EAST LIVERPOOL - After three years of watching Marky Thompkins under center, the East Liverpool faithful will be seeing a new face at the quarterback position. Thompkins, the school's career record holder in passing yards and total yards, will be attending Geneva College in the fall, leaving second-year coach Rick Prescott looking for a new man to run the offense.
"There's a two man battle to play quarterback between (senior) Payton Newlun and (sophomore) Kade Reynolds," Prescott said.
Prescott also said that quarterback isn't the only position he looks to fill as there were many position battles happening during preseason camp.
"Basically we're a young team. We were very senior oriented last year, so only a few kids that are coming back got to see playing time."
The Potters will only be returning a handful of players from a 2011 squad that went 1-9.
Leading the charge at running back will be senior Stefan Yoho (5-foot-8, 170 pounds) and juniors Devonta' Oates (5-11, 143), D.J. Austin (5-7, 142), Kaleb Tallent (5-10, 171), Jacob Allen (5-7, 142), John Rickerd (5-11, 225), Kris Bailey (5-8, 173), and John Miscuk (6-1, 221).
The lone sophomore back is Brent Waggle (5-9, 165), while freshman Jullian Cowart (5'8, 150), Raequan Eliam (5-6, 132), Austyn Dozier (6-0, 203), Dillan Reynolds (6-0, 170), Austin Vranesevich (5-11, 145), and Ryan Lilly (5-10, 209) will also be looking to see time in the backfield.
The Potters receiving corps will include senior Tevin Whitson (5-11, 149) along with juniors Marc Douglas (5'10, 142) and Zack English (5-11, 152). Freshman receivers are Kaulin Wells (5-11, 135), Canyon Colson (5-6, 133), Devin Streets (5-10, 141) and Tim Sarge (5-6, 115).
Lining up at tight end are seniors Tyler McComas (5-9, 172), Corey Monteiro (6-2, 246), and Devin Earich (6-0, 238) while sophomores Jason Kutzner (6-2, 181) and Nate Miller (5-11, 150) and freshmen Ben Adams (5-10, 142) and Bobby Hill (6-1, 155) will add depth to the position.
On the defensive side, senior Jimmy Beaver (5-9, 214) will bring the pressure up the middle while juniors Dalton Brewer (5-11, 242), Sam Persutti (5-8, 213), Cole Hamilton (5-11, 246), Nate Robinson (5-7, 213) and Chris Russell (5-11, 294) will also see time at defensive tackle. Sophomore Josh Woolley (6-2 225), Anthony Ice (5-10, 233), Brandyn Emler (5-11, 291) and freshman Austin Morris (5-8, 205), Ryan McHenry (6-2, 285), Devon Zubay (6-3, 251), and Roger Lawson (6-0, 250) will also provide depth on the offensive and defensive lines.
Juniors Jimmy Lisk (6-2, 217), Chad Reed (5-10, 194), Queyshawn Sallis (6-0, 196), Jacob Michael (6-0, 242), and sophomores Eddie Roberts (5-7, 155), and Jared Yanik (5-10, 192) will line up on the end.
Waggle, Dozier, Allen, Reynolds, Lilly, McComas, Rickerd, Bailey, Miscuk, Cornman, Earich, and Miller will serve as the team's linebackers.
Cowart, Oates, Eliam, Austin, Yoho, Reynolds, Douglas, Tallent, Oates, Bombich, Wells, Colson, Brewer, English, Vranesevich, Sarge, Buckel, Kutzner, and Whitson will fill out the secondary.
"We've had a pretty good offseason," Prescott continued. "The kids came in excited this year."
Last season's lone victory came in week 10 at Weir, where the Potters held the Red Riders to 7 total yards of offense in a 40-0 rout. Prescott thinks that victory gave some of the kids a reason to hold their heads up heading into the offseason.
"That's one thing that really helped us," Prescott said. "It put a twist on the offseason and it gave us something to build on. It helped make guys excited for this year."
The Potters will begin the season Friday night against rival Beaver Local at Patterson Stadium at 7:30. East Liverpool will then hit the road for five straight games starting with Indian Creek before finishing the year at home against Oak Glen, East Tech and Weir.