Gaydos, Caldwell Seek Return to Winning Ways
By MIKE MORRISON
CALDWELL — After a combined total of seven wins over the past two seasons, the Caldwell Redskins have their sights set on playing winning football once again in 2018.
Third-year coach Grant Gaydos will got to battle with a team reminiscent of the Redskins team that made the postseason three consecutive times from 2013-15.
This year’s squad hopes to have an athletic quarterback, a strong running game and an experienced offensive line to go along with a stingy defense, the ingredients that led to the most successful class in Redskins history a few years back.
Gaydos feels like he has a couple of options to turn to at quarterback including sophomores Tanner DeVolld (5-foot-10, 164), who took over midway through the season last year as well as Skyler VanFossen (5-6, 140).
DeVolld led the Redskins to a pair of wins over Frontier and Conotton Valley last season, but Caldwell struggled down the stretch in losses to Fort Frye, Barnesville and Shenandoah to close out the season.
As a freshman DeVolld completed 26 of 61 pass attempts for 390 yards and five touchdowns.
“Tanner finished out the season for us last year and he and Skyler VanFossen will be our to go-to’s at quarterback,” Gaydos said.
“Tanner is just one of the best athletes on the team and can do a little bit of everything and we hope the experience he got as a freshman will translate into some wins this year.”
While that experience may likely give DeVolld the early edge, Gaydos feels that VanFossen could help his team as well.
“He is another sophomore who got a little bit of playing time last year and throws a really good ball,” said Gaydos, who will go to battle with a squad made up of 11 upperclassmen and 15 underclassmen. “He’s another kid I think we can rely on.”
Senior running back Drew Ivey (5-11, 188) will be the feature running back after eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark last year in a season that saw him start at quarterback before shifting to the more familiar position of running back midway through the year.
Ivey, who carried the ball 160 times for 1,080 yards and 11 touchdowns, should get support in the Redskin backfield from the likes of senior Dalton Wheeler (5-8, 160) as well as a trio of sophomores in Brandon Piskula (5-9, 158), Caden Moore (6-0, 154) and Whyatt Parks (5-6, 150).
Senior Zeke Liston (6-2, 180), who hauled in three catches for 74 yards and a touchdown last season, figures to be one of the key Caldwell targets as well as senior Michael Gerard (5-8, 150) and sophomores Robbie Cool (5-11, 155) and Xavier Petry (5-9, 159).
The Redskins line will be an experienced one and will likely feature senior Tommy Mitchell (5-10, 189) at tight end, senior Jeremy Ditch (6-4, 230) and sophomore T.J. Wehr (5-10, 300) at tackle, seniors Brenden Saling (6-4, 265) and Mason Wiley (6-2, 220) at the guard positions and the Redskins lone junior Bradley Michael (5-10, 178) at center.
Seniors Mason Hanson (5-9, 228) and Alex Piskula (6-2, 315) also figure to be integral pieces of a very strong Redskins line.
Defensively, Caldwell returns it’s top five tacklers from a season ago in Saling (44), Moore (34), Liston (32) Wiley (30) and Ivey (30).
“We are going to do everything we can do to get our best 11 guys on the field,” said Gaydos, whose team will go with several different looks on defense. “That’s one of our main goals.”
Recently Caldwell has produced many strong players at the linebacking positions and that figures to be no different in 2018 with the likes of Saling, Ivey, Mitchell and Moore manning the middle of the field.
The Redskins allowed 40-plus point per game over the final three games of 2017, a number they will have to reduce significantly this season to rebound they way they hope they will.
“The last time a Caldwell team made the playoffs these guys (Seniors) were a part of that as freshman,” Gaydos said. “One of their biggest goals this year is to get back on track and get another Caldwell football team playing in week 11.”
Aug. 24 at Buckeye Trail 7 p.m.
Aug. 30 Eastern 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 Tuscarawas Central Catholic 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Monroe Central 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 River 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Conotton Valley 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Frontier 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 Fort Frye 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 Barnesville 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 at Shenandoah 7 p.m.
Win 4, Lose 6
Jeremy Ditch, Michael Gerard, Mason Hanson, Drew Ivey, Zeke Liston, Tommy Mitchell, Alex Piskula, Brenden Saling, Dalton Wheeler, Mason Wiley
Joel Ackley, Robbie Cool, Jonah Croucher, Tanner DeVolld, Caden Moore, Dawlson Moore, Whyatt Parks, Xavier Petry, Brandon Piskula, Skyler VanFossen, T.J. Wehr