Ansonia football team returns with a veteran roster


ANSONIA – Having lost just one senior to graduation, Ansonia enters the 2017 football season with a lot of experience on its roster.

The Tigers have to replace Trevor Beam, whom they lost to graduation, but have the rest of their core back. They also have many newcomers as they’ve increased their roster to more than 40 players.

“That’s way more than we’ve had in the past,” Ansonia football coach Eugene Hoening said. “I think last year we finished with 26 or so.”

Having so much talent returning is valuable, Hoening said, as long as the players don’t get complacent.

“The good news is you have about the same players coming back. The bad news is you have about the same players coming back,” said Hoening, who is entering his 37th year leading the Ansonia football program. “If they’re complacent with what they’ve accomplished as underclassmen, they’re not going to get any better. You need guys who are still hungry to improve.”

While most of the faces are the same, Ansonia will employ a new offense this season. Coach Matt Macy is leading the implementation of a veer offense, which is a form of the option.

The Tigers will primarily run out of their new offense although they will have the ability to throw the ball, too.

“I like to run the ball,” Hoening said. “I think Coach Macy likes to throw more than I do, but we’ll find that happy medium, I suppose.”

Hunter Buckingham will lead the Ansonia offense as the Tigers’ quarterback.

Brock Shellhaas, Jarvis Thwaits, Max Wardrip and Reece Stammen all will contend for time at running back.

Devyn Sink and Cody Sanders will play at flanker while Logan Warner, Payton Setser and Hunter Muir are competing for time at split end.

Rygh Fortkamp and Taylor Brewer are in contention for playing time at tight end.

Nathan Denniston and Ross Shook will start at offensive tackle for Ansonia. Austin Helmke and Andrew Rowland are slated to start at guard. Dylan Burnfield and Austin Ward are competing for the center spot, and either player could also contend for time at guard.

On defense Ansonia will continue to employ the 4-4 formation that it installed last year.

Brewer and Thwaits are slated to start at defensive end. Denniston, Shook, Cameron Prater, Ward, Helmke and Preston Prater all are vying for time at defensive tackle.

At linebacker Wardrip, Charles Murphy, Rowland, Fortkamp, Stammen, Setser and Aydan Sanders all are in contention for playing time.

Muir and Shellhaas are leading the race for time at safety while Buckingham, Warner and Ethan Fischer are battling for time at corner.

“None of this is written in stone,” Hoening said. “Some places only have one kid because other boys are being tried at a linebacker spot or they’re being tried at the safety spot. We’ve been (mixing them up) from one scrimmage to the next.”

Along with some experienced players, Hoening also is relying on a strong group of assistant coaches that includes Adam Hall, Stuart Beisner, TJ Phlipot and Macy.

“The coaching staff has worked really hard to prepare the boys,” Hoening said. “I have to commend the coaching staff for their dedication.”

Last year Ansonia went 2-8, but Hoening is hopeful that the Tigers will rebound this season and be in contention for a CCC championship.

“What other reason would you be playing?” he said.

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Ansonia’s roster size has significantly expanded this season as the Tigers have approximately 40 players.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/08/web1_Ansonia-WEB-1.jpgAnsonia’s roster size has significantly expanded this season as the Tigers have approximately 40 players. Kyle Shaner | The Daily Advocate

By Kyle Shaner

kshaner@dailyadvocate.com

Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.

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