Cards, Titans hope 2A WSC can’t beat the spread

QUICKREAD

ASPEN

Head coach: Mike Sirko, 7th season

2012 record: 6-4, 4-3 WSC, lost 56-0 to Eaton in first round of playoffs

2012 JV record: 3-3

Assistant coaches: Nick Sirko, Ruben Burbach, Kirk Ufkus, Carter Sharaf, Ben Westfeldt, Chris Peschak

Returning starters: QB/DB Tyler Tick, 5-9, 165, jr.; RB/DB Ryan Fitzgerald, 5-9, 165, jr.; WR/DB/LB Harry Ferguson, 5-10, 170, jr.; OL/DL J.J. Ready, 5-10, 200, sr.; OL/DL Chris Ryerson, 5-10, 230, sr.; OL/DL Shae Strutz, 5-7, 250, jr.

Key newcomers: TE Matt Fitzgerald 6-1, 190, sr.; TE/DE Nick Cottrell, 6-1, 185, sr. 

Base offense: I-formation

Base defense: 4-4

BASALT

Head coach: Carl Frerichs, 5th season

2012 record: 6-4, 5-2 WSC, lost 38-7 to Florence in first round of playoffs

2012 JV record: 3-2

Assistant coaches: Rob Hurley, Jim Quentana, Ralph Smalley, Rob Mobilian, Ben Fentress, Kane Polite, Tom Banc

Returning starters: QB/LB Matt Williams, 5-11, 170, sr.; OL/DL Felipe Martinez, 6-0, 250; RB/LB Cody Banc, 5-9, 165, sr.; WR/DB Tucker Jenkins, 5-10, 160, sr.; OL/DL Jake Levy, 6-3, 235, jr.

Key newcomers: OL/DL Josh Ridgeway, 6-4, 250, sr.; RB/DL Oswaldo Olmedo, 5-9, 170, sr.; OL/RB/LB Alex Nakagawa, 5-7, 150, jr.; WR/DB Tim Johnson, 5-9, 155, sr.; WR/QB/DB Mark Barto, 5-9, 135; sr.

 

BAYFIELD

Head coach: Gary Heide, 2nd season

2012 record: 11-1, 7-0 WSC, lost 31-6 to Platte Valley in state semifinals

Assistant coaches: Todd McMenimen, Jimmy Cundiff, Chip Hodlmair, Mike Snooks, Mike Woods

Returning starters: WR Adam Ridens, 5-11, 155, sr.; QB/DB Matt Knickerbocker, 6-1, 170, jr; DB Clay Crawford, 5-9, 145, sr.; OL/LB Aubry Brown, 6-3, 225, jr.; RB/DB Trey Lange, 6-1, 175, sr.; DB TJ Taylor, 5-10, 160, jr.; OL/DL Wyatt Williams, 5-10, 205, sr.; RB/LB Zane Phelps, 6-0, 180, soph.; OL/DL Blane Barnes, 5-10, 200, jr.; OL/DL Zane Westbrook, 6-2, 295, jr.

Key newcomers: QB/LB Kelton McCoy, 6-0, 175, soph.; OL/DL Mike Goodman, 5-11, 190, sr.

Base offense: Wing-T

Base defense: 3-5

 

COAL RIDGE

Head coach: Kyle Sager, 2nd season

2012 record: 4-5, 3-4 WSC

2012 JV record: 6-2

Assistant coaches: Brandon Forster, offensive coordinator/QB; Jesse Burris, OL; Dan Larsen, WR/special teams; Jeff Gerber, DB; Ty Sfat, DL; Matt Drymon, OLB; Brent Smith, OL/DL; Matt Clayton, DB; Ray Mitchell, RB/kicking game

Returning starters: RB/DB Chris Contreras, 5-11, 200, sr.; QB/WR/DB Jerome Pizelli, 5-10, 185, sr.; OL/DL Nick Carbone, 5-9, 180, jr.

Key newcomers: OL/DL Brandon Grey, 6-3, 225, jr.; WR/DB Christian Keith, 6-1, 180, jr.

Base offense: Spread

Base defense: 3-4

 

GUNNISON

Head coach: Bob Howard, 17th season

2012 record: 0-9, 0-7 WSC

2012 JV record: 0-3

Assistant coaches: Lany Percival, defensive coordinator; Keith Wallin, head JV coach; Chuck Haus, JV defensive coordinator; Chris Wilson, WR/DB; Rob Harris, RB/LB

Returning starters: OL/DL Liam Mortell, 5-10, 240, sr.; WR/DB Chris O’Neill, 5-10, 165, sr.; QB/WR/OLB Taylor Miller 5-10, 165, sr.; WR/DB Nick Romano, 5-9, 160, sr.; QB/DB Jake Wallin, 6-3, 160, jr.; OL/DL David Baliczek, 6-1, 220, jr.; FB/OL/LB Michael Howard, 5-11, 170, jr.; RB/LB Quinn Travis, 6-1, 175, jr.; WR/RB/DB Ian O’Banion, 6-1, 165, jr.; WR/DB Dylan Miller, 5-9, 160, jr.; RB/LB Brady Wilson, 5-11, 155, soph.

Base offense: I-formation

Base defense: 4-4



This isn’t your father’s Class 2A Western Slope Conference. A league normally known for hard-hitting football, as well as I-formation and Wing-T sets, is seeing a shift in offensive game-planning.

Grand Valley and Coal Ridge, both playing to strengths, are moving to the spread offense this season.

Grand Valley has one of the best quarterbacks in the state in Tyler Scott, and moving to a spread formation allows for more packages featuring the Cardinals’ star.

“It just made sense,” Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said. “(Scott) has been doing this since he was a sophomore. He’s a leader out on the field, and I trust him to run the offense.”

For Coal Ridge, it’s about utilizing the same athletes that kept the Titans’ track team competitive.

“We just have a ton of athletes, and this puts them in a position to succeed,” Coal Ridge coach Kyle Sager said.

Olathe coach Ryan Corn said the shift to the spread offense will keep defensive coordinators busy.

“It’s not really my style, and I’m more of an old-school coach, but it can be dominant at this level,” Corn said.

The shift in offensive schemes has Grand Valley and Coal Ridge as outside favorites to knock off Bayfield in the 2A WSC.

“Speed. Speed. SPEED,” Gunnison coach Bob Howard wrote about Coal Ridge in an email to The Daily Sentinel. “They have some of the best athletes around, and their numbers are growing.”

There’s no doubt Grand Valley is one of the favorites because of Scott.

“I like what we have here,” Scott said, “and hopefully we can put it together and win a conference championship.”

But the Cardinals will have to contend with Bayfield quarterback Matt Knickerbocker, who returns for his junior year after leading a Bayfield team that ran undefeated through the conference.

Bayfield has a rich tradition, as does Aspen, another pick to compete for the conference title.

“(Mike) Sirko has his ways of getting athletes to come out for football,” Johnson said of the Skiers’ head coach. “Their scheme is good, too.”

Howard picked Aspen to finish atop the conference.

“They have an excellent coaching staff with a lot of tradition and a great scheme,” he said.

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