2017 Tiger Football Season Preview
The 2017 Tiger Football season is fast approaching, with the season kicking off against Cathedral on Friday, August 18th. Before St. X takes the field, let’s break down what you can expect from Coach Wolford and company this year.
2016 Season Recap
Last year’s Tigers enjoyed a strong year, posting a 7-3 regular season record and finishing 10-4 overall. The highlight of their regular season was a big win on the road against Male, the 2015 State Champions. The Tigers made a run in the playoffs but ultimately lost in the semifinals to the eventual State Champ Trinity. This year’s St. X football squad will look to build on last year’s momentum. Now let’s take a look at who will be leading the charge for the Tigers this fall.
Key Losses: QB Desmond Ridder, RB Sam Taylor, FB Mack Blincoe, WR/RB Blake Roshkowski, WR Addison Waddell, WR Brewer Cahalan, OL GJ Wellinghurst
Quarterback: Rising senior Jack Albers was Desmond Ridder’s understudy the past two years, but he will be given the keys to the offense this season as the starting QB. Albers played sparingly last year, but he logged two starts, including a 42-28 win on the road against Lexington Catholic in the season opener. He also had a big rushing touchdown against Trinity in the playoffs after Ridder left the game due to injury. Junior Keegan Sullivan will most likely be the backup, but look for Albers to take the majority of the snaps under center.
Running Back: With the departure of bruiser Sam Taylor, there are big shoes to be filled at the running back position. Rising Senior Brett Metzmeier will look to pick up where Taylor left off. Metzmeier was sidelined for the majority of last season with an ankle injury, but is now healed and has been pegged as the starting running back. Rising junior Anthony “Tones” Moretti will look to make an impact in the backfield as well. If the Tigers want to make a run this year, they will need production from the backfield down the stretch.
Wide Receiver: The Tigers’ lost four key wideouts from last season, but do not expect a drop-off from the current receiving corps. This year’s team boasts a lot of depth at the receiver position. Seniors Ben Seger, Will Crum, Ben Mueller, and Dominic Allgeier will be Albers’ main targets this season. Seger makes up for a lack of height with great hands and impeccable quickness, while the latter three are bigger possession receivers, all standing at 6’0″ or taller. Youngsters Brycen Harkins and Andre Coleman, both juniors, will also try to carve out roles as wideouts. Immense depth at receiver will play in the St. X’s favor as the season heats up.
Offensive Line: St. X brings back most of its offensive line from a year ago. Chase Farris, Clayton Six, and Wyatt Smock will build on a very impressive 2016 campaign. Six holds a D1 offer from Morehead State, while Farris is committed to UT-Martin and Smock is committed to Vanderbilt. With three of five offensive lineman holding D1 offers, look for Albers to have plenty of time in the pocket this fall. You will feel like you are sitting at IHOP with all the pancakes this group can throw down.
Key Losses: DL Kyle Robinson, DL Max Willinger, LB Braidon Washburn, LB Jack Kronk, DB Jacob Stofer, DB Jake Taylor
Defensive Line: The D-Line was a strong point for Coach Wolford’s squad last year, led by recent graduates Kyle Robinson and Max Willinger. Their departure hurts the Tigers, but several players are poised to fill the void. Rising senior and returning starter Andrew Uhls, a varsity player since sophomore year, will be the leader in the trenches this year. Ben Shugart, Nolan Bruner, and Connor Schaefer all played sparingly last year, but will look to capitalize on their increased roles this fall. Junior Richard Bascom will also be fighting for reps in his first year as a varsity player. Don’t be surprised if Uhls and company are living in opposing backfields all season.
Linebackers: Similar to the defensive line, the linebacker corps also lost two key players in Mason Moorman and Jack Kronk. That being said, several Tigers are eager to pounce on the available reps. Rising seniors Doug Shaffner and Conor O’Dea could potentially be impact players at the linebacker spot. Newcomers Patrick Owen and Evan Walker also hope to be difference-makers on defense. Owen had very few reps last year as a sophomore, but has the potential to be an explosive playmaker. For the past two years, Walker has started on the varsity basketball team, but decided to rejoin the football squad after two years off. St. X’s linebackers have a great chance to exceed expectations with the maturation of Shaffner and O’Dea and the arrival of Owen and Walker.
Secondary: Besides senior Jake Netherton, there will be all new names in the Tiger secondary. Netherton, a returning starter, will most likely be the leader of this group. Juniors Sam Boarman and Harrison Pate are looking to make names for themselves in their first year as full-time varsity players. Senior Cameron Garrett will also be a contributor on defense. Most Tiger fans are familiar with Garrett, but not as a defender. After a successful junior season at wide receiver, Cam made the switch to defense in the offseason. His height, hands, and ball skills could create big plays for the Tigers. There may be a learning curve due to lack of experience in the secondary, but this group will only improve as the season goes on and will wreak havoc on opposing passing attacks.
Key Losses: K Sam McDonogh, K Owen Johnson, P Zac Collins, KR/PR Austin Eisert, KR/PR Blake Roshkowski
Kicking/Punting: Alan Mateja and Kyle Nalley, both rising seniors, will most likely handle the entire kicking game for the Tigers this year. The two played sparingly behind seasoned veterans Owen Johnson and Sam McDonogh, but they will be given ample opportunity to show off their kicking prowess. St. X had a strong kicking game in 2016, and there is no reason to expect a large drop-off in 2017.
Kick/Punt Returning: Will Ginter and Ben Seger will be at the helm of the Tiger return game this year. Garrett is expected to field kickoffs, while Seger should be the main punt returner. Both are very athletic and explosive. They both also have immense experience at wide receiver, where they exhibit great hands and strong playmaking ability in the open field. These two guys are beyond capable of changing the game with a huge return at any time.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Tigers will take on Indianapolis’ Cathedral High School on Friday, August 18th at home. St. X has a tough schedule this year, but they are ranked #4 in Kentucky for a reason. With the enormous amount of talent on the roster and coaching ability of Will Wolford, Tiger football could certainly end up playing well into December.
To see St. X’s full football schedule for 2017, click here. Go Tigers!