Posted: Jul 16, 2014 10:02 AM
Updated: Sep 5, 2014 11:05 PM
|8 / 22||Knob Noster||Away||Win||26 - 0|
|8 / 29||Fulton||Away||Loss||6 - 43|
|9 / 6||California||Home||Loss||14 - 51|
|9 / 12||Warsaw||Home||Loss||6 - 13|
|9 / 19||Osage||Away|
|9 / 26||Eldon||Away|
|10 / 3||Hallsville||Home|
|10 / 10||Southern Boone||Home|
|10 / 17||Blair Oaks||Away|
|10 / 24||Districts|
For most coaches or programs an 0-10 season is not one to brag about, but for Broc Silvers and his staff of Jake Evans, Darren Koelling, and Daniel Eidson, last season was their first step in the process of bringing back Versailles Tiger football. Coach Silvers summated the season succinctly, "We had a brand new staff, offense and defense. We played well at times, but not well enough to win a game." That did not dampen theirs nor their players' excitement about the team or the future. "We had a lot of young players get experience," said Coach Silvers, but that experience will hopefully be rewarded with better chances to win this season.
Coach Silvers knew that '13 might be a bumpy road, but the hope that he and his staff have is that with the experience that his younger players gained last year, coupled with a full year of training in Silvers' system, the team will be that much farther ahead in preparations for 2014. According to the coach the team has had a great off-season of training and weight training. The boys are all ready for another chance to prove themselves on the field. Although the goals for the year may not be so lofty as to believe they can make a playoff run yet, Tiger nation is ready to get back to at least playing winning football.
The Pistol offense is looking to keep lots of people involved. "With this being our second year in this style of offense, we are gaining knowledge of what is expected from each of our position groups," said Coach Silvers. The Tigers will be splitting time at quarterback between two players, at least at the beginning of the season. Senior Mike Allen (6-4, 240) has the size and the experience, but he is also a potent target at tight end. Sophomore Sean Varner (5-11, 160) will also have some experience under center. When not lined up at quarterback, he will play wide receiver. Johnathan Cunningham (5-11, 180) was 1st Team All-District at tailback his junior year and will be the feature back again for his senior season. Junior Dalton Schmidt (5-9, 150) lines up at fullback. Raine Ryerson (6-0, 160) should be a reliable target on the outside his senior year. Once again the coaches hope to have many players get their hands on the ball. Those underclassmen who should see playing time are senior Ty Burkhart (5-8, 145), sophomore Blake Varner (5-11, 160), and freshman Kooper Wilson (5-8, 140) all at receiver. Out of the backfield look for sophomore Gage Smith (5-10, 170) and freshman Taylor Dobbins (5-9, 165).
"As a team we are getting stronger," stated Coach Silvers, and nowhere is that more important than on the offensive line. Coach Silvers added, "We are going to work to stay 60-40 run to pass ratio." The line will be expected to open the holes and hold off the defense long enough for this still-young offense to get going. Senior Rex Steeley (6-1, 220) is one of the best in the area, who earned 2nd Team All-District honors at left tackle. The left guard spot will be manned by junior Dylan Ballew (5-9, 200). At right tackle senior Zaven Shriver (5-11, 230) will be a force. Others looking to make an impact on the offensive line are junior Marcus Hammon (5-10, 175) and sophomores Ayden Easton (6-3, 245) and Willie Schulte (5-11, 180).
According to Coach Silvers, the defense already has "experienced safeties and linebackers, and a stronger and faster line. The goal is to do a much better job at stopping the run." Senior Keegen Rea (5-10, 180) leads a very talented backfield. He's an inside linebacker who earned 1st Team All-District honors. Fellow senior John Cunningham (5-11, 180) earned All-Conference Honorable Mention from his outside linebacker spot. Dalton Schmidt (5-9, 150), a junior, is also a potent linebacker. Raine Ryerson earned 2nd Team All-District and Honorable Mention All-Conference at defensive back. Senior Kaden Wilson (5-10, 145) is also very talented at DB. The three down linemen in the 3-4 scheme are senior Rex Sheely (6-1, 220) and junior Jordan Fields (6-1, 230) at the end positions and Zaven Shriver in the middle.
A long list of defensive newcomers especially at linebacker should see plenty of playing time. Taylor Dobbins, Gage Smith, Marcus Hammon, and Willie Schulte will platoon in at linebacker. Blake Varner, Ty Burkhart, and Kooper Wilson will offer valuable minutes at defensive back. Ayden Easton will take a line spot on occasion. The depth will also help "allow our kids to have fun with our blitz package," stated Coach Silvers, "which will hopefully lead to big plays and turnovers for our D."
Again the Tigers are taking a realistic look at team goals this season. Although they are certainly looking for wins each week, any win will help boost their confi- dence. A couple of early season W's will go a long way into doing just that, but they are also looking for progress from every player every week. "If we stay healthy, we will have a good shot to win a few ball games," concluded Coach Silvers. The Versailles Tigers are a team on the rise.
Pigskin's Pick: 3-7