Cameron Has Mindset of Taking the Next Step
By SHAWN RINE
CAMERON — Cameron coach Scott Holt has looked backed on the past two seasons just briefly enough to realize it’s been a heckuva run. An undefeated regular season and the first two home playoff games in the history of Dragon Stadium.
The thing is, he contends, other than maybe in the area of pride and confidence, the past won’t have an effect on the present.
“The things that happened kind of revealed to us that we have been a pretty successful program,” Holt said. “Losing in the first round of the playoffs isn’t ideal, but when that team (Wheeling Central) goes onto win the state championship it says a lot about your program.
“We had three kids start in the OVAC All-Star Game last year, so that says a lot about our program.
“There are a lot of indicators to us that we’ve had good football teams and we’ve built something successful.
“We’re hoping it continues.”
It won’t be easy, given what the Dragons lost. The list starts with Colby Brown, who seemed to play at the school for 10 years. He was a multi-year West Virginia Class A all-stater and was responsible for most of his team’s offense in that all-star game and is enrolled at Marshall.
There are two people fighting to replace him. Jessop Broughton, a junior, and senior Aiden Lucey. Lucey came up through the middle school system as a QB but played center last season.
“Those are two kids that definitely have some athleticism,” Holt said. “Do they have 30 starts under their belts? No. But they’ve been around here and understand how we do things.
“Whichever one is under center that first week is going to be there because he earned it.”
Coaching at a small school can often times prove difficult, if for no other reason than the number of players available. At Cameron it’s no different.
“It’s basically put the best 11 kids out on the field and find out where exactly they help us the most,” Holt said. “We’ve got kids between line positions and skill positions and they will go where they best suit the team.
“We’ve got six offensive and six defensive starters returning. That number gets a lot less when you talk about the positions they are actually going to be playing.”
One area the Dragons don’t have to worry about is in the offensive backfield, where the Ritchea brothers return. Andrew is back after having run for better than 1,000 yards last season, while there’s no dropoff to Matthew.
“Both of those kids can also fill slot positions and wide receivers, too,” Holt said. “We’re definitely not hurting there.
“We just can’t afford to have either of them on the sideline at any given time.”
Up front, senior Hayden Hoge returns as a three-year starter at guard, while Jacob Rogers, another senior, will be his counterpart on the other side of the line. Sophomore Deacan Carmichael is in line for one tackle spot while the other was up for grabs. Senior Preston Yeater could be in line for his first starting assignment as the center.
“Colton Dobbs played tackle for us last year at about 170 pounds. He might be playing receiver,” Holt said with a chuckle.
Travis Mickey comes back at wideout and Trin Scott is another returning starter. Noah Neely has seen some reps there in the past and is also back. The other spot could go to Dobbs or one of the Ritcheas out of the backfield.
Lucey, Hoge and Dobbs return along the defensive line and some might end up at linebacker, according to Holt. Matt and Andrew Ritchea return at linebacker where a replacement will be needed for all-stater and All-Valley performer Wyatt Wingrove, who graduated. Broughton could fill that role, especially if he is not the quarterback.
Rogers and Yeater could see time at the nose guard position, and if that happens Lucey and Dobbs could get bumped back to outside linebacker.
In the secondary, again there’s a huge hole to fill. All-stater Trey Scott graduated. Mickey, Neely and Trin Scott will all start there.
“We do return players and experience,” Holt said. “I guess that’s been the big thing with the way we’ve won games the last couple years, is nobody out there is not going to have no varsity experience on the football field.
“There’s a bright side to losing three all-state players in that regard.”
Brown, Wingrove and Trey Scott took care of the majority of the special teams, so replacements will be needed there. Cameron doesn’t kick extra points, but Holt said Lucey is likely ticketed to do the punting although Mickey could also find himself there.
Trin Scott figures to take over the return game.
“This senior group is the one that was the thorn in the side of the older kids that made us so good,” Holt said. “Now they are seniors and this is it for them.
“We’ve been to the playoffs for two years but haven’t had the occasion to win a game, so that’s the goal.
“We need to get in and try to win a game.”
The schedule sets up tough in the opener, as the Dragons will welcome WPIAL playoff participant West Greene.
It replaces Shenandoah. Madonna is back on the schedule in place of Hannan.
Holt is assisted by Eric James, Matt Burge, Roger Cain, Gibbs Davidson and L.J. Winland.
Aug. 24: West Greene 7 p.m.
Aug. 31: at Hundred 7 p.m.
Sept. 7: Valley 7 p.m.
Sept. 14: at Frontier 7 p.m.
Sept. 21: Madonna 7 p.m.
Sept. 28: at Paden City 7 p.m.
Oct. 5: Conotton Valley 7 p.m.
Oct. 12: at Clay-Battelle 7 p.m.
Oct. 19: at Beallsville 7 p.m.
Oct. 26: Bridgeport 7 p.m.
Win 8, Lose 2