Three-Point Stance: Wellston Has High Hopes

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Editor’s Note: Three-Point Stance is Gridiron Glory’s written preview series leading up to its 15th season on WOUB. Gridiron is visiting training camps for all 32 teams in the coverage area as they prepare for the 2013 football season. The series continues in the TVC-Ohio, where five teams look to knock Athens from the top of the standings.

It was an up-and-down season last year for Wellston in the TVC-Ohio. The offense was Jekyll and Hyde throughout 2012, blowing out teams with 60-plus points then coming back the next week and barely getting on the board.

The offense always gave the Golden Rockets a chance in the conference. With a defense that gave up 32 points per game, Wellston relied on its offense in its four wins last year – two coming in conference play – to finish third in the TVC-Ohio.

The 2013 season offers a new challenge for coach Chris Hutchinson and the Golden Rockets, as 11 seniors graduated from last year’s roster including two of Wellston’s top rushers, Noah Massie and Cain Wolford.

After relying on those two to carry the load for most of the season, a lot of weight will be put on the shoulders of quarterback Jake Waldron. The senior will have to carry the offense, as it tries to build an identity and as the defense tries to improve on last year’s results.

Here are three things to know about the 2013 Wellston Rockets:

1. Offensive Identity

With Massie and Wolford gone, Hutchinson understands that the Golden Rockets will have to rely on underclassmen to step up and fill the voids.

“We’re looking decent offensively,” Hutchinson said. “We’re a very young team. We only have 15 upperclassmen, so most of our team are freshmen and sophomores, so you’ll see a lot of young guys on the field.”

Returning a senior quarterback helps make the transition easier for the younger offensive players, and Hutchinson likes the progress his team has made in the offseason.

“They’re working hard every day and we are getting better every day,” Hutchinson said. “We want to be very physical up front. We want to be able to run the ball at you and hit you with some play-action passes when we can.”

2. Defensive Struggles

The TVC-Ohio has a lot of high-powered offenses, making it difficult for teams to defend. Wellston allowed 36.8 points per game in the TVC-Ohio last season, including a combined 87 points against Athens and Nelsonville-York.

Hutchinson is trying to put more speed in the secondary to keep up with the quicker receivers in the conference.

“We’re physical defensively, too. Especially up front,” Hutchinson said. “We want to try to put as much speed on the field as possible at the linebacker and secondary positions. The players are fitting our scheme very well.”

3. Contending for the Title

The Golden Rockets are looking to improve on their 2-3 conference record and are trying to bounce to the top of the standings.

“We’ll also have to knock off Nelsonville and Athens if we want to get to the top,” Hutchinson said. “Those are the top two teams. We gotta beat them this year to win the title.”

Wellston lost to Athens and Nelsonville-York by a combined score of 87-17 last season. They play Athens at home on Oct. 4 and travel to Nelsonville-York on Oct. 11.

“We need to take care of what we need to take care of. I have high expectations for this group,” Hutchinson said. “We’re young, but I think we’re very talented. We just got to make sure we keep getting better every week.”

Hutchinson, who once played for Wellston, is hoping to bring the school a winner because he knows what it’d mean for the community and the high school.

“I want to turn this program into a winner,” he said. “The last time we won the league title was 2002, and it’d be huge for us to do it again.”

Wellston kicks off the 2013 season at Jackson on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Follow @gridironglory on Twitter and Instagram and Like the Gridiron Glory Facebook page for continued coverage throughout the preseason. Gridiron Glory returns Friday, Aug. 23 at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB.