West Genesee senior running back Naesean Howard (43) cuts back on a long touchdown run during last Wednesday night’s Blue-White scrimmage. The Wildcats open its 2013 season next Friday night against visiting Auburn.
continued Turner has only been a part of the team for a few months, but already saw a difference from his old school.
“It’s a whole new world out here,” he said. “We’re definitely going to surprise some teams. We really are.”
While WG will rely heavily on the running game, especially after a season where Howard ran for over 1,500 yards and scored 23 times, Corley said his team will remain as balanced as possible.
“Well, we have Naes, and there’s no question that he’s our playmaker and we’re going to lean on him this year,” he said. “We can’t just rely on the run. We've got to be able to balance things out.”
Senior wide receiver Mike Schmidt also recognizes the team’s reliance on Howard, but notes that when other teams try to stop the superstar running back, it inevitably open up the receiving game for him and junior tight end Will Northrop.
“The quarterbacks are not afraid to throw the ball,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of match-ups that favor us. I think we’re going to have a big year with passing the ball.”
The team also installed a few new plays and formations, according to Gauthier and Howard. These new plays, Gauthier said, “will really catch teams off guard and we know will really help.”
On defense, senior Brandon Bertelli returns at linebacker, moving from outside to inside linebacker after Garret Waldron graduated last year.
“He’s just a force,” Corley said. “He plays so aggressive, so physical, so fast. He’s going to have a big year for us.”
Senior Corey Dunlap returns at the safety position, where Corley said he both defends the pass well and also come up and play the run. Even Howard, who also starts at cornerback, said this year’s defense is one of the best he’s ever played on.