By Greg Gulas
Campbell Memorial has missed the playoffs the last two seasons after enjoying a two-year postseason run, first under former coach Jeff Bayuk (2009) and when current coach Mickey Sikora (2010) was in his initial season as coach.
Sikora isn’t shy when it comes to letting his current Red Devils squad know just how much fun it is to play in the 11th week and possibly beyond.
“This year as a team, we have three very simple goals that we feel are quite attainable,” he said. “First, we must play one day at a time and get better each day; secondly, our goal is to win the All-American Conference championship while last but not least, we want to make it to the playoffs and then make a run once there.
“Those three goals we can achieve if just we pay attention to detail each and every play.”
Stephan Elash will start at quarterback after leading the Red Devils’ junior varsity to a 7-2 mark a season ago.
Their pro-spread offense likes to share the wealth with running back Adrien Brown, and receivers Corey Hamilton, Jayle’ll Shorter and D.J. Harrison prime targets for Elash.
The line lost two of its top players to graduation, but will replace them with a solid mix of junior and senior letterwinners.
The sophomore class, though thin with just six dotting their roster, could see extensive action,
Center Zach Rusnak, guard Keith Jenkins and tackle Ryan Kelly will be counted upon to provide much-needed protection.
Steven O’Dea and Keith Jenkins will anchor the line with Brown and Shorter the strength of the linebacking corps.
Sikora says the Red Devils have plenty of high-energy players that like to flock to the ball.
Hamilton and Harrison will be the key players in the secondary.
Shorter will handle the punting duties. Harrison, who will add kicking duties to his already swelling resume, will take on added duty as a punt returner.
With just 35 players, staying healthy and developing quality backups will be paramount.
The Red Devils will have to change their turnover margin numbers. They forced 25 turnovers a year ago, but turned it over themselves 26 times.
“With three new coaches, we’re also a staff in transition but players and coaches alike are ready for those challenges,” Sikora said. “You win today and the future takes care of itself.”