Cee-Bees’ Wilson: I Think We’ll Be Fun to Watch

By KYLE LUTZ

BLACKSVILLE — Clay-Battelle coach Ryan Wilson knows how much of a challenge it is to get in the playoffs, especially in Class A. While finishing with a record of 6-4 in 2017, the Cee-Bees failed to make it to the postseason for the second year in a row with a winning record.

While it is a tough hill to climb, Wilson knows that his squad just has to keep grinding.

“Getting to the playoffs in Single A has become more difficult,” Wilson. “In that reclassification and they brought down seven more AA schools, we got shoved down further on the enrollment. It just made it tougher on you when you are competing against 43. I look back and if they didn’t bring down those AA schools, we would have been in the state playoffs two of the last three years. But with the addition of those six or seven schools, it just makes it tougher to get in the playoffs when you are competing against 43 schools instead of 36.

“The year before we went 7-3 and we still didn’t make the playoffs. It’s tough and if you do make the playoffs, you have to feather your cap. We’re doing the best we can and our kids have done a great job with it. Hopefully, we keep trying and we get over the hump here one of these days.”

In 2017, Clay-Battelle got off to an excellent start as it won five of its first six games. However, down the stretch, the Cee-Bees lost three of their final four, including dropping games against Cameron, Notre Dame and Madonna.

“We just came up short against those three right there and those are quality ball clubs,” Wilson said. “We played them tough, we just couldn’t get over the edge. It wasn’t quite the finish we wanted, but you look at the season, we did finish 6-4. We finished with a winning record. We had some nice wins along the way. We just came up short pertaining to getting to the playoffs.”

Even though Clay-Battelle lost a handful of talent because of graduation, including Gunner Brummage, Travis Dillie and Benji Steele, the cupboard is definitely not bare as a handful of players with experience return for the 2018 season.

Like last year, Wilson will adapt a two-quarterback system with juniors Seth Casino (5-foot-9, 145 pounds) and Levi Carrico (6-1, 195). While Casino got most of the snaps last year, Wilson said they have formations and situations for Carrico as well. However, the maturity of the two is what Wilson is excited about.

“They both gained a lot of good experience.

Coming into camp this year as juniors, I have two kids that’s been in the role as quarterback,”î Wilson said.

“They already know our system and they’ve gotten stronger. They are able to make throws so much easier this year and we’re going to do the same thing.

“They both have strengths and we’re going to use them. They will both see time at quarterback.”

Senior Nathan Swaniger (6-0, 180) and junior Sean Hays (5-9, 205) will see time in the backfield. Wilson described Swaniger as the back with track speed. Hays on the other hand, reminds Wilson of a fullback.

Freshman Daniel Gorbey (6-0, 105) might also see a little time in the backfield.

Casino could also see some time at wide receiver along with seniors Hunter Brewer (6-1, 190), Michael Stewart (5-10, 190), juniors Nick Rose (5-10, 170), Cadon Skavinsky (5-9, 140) and Drew Deletto (6-0, 170).

There is also a freshman that has caught Wilson’s eye in Noah Sollars (6-3, 150).

“He has decent speed as a freshman and he’s pretty athletic out there,î” Wilson said. “He just really stood out at the 7-on-7. It just seemed like he learned the pass route, he knew them, he ran a good route and could finish the play. Teams tried to intimidate him, he did not back down. That says a lot for a freshman.

There will be three seniors on the offensive line that start with Noah Watson (6-1, 255). Classmates Dylan Statler (6-0, 195), Billy Arnett (5-10, 230), Kasey Latocha (5-11, 265) and another freshman that caught Wilsonís attention, Pony Yost (5-10, 200,) will also be on the line.

Watson, Latocha, Swaniger Brewer, Statler and junior Jordan Herndon (5-11, 175) will be on the defensive line

Seeing time at linebacker will be Hays, Gorbey, Stewart and Rose.

Skavinsky and Sollars will play cornerback and Casino will be the safety.

In early August, the Cee-Bees did not have a set kicker or punter.

Nick Palmer is the other senior for the Cee-Bees while Morgan Foley rounds out the junior class. Cooper Watson, Matthew Cottrell and Gunner Javosky are the remaining sophomores.

Johnny Arnett, Caiden Hilley, Michael Payton, Brady Ammons, Robert Tennant, Jacob Shriver, Jaydon Palmer, Braden Coen, Colton Walls and Allen Nestor are the freshmen.

“I think we are going to be a fun team to watch,” Wilson said. “I’m not sure we have that guy that really stands out, but I think we have several that can get the job done. I think that’s a good thing.

“Our expectation is to make the state playoffs. That’s our No. 1 goal. Once you get in the state playoffs and your goal is there to keep on winning and try to get to Wheeling. Expectation No. 1 is to get to the state playoffs. The one thing we tell our kids is it’s one game at a time. Those state playoffs are very difficult to get in those. You just have to take it one game at a time and try to get a win there and move on.

“I’m excited to continue to see this team grow, become better and improve. They’re just a joy to coach and to see that improvement, those guys are asking what can they do to get better and that’s a plus.

“This is a nice group.”

Wilson is assisted by Kent Saul, Christ Huffman, Gerge Hostutler and Aaron Lapoe.

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