BOONSBORO — Welcome to the world of Class 2A football.
When Boonsboro opens its season on Friday, the Warriors will face Walkersville, a team that finished 10-2 last season with both losses coming against 2A state champion Middletown.
Guess where Boonsboro goes on Sept. 20?
And, later in the year the Warriors get a dose of Poolesville.
“The schedule is typical of making a move up (to 2A), very challenging,” said Clayton Anders, who begins his 29th season as the Warriors’ head coach.
And as if it needed to be more difficult, many of the players that helped shape Boonsboro’s 8-3 playoff team last season have graduated, leaving the Warriors with only two returning starters on either side of the ball.
Names like Jardeleza, Poffenberger, Ruiz, etc. were commonly known for three years. Now, it’s a new batch of names. All told, 10 players received Herald-Mail postseason honors last season and only three return.
In the last two seasons Boonsboro has gone 8-3 and 10-2, both years reaching the playoffs.
“It’s a whole new cast, three-fourths of last year’s team is gone,” Anders said. “We’re pretty much a new-look team.”
Being a starter is never a sure thing. There’s been plenty of competition during the preseason.
Calling the signals will be junior Jeff Bennett (5-foot-10, 149 pounds), who knows the system and the plays simply by giving signals on the sideline as a backup last season.
“He has a grasp of the offense,” Anders said. “Last year he was fast-tracked to No. 2. In our system, he was going to get reps then like our No. 2s do.”
Bennett became the backup to Chad Cowden, but this year it’s his show.
The backfield will consist of seniors Trevor Walsh (5-10, 164), Ethan Foster (5-8, 155) and Tyler Hollis (5-11, 160).
Foster, an offensive second-team All-Washington County selection last year, has the speed to get outside and Hollis saw action last season behind the graduated seniors.
“(Walsh) is elusive and can be deceptive and (Foster) can get to the outside quickly,” said Anders.
Other potential starters on offense include Chance Thomas at fullback and any combination of Connor McClellan, Vincent Smith Di Leo, Mark Pedersen, Tony Digiuseppe, David Drawbaugh, Dakota Pfeiffer, Matthew Yates and Peter Gordon on the line.
The Warriors will also have the services of senior kicker Calleb Yurish, who is returning from an injury. When healthy, Yurish poses a threat for field goals.
With defensive coach Pete Yurish calling signals, the Warriors will most likely swing back and forth between a 4-4 and 4-3 set.
The Warriors have many candidates as Boonsboro looks to redevelop on defense, especially in a secondary depleted by graduation.
Christopher Jenkins and Nicholas Hubbard, along with Foster and Glass, were mentioned by Anders as potential starters in the secondary. Derocher, Walsh, Smith Di Leo and McClellan, all seniors, will look to be huge factors as linebackers. Sophomore Alex Wetzel is also in the mix.
Along the line, prospects include Matthew Crown and Hollis at ends and Mark Pedersen, Digiuseppe, Drawbaugh and Peter Gordon on the interior. Hollis was all-county second-team.
“We’re a little bigger defensively,” Anders said. “With (Coach Yurish), we’ll maximize personnel and try to create confusion.”
Anders indicated that several players are being trained to be a third guy at a position.
Friday’s game against Walkersville will mark the first time since 2002 the schools have met.
Anders has 170 career victories as a head coach.
“I like what I’ve seen with this team so far,” Anders said. “I just don’t know about the schedule.”
Welcome to 2A!
No. Name Class Pos. Ht. Wt.
3 Calleb Yurish Sr. K 5-11 167
4 Jeffrey Bennett Jr. QB-DB 5-10 149
5 Christopher Jenkins Jr. WR-DB 5-8 130
7 Vaughn Wallace Sr. WR-DB 5-10 140
8 Devin Griffith Soph. QB-DB 5-9 140
10 Jared Derocher Sr. TE-LB 5-9 160
11 Alex Wetzel Soph. WR-LB 6-0 155
12 Nicholas Hubbard Jr. WR-DB 5-10 145
16 Matt Crown Sr. TE-DE 6-0 172
19 Thomas Graziani Soph. RB-LB 5-10 175
20 Cory Debaugh Jr. RB-LB 5-8 125
21 Nicholas Rhodes Jr. RB-LB 5-6 128
22 Logan Roberts Jr. RB-LB 5-7 153
23 Tyler Hollis Sr. RB-DL 5-11 160
25 Trevor Walsh Sr. RB-LB 5-10 164
27 Owen Glass Soph. RB-DB 5-8 155
28 Ethan Foster Sr. RB-DB 5-8 155
40 Chance Thomas Soph. RB-DE 5-10 162
42 Austin Ray Jr. TE-DL 5-7 169
44 Bryce Dickens Sr. TE-DL 5-10 162
50 Connor McClellan Sr. OL-LB 5-11 177
52 Vincent Smith De Leo Sr. OL-LB 5-8 172
54 Mark Pedersen Sr. OL-DL 5-10 255
55 Donald Drawbaugh Jr. OL-DL 5-10 162
56 Logen Wilt Sr. OL-DL 5-10 175
58 Tony Digiuseppe Jr. OL-DL 5-10 217
59 David Drawbaugh Sr. OL-DL 5-8 160
63 Dakota Pfeiffer Jr. OL-DL 5-8 195
64 Matthew Yates Jr. OL-DL 5-10 165
66 Zayne Blickenstaff Jr. OL-DL 5-9 183
67 Scott Brandt Jr. OL-LB 5-9 141
68 Peter Gordon Sr. OL-DL 6-1 221