Sheridan Generals Preview

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The 2011 football season will be all about change for the Sheridan Generals. As a signal of the changing times, an artificial field is currently being installed in Thornville to replace the natural grass field that the Generals have battled on for so many years. Coach Paul Culver will have an almost entirely new lineup on that field for Friday night home games. Entering his 31st season as head coach, Culver said the Generals are returning just two offensive starters and three defensive starters from last year’s dominating squad that finished 11-1 with its closest MVL victory being a 25-point blowout against Crooksville. Still, despite the changing of the starting lineup and the home playing surface, Culver’s goals remain the same. “We expect our program to compete for the league title,” said coach Culver. “We always look to our senior class (to lead the team to a title). They are the ones that can take us.”

Much like last year’s squad, the 2011 Generals are a team filled with veteran talent. Replacing star quarterback and Gridiron Glory Player of the Year finalist CJ Myers under center will be senior Drew Murray. “He’s got a strong arm and he’s a very, very good runner,” said Culver of his new quarterback. Still, Culver realized that Murray has been stuck in Myers’ shadow for the past three seasons, admitting that Murray “doesn’t have a lot of varsity experience at all.” Murray’s go-to man in the backfield will be fellow senior Mitchell Fouch, who will likely share carries with Drew Van Winkle.“Mitchell has the ability to take it to the house,” said Culver of Fouch, who spent last season backing up Troy Sweeney and JayTee Ellars. Most of Murray’s passes figure to head in the direction of Jacob Horsley, another player who Culver said was “kind of undershadowed” last season due to the performance of deep threat Anthony Crane. The weak spot on this team will clearly be the offensive line, which returns just one starter in Seth Helser. Although four spots need to be filled, Culver said he will work sophomore linemen into the rotation rather than transitioning his older players into the trenches.

Culver expects all of his players to play on both sides of the ball this season. Anchoring the Generals’ traditionally stout defense will be 235 lb. linebacker Nick Alspach. “We’re going to need our defense to carry us,” said Culver. There is no doubting the Generals lost more talent than any other MVL team due to graduation.  There is also no doubting that no coach is more experienced and more prepared to virtually start from scratch than coach Culver. Expect to find Sheridan atop the MVL standings yet again this season.

Key losses

CJ Myers (QB/DB), Tyler Snider (RB/DL), JayTee Ellars (RB/DB), Troy Sweeney (RB/DB), Josh Busby (OL/DL), Anthony Crane (WR/DB)

Key returnees

Drew Murray (QB/DB), Mitchell Fouch (RB/DB), Jacob Horsley (WR/DB), Nick Alspach (RB/LB), Drew Van Winkle (RB/LB)