LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Beaver Local began the 2020 season with a 6-1 mark before dropping each of its final three contests to teams that had a combined 22-6 record.
Under Coach Mike McKenzie, the Beavers have finished with three non-losing seasons in four years. McKenzie has won 22 games during that stretch. Previously, it took the Beavers eight years to come away with 22 victories (2009-2016).
Beaver Local is seeking its first back-to-back winning seasons since Rich Wright’s teams did it in eight consecutive campaigns from 1999 to 2006.
The Beavers will welcome Indian Valley in week one on Friday, August 20.
2020 Record: 6-4
Coach: Mike McKenzie, 5th season (22-18)
Previewing Beaver Local’s Offense
Scoring Offense: 36.4 (6th in Area)
Returning Starters: 8
Key Returnees: Dorian Jackson, SR/WR; Zane Kinsey, JR/WR; Wyatt Loy, SR/OL; Zane McCoy, JR/OL; Joe Monte, SR/RB; Nate Sprouse, SR/WR; Micah Sturm, SR/OL; Caleb White, JR/ATH
Key Losses: Tanner Johnston, QB; Logan Krulik, WR; Dylan Moore, WR
Name to watch for: Caleb White, ATH
Beaver Local’s quarterback Tanner Johnston graduated after throwing for 1,553 yards and 18 touchdowns compared to just five interceptions. Johnston connected on 54.1% of his passes (80-148) and led the team in rushing (717 yards, 8 TDs).
“We’ll have Zane Kinsey, Logan Blissenbach (95 passing yards), Dorian Jackson (213 passing yards) and Austin Cline all competing for the quarterback position this summer. We feel very good that whoever wins the starting role will do well and the other three will start on offense, also,” said Coach McKenzie.
Junior Caleb White will be the focus of defenses entering the 2021 season after accumulating 333 rushing yards (8 TDs) and 368 receiving yards (7 TDs) a year ago.
“We have high expectations for Caleb. We’ll move him around like we did last year. He’ll need to take his game to the next level. Last year, teams were focused on Tanner (Johnston) and Dylan (Moore) and allowed Caleb more one-on-one,” McKenzie said.
Along the offensive line, Beaver Local returns its center Zane McCoy and two other starters (Wyatt Loy and Micah Sturm). Look for a battle between Connor LeRussi, Cameron Barber, Tristan Murphy, Anthony Serrano, Nick Rawson, Abrem Sturm and Patrick Exline for the final two spots upfront.
Previewing Beaver Local’s Defense
Scoring Defense: 21.5 (26th in Area)
Returning Starters: 5
Key Returnees: Noah Bowyer, JR/LB; Dorian Jackson, SR/DB; Wyatt Loy, SR/LB; Blake Lucas, SR/DL; Nate Sprouse, SR/LB
Key Losses: Payne Allen, DL; Dylan Moore, DB; Tommy Warrick, LB
Name to watch for: Wyatt Loy and Nate Sprouse, LB
The Beaver defense had allowed an average of 13.1 points per game through its first eight outings. That time period included a four-week span in which the defense allowed just a total of 14 points.
With three starters returning, the linebacker position should be the strength of the defensive unit. Wyatt Loy and Nate Sprouse will be three-year starters. Noah Bowyer, Dylan Ferguson and Micah Jones will play a key role while Logan Blissenbach and Gabe Morgan should also see plenty of time playing inside linebacker.
Blake Lucas is back along the defensive line.
“Blake is the only returning starter up front,” points out McKenzie. “He’ll need to lead the group. He has put in a good off-season of work. Zane McCoy and Micah Sturm will need to contribute more on defense this year. Anthony Serroa, Connor LeRussi, Cam Babe and Tristan Murphy are a couple of newcomers who will be looked at to fill some of those voids along the line.”
Dorian Jackson is back in the secondary. Look for Caleb White, Zane Kinsey, Joe Monte, Kaden Foster and Austin Cline to move into one of the defensive back positions.
Aug. 20 – Indian Valley
Aug. 27 – at Salem
Sept. 3 – at Minerva
Sept. 10 – East Liverpool
Sept. 17 – Edison
Sept. 24 – at Oak Glen (WV)
Oct. 1 – Harrison-Central
Oct. 8 – at Indian Creek
Oct. 15 – Martins Ferry
Oct. 22 – at Wheeling Central Catholic (WV)