a role model and help the freshmen and sophomores so they look up to me."

Nick is considerably inexperienced when it comes to the offensive side - he was buried on the depth chart at Jefferson - but he has a bit of an edge on defense after playing outside linebacker last season. He will start at both positions this year.

"I don't know what to expect but I really hope we have a winning season," Nick said. "I don't really think we're going to think about wins and losses yet, just that we came and played hard and left everything on the field."

X's and O's



Offense

Washington at least has the element of surprise as a first-year program - no one has seen what it has to offer in game situations.

The Patriots will run a Multiple-I offense, directed by sophomore Logan Johnson, the leading candidate to be the starting quarterback. He will be challenged by sophomore Cody Diehl and sophomore Malcom Newman.

Dylan Nick has the only varsity experience on the team and will be the feature back. Kevin Andrews and John Spofford are expected to share fullback duties in front of Nick.

Senior Adam Curry, junior Jordan Carter and sophomore Markee Smith will handle pass-catching duties.

Defense

It begins up front with Marcus McPherson and Casey Houghton - both 6-foot-4, 240 pounds - which is the same duo that will anchor the offensive line.

At the next level, Andrews and Spofford will key the linebacking corps. The Patriots will adjust between a 4-3 and a collection of eight-man fronts, including the bottom-heavy 6-2.

"It just depends on what the offense comes out and does," said Washington coach Mark Hash. "A lot of what we do will be adjustments after we see the offensive set."

Smith, Carter and Curry will be in charge of knocking down passes in the secondary, while Smith could float from linebacker to defensive back, depending on the defense.

Special teams

The same skill players will be relied on in the return game, while the kicking will be done by Brad Jackson and Logan Wilt.

Jackson has the leg to put the ball inside the 5-yard line on kickoffs and has range from inside the red zone.

Wilt hangs his punts high in the air, reaching distances up to 40 yards - something the Patriots will need to help with field position - that is, if they can't move the ball on offense, or stop it on defense.

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