Know your foe: Warriors look to get back to .500 against Chiefs
The Watkins Memorial Warriors will host the Logan Chieftains for the second time ever and the first time in 25 years. In 1995 the two teams played a thriller, with the Warriors topping the Chieftains 30-28. It is the only game played between the two schools.
Watkins Memorial, of the Licking County League, is looking to even its record heading into next week’s playoff opener. The Warriors beat rival Licking Heights (40-13) in the second game of the season, and topped Utica (49-13) last week. They opened with a loss to Licking Valley (3-35) and also lost games to Zanesville (13-46) and Granville (9-28).
Warrior head coach Jake Kuhner is in his third season at WM after previously serving as head coach at Whitehall-Yearling where he won a Mid-State League title in his last season. A Pickerington High School grad, he was a sophomore when Logan topped the Tigers in a second-round playoff game in 2000.
Quarterback Liston Shroyer (6-0, 150, junior) is athletic and can be a dual threat. He manages the offense well.
Gage Lowery (5-8, 179, senior) is one of the few seniors on a junior oriented team and has good lateral burst and he is not afraid to lower his shoulder into defenders from his running back spot.
Jaleel Sales (5-8, 161, junior) is a versatile threat who has lined up as a wildcat quarterback, running back, and receiver.
Others in the receiving corps. include Caleb Wheeler (5-11, 156, junior), Brady Lee (5-9, 145, sophomore), Zach Christensen (6-0, 174, senior), Nate Younker (6-0, 163, junior), and Aiden Cleery (6-3, 160, junior).
The Warriors will also utilize tight ends in the offense. Josh McCort (5-7, 160, sophomore) plays as a split end and on the line. Luke Mumford (6-2, 198, sophomore) plays in shorter yardage and power situations while Brent Casterline (6-5, 205, junior) plays more of an H-back role on a wing.
Up front the Licking Countians might have the beefiest line the Chieftains have faced all season. Clive Stephens (6-1, 336, senior) and Frank Dunn (6-4, 273, senior) are the tackles, Anthony Knoblauch (6-4, 263, junior) and Elijah Doyle (6-3, 286, senior) are the guards, and Jacob Joyce (6-5, 274, junior) is the center. Wyatt Caldwell (5-8, 297) may also see time up front for the black and gold.
Defensively the Warriors have lined up in both odd and even fronts and emphasize quickness and speed over bulk and power. But don’t mistake that for a lack of physicality.
Up front, James Gauthier (5-10, 168, senior) and Mason Swearingen (5-10, 190, senior) are the ends with Zac McDermott (6-0, 163, sophomore) and Derek Koblauch (6-1, 170, freshman) on the inside. Alex Wallace (5-7, 245, junior) can add some size to the forward wall.
Mumford and Noah Bigham (5-10, 196, sophomore) are a pair of aggressive and physical linebackers and Lowery does double duty playing on at outside linebacker. Ethan Pollack (6-4, 162, sophomore) will see time at linebacker as well.
In the secondary, Younker and Sam Dunn (6-0, 175, junior) are the safeties while Wheeler, Chrstensen, and Sales will all play at cornerback. Joey Romshe (6-1, 182, junior) also will see time in the secondary.
Max Deckop (5-10, 140, junior) does the placekicking with freshman Patrick Carney (6-0, 159) does the punting. Sales and Wheeler are both dangerous return threats.