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Football 2012: Tyler Consolidated Makes Move to Class A

August 22, 2012
By TRACY WATSON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

KIDWELL - If there are any words to describe the football situation at Tyler Consolidated heading into the 2012 campaign the biggest one might be ''interesting.''

With injuries, a schedule full of larger schools and a lot of inexperience, the past few seasons have not been kind to Coach Rob Caldwell and his Silver Knights.

However, the upcoming season is already assured of bringing change with a move from Class AA to A in West Virginia, and if Tyler Consolidated can avoid the injury bug, the good from last year's injury-filled campaign could shine brightly via plenty of experience.

''A lot of people believe that just because you move from AA to A you can control things, but that really doesn't mean that anything is going to get any easier,'' Caldwell said. ''But it is a numbers issue and we have to play the hand we are dealt.

''We have been playing for a while as one of the smallest Double-A schools, but we are trying to gradually adjust the schedule with some tough Class A schools and our main goal is to be competitive each and every time we go on the field.

''The biggest thing is still being in games in the fourth quarter and having a chance to win.''

If the offensive line can gel together quickly, the Knights have some skill position players who could put on a show in senior quarterback Hunter Lemasters (5-foot-11, 165), junior tailback Jacob Highly (5-11, 185) and senior receivers Koty Martin (6-0, 160) and Alex Doak (5-11, 170).

''Hunter is very athletic and keeping him on the field is a good place for us to start,'' Caldwell said. ''And I believe we are going to let him have the football and maybe run a little more this year.

''We have an experienced backfield and some quality receivers. Another key for us is getting the ball into Alex Doak's hands and letting him do his thing.''

Senior Levi Henderson (6-1, 180) returns at tight end and will share playing time with junior Swen Scheidemantel (5-10, 180) while senior John Kocher (5-9, 140) and junior Josh Ruble (5-9, 160) will both be used at fullback. Junior Skyler Leasure (5-8, 165) will also see his share of carries at tailback.

Senior Drew Casey (6-1, 235) returns on the offensive line, but will move from center to guard, joining junior Ryler Warner (5-10, 220) as the only two back. Sophomore Nick Anderson (6-1, 255), a transfer from Brooke, and senior Austin Dillon (5-9, 260) will be counted on heavily at the tackles. The new center will be senior Jay Earley (6-1, 195).

Lemasters' health is of the utmost importance with a pair of untried freshmen waiting in the wings at quarterback in Josh Peck (5-9, 145) and Colby Lash (5-5, 140). Freshman Hogan Wells (5-8, 160) will be groomed at fullback and classmate Jordan Baker (5-9, 150) at tailback.

Other weapons in the receiving game will be juniors Cole Kocher (5-10, 155) and Dakota Brenna man (5-9, 155), senior Christian Ice (5-9, 160) and freshmen Kyle Frum (6-1, 175), Chase Cooper (5-9, 140), Jeremy Lancaster (5-8, 160) and sophomore Andrew Kocher (5-9, 140).

Other players available on the offensive line include senior Christian Harris (6-1, 320), juniors Troy Watson (6-2, 215) and Cecil Spencer (5-8, 275), sophomore Kris Lash brook (6-1, 155) and freshmen Daron Weekley (5-11, 175), Scott Gorby (5-11, 165), Kole Starkey (5-11, 180), Devon Harris (6-0, 170), William Chapman (5-7, 145)and Austin Thompson (6-1, 180).

There is also experience on the defensive side with Martin and Scheidemantel retuning at the defensive end spots, Lemasters back at safety and Doak and Leasure still at the corners.

Linebackers Henderson, Highley and Brennaman all started last season and Ice could also be a big part of that mix while Earley is back at one of the tackle spots. The other tackle spot will be filled by either Anderson, Watson, Warner or Casey, each of which will see playing time.

Cole Kocher can play anywhere in the defensive backfield and will see plenty of time on the field while Peck, Cooper, Lash, Lancaster and Andrew Kocher are all options there also.

Frum can be used at defensive end, Wells, Baker, Ruble and Weekley are reserve linebackers and Starkey, Gorby, Harris, Spencer, Chapman, Lashbrook, Thompson, Harris and Dillon are available on the defensive line.

Gone from last year's squad are a pair of starters in Evan Cline and Slade Dillon, along with Dakota Allen.

''Other than some normal bumps and bruises, we are going into the season pretty healthy right now, which is a huge difference from last year,'' Caldwell added. ''We are still hitting every day in practice, but we are trying to keep a better eye on things also."

''But I believe we go into Class A as a more experienced team than we were in AA just because of all the kids we used last year that we didn't expect to put out there so soon. There is a lot of experience and we hope that pays off.

''We have taken our lumps, but game experience is different for us this year with all the depth.''

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