Western Reserve will use younger skill players, linemen
By Brian Dzenis
There are some questions marks with Western Reserve, but Andy Hake is more than equipped to provide the answers.
Hake is in his ninth season in charge of the Blue Devils, compiling an overall mark of 87-20. He has to replace every skill position from last year’s 8-3 campaign.
He can name every senior on his team from memory: Adam Gatrell, Ryan Slaven, Brandon Jarvis, Caleb Quinn, Cody Wise and Brycen Jackson.
As long as he has the players and community buying in, Hake and the Blue Devils can keep stringing together winning seasons.
“I don’t know about the season. We’re going to play really hard. We have about 58 guys on the team out of 110 boys in the school,” Hake said. “Our kids play high school football for a cause and the whole community is behind them and I’m just proud to be the coach for the last decade.”
Western Reserve has been steady at quarterback in recent years with the graduated Wyatt Larimer and Dom Velasquez, but now there’s a three-way competition for the job. Sophomore Nick Cavoulas, junior Preston Reed and Slaven are in the mix. Larimer and Velasquez used to be a platoon and that may be the case with the current trio.
“I feel like I have guys capable of doing different things,” Hake said. “I don’t know if I’ll be doing that at just the quarterback position. I’ll be moving guys around.”
With Jack Cappabianca walking on to Ohio State’s football team this fall, the Blue Devils have a need for a power running back. Gatrell and Jarvis are filling that void.
“They’ll be the toughest guys on any team in the area,” Hake said.
Juniors Lucky Kiesewetter, Cameron Durig and Jimmy Mayberry figure into the mix.
At wideout, last year’s leading receivers Kade Hilles and Ryan Demsky graduated. Juniors Todd Henning, Mayberry, Luke Kilbert, Wise, Josh Miller and Jacob Moore all vie for catches.
On the offensive line, Brycen Jackson is the lone senior lineman on either side of the ball surrounded by youth. Junior Gavin Jackson is a returning starter. Sophomores Seth Phillips and C.J. Berlin-Bates as well as juniors Christian Rowley, Aaron Jackson and Hunter Kiesewetter may see playing time.
Slaven is a three-time starter at linebacker and Gattrell and Jarvis return as starters. Durig and Brandon Pierce also can contribute at linebacker.
Quinn, standing 6 foot 5, 210 pounds, is expected to headline the defensive line at end.
Across from him is sophomore Austin Nabb, who Hake calls “a war daddy with a great engine,” who won a starting role in a scrimmage when he tackled Hubbard running back Rafael Morales by himself.
On the outside, Miller, Henning, Mayberry, Reed and Kilbert form the secondary.
Wise returns as the team’s kicker and punter.