By ryan buck
First-year Wellsville coach Rich Wright likes many things about his new team.
Wright, who spent 14 years at Beaver Local, was in awe of the Tigers’ team speed when he arrived. He was quick to point out their size on the offensive and defensive lines. Foremost, he has built a mutual trust with his 14 seniors.
The talent he will see every day on the practice field and on Friday evenings at Nicholson Stadium doesn’t concern him much. It is the white board in the team meeting room that leaves the veteran coach a little anxious.
“The hard part is having that many seniors, but not being able to take advantage of their experience because we changed the system and changed all the terminology,” said Wright.
Many of the Tigers’ starters will play both ways.
“We’ve got a lot of skill,” Wright said. “We’ve got a lot of three-year lettermen.”
Wright has spent his career devoted to the Wing-T offense, but will adapt his scheme to his offensive strengths this year.
Jordan Sloan returns at quarterback after starting every game in 2012. Leading rusher Marcus Moxley (923 yards) also returns, along with backs Brendon Carr and Zach Mellott.
“We’re really a four-back offense,” he said. “Our quarterback can run the ball. We’ve got plays designed for him, the wingback, the tailback and the fullback.”
Camden Douglas, a standout on the Tigers’ basketball team, and Jordan Allen give them size and speed at receiver.
Wright is especially confident in tight end Seth Bradford, who will be a reliable target for Sloan over the middle.
The offensive line is experienced. Joe Abdalla is a three-year letterman. Greg Beatty, Seth Bloor and Marvin Brinkley are all returning starters.
“I think we’ve got an offense that can go the distance every time we touch the ball,” Wright said. “We’ve got five or six guys that can do that.”
Vinnie Giordano returns at linebacker, where he led the team in tackles a year ago. Many of Wellsville’s starters on offense will play both ways.
The Tigers have the luxury of returning kicker Cavan LeMasters, who will be a four-year starter.
Even as he has adjusted to a new school and a new group of players, Wright is adamant his team is chasing a conference title and perhaps more. Will his veteran group master his philosophy in time to make a run through the ITCL Tier Two?
“We have no excuses,” Wright said. “How fast can we get it all in and be ready? We haven’t taken baby steps. I’ve been throwing it all at them.”