CALDWELL – There is a lot of excitement in Noble County with the addition of a new head football coach at Caldwell, a former Redskin player who also started four years at West Liberty University.
The hiring of Chance Rucker not only brings a fresh outlook to the sidelines but also a new saying brought forth by the School Board, “Taking a chance on Chance.”
“I am extremely blessed to be in this position, and it is a real gift to be coming back to my alma-mater,” Rucker admitted. “They really wanted to give me this opportunity and that where the “Taking a chance on Chance” saying came from. “I came back as the offensive line coach last year, so the kids are familiar with me and we are all excited, grateful and ready to kick this thing off.
“We have been in the weight room and building team chemistry since February. There isn’t a lot of size, but we are going to be strong and quick on the offensive line and speedy on the outside. I am a perfectionist and I want everything right, and we are going to do things the right way.”
Coach Chance Rucker discusses the upcoming campaign
Rucker will welcome back a two-year starter at quarterback and four offensive linemen, but most of the skill position players will be new to the starting lineup.
Junior Braxton Dudley (5-10, 165) returns under center from a team that finished 6-3 last year but lost in the first round of the playoffs. Marshall Sayre (5-9, 185), another junior is the only other returning skill position player at running back with returnees across the front consisting of senior Waylon Clark (5-10, 225), juniors Colby Langley (5-10, 185) and Ethan Carpenter (5-8, 197) and sophomore Jase Norman (6-0, 240). The other line spot will be filled by either sophomore Wyatt Freeman (6-3, 315) or freshman Garrett Brown (5-10, 181).
A corp of four wide receivers will be led by senior Matt Kowalsky (6-5, 210) and sophomores Dylan Wheeler (5-8, 165), Hunter Parks (5-6, 155) and Cale Bender (5-11, 155) with freshman Ethan Crock (6-0, 160) at tight end.
Also available on the offensive side are junior Seth Archer (6-1, 251), sophomores Easton Depuy (5-10, 204) and Wyatt Williams (5-8, 240) and freshmen Ethan Rieter (5-9, 190) and Killian Bentley (5-9, 182) on the line; sophomore Devin McKee (5-9, 140) and freshmen Ethan Lamp (6-0, 163), Jaron VanFossen (5-6, 135) and Jarret VanFossen (5-6, 132) at wide receiver; junior Brody Peachy (6-0, 165) at tight end and freshman Jeffery Guiler (5-9, 195) at fullback.
Young and Kowalsky lead the defense up front with Clark and Carpenter while Sayre and Langley are at middle linebacker and Crock and Wheeler are on the outside. Bender gets the nod at safety with Dudley and Herlan the corners.
The remainder of the defense has senior Josh Moni (5-10, 162), Peachey and Guiler at linebacker; Mckee and the VanFossen brothers at corner and Depuy, Freeman, Williams, Brown, Rieter and Bentley up front.
Bender will handle the punting chores while sophomore Paisley Sidwell will be the kickoff specialist.
Rucker will be assisted by Jason Rucker, Shane Rucker, Mike Duvall, Brian Sawyer, Jensen Croucher, Jerry Hamilton and James Noyes.
“We have very high expectations heading into the season and are all aware that great things are possible,” Chance Rucker added. “The big thing is keeping everyone together and keeping their noses to the grindstone.
“Our schedule is similar to what we have played after picking up a couple of teams last year. I think we can compete with everyone on the schedule, and we are really going to push hard for the playoffs again the season.”
The Redskins, who play their first four games at home, open up Friday night against Buckeye Trail.