Buckeye Trail High School

Warriors Return 18 Lettermen

OLD WASHINGTON – Donnie Kerns begins his seventh season at the Buckeye Trail grid helm. He does so with a sense of optimism for his 41-player squad.

The Warriors return 18 lettermen from a 5-6 OHSAA playoff squad. The Kerns’ crew has nine seniors.

“I am excited about the coming season. We have a solid group coming back from a playoff season,” Kerns said. “Our numbers are good and we have quality experience. Staying healthy is always a concern.”

Kerns has a dandy to trigger his Wing-T offense.

Senior Nick Neuhart (6-4,190) returns at quarterback. The four-year letterman and two-year starter put up solid numbers both with his arm and his legs last year.

“Nick brings both talent and leadership as our quarterback. He is a veteran who has been through the wars for us. We are expecting big things from Nick this year,” Kerns said.

Trail has two other quarterbacks on its roster – junior Braden Williams (5-11,165) and sophomore Travis Dodd (5-10,165).

Junior dandy Charlie Parry (6-4,185) is a stud at one of the running back slots. Parry already has two letters to his credit.

Kerns has the luxury of several potent ball carriers to team with Parry.

Junior Donovan Geiger (6-2,170) saw extensive action last fall. He is a two-year letterman. Classmate Koen Eagon (5-10,165) is another two-year letterman with quality running skills.

Senior letter-winners Bryce Hall (5-7,160) and Tyler Dodd (6-0,180) and junior two-year letterman Cale Gazda (5-11,155) will all get ball-carrying opportunities in Trail’s ground-oriented attack.

Senior letterman Noah Betts (5-11,170), sophomores Blake Wayble (5-9,160), Laine Wayble (5-8,130), Rylee Homko (6-1,175) and freshmen Sammy Brown (5-8,140), Mason Todd (5-10,150) and Tyler Harrell (5-9,150) supply impressive depth.

“I like the talent and depth we have at running back. We want to run the football and we feel we have the people to do just that,” Kerns offered.

Junior Brady Hastings (6-4,185) will start at tight end. He is a quality two-year letterman. Junior Wyatt Tank (6-1, 200) will also see ample time alongside Hastings. Freshman Kason Dennis (5-9,145) is a tight tight end.

While Trail will be a pound-and-ground team, the Warriors do possess a talented wide receiver in Jason Alloway (6-0, 155). He is a letter-winning junior. Alloway will be supported by sophomores Jace Hickman (6-4,180), Evan Carpenter (5-9, 150), Noah Jones (5-6,125), Kohl Beaver (6-0, 150) and frosh Austin Gatrell (5-3, 120).

Rising sophomore Wyatt Connor (5-10, 215) will anchor the the offensive line at center. He lettered as a frosh. Landon Koch (6-1, 250) is a three-year regular and can handle anyplace along the front.

Junior letterman Maddox Miracle (6-1,265) and sophomore Nick Taflan (6-2, 200) will see regular duty at tackle. The starting guards will be senior lettermen William Hensley (5-10,170) and Sebastian Graham (6-0,215).

Depth along the offensive line will come from seniors Harley Stone (6-1,225), Cameron Shepherd (6-0,205), juniors Riley Bryan (6-3,295) and Kyle Jeffries (6-1,180), sophomores Brady Troyer (5-10,180), Cole Porter (5-9, 215), Jackson Hess (6-3, 260) and Bryer Walter (5-11, 165) and freshmen Gavin Morris (6-0, 260) and Benson Miller (6-0,230).

“We have nice size and good depth along our offensive line. It should be a real good group for us,” Kerns said.

Defensively, Trail aligns in a 4-4 look. Neuhart and Tank will open at the end slots while Miracle, Graham, Porter and Stone will all see time at tackle.

The outside linebacking spots will be manned by Hastings and Gazda while Betts, who is also the Trail punter, will also log quality time.

Parry and Hensley are rock solid at inside linebacker. Alloway will offer them a breather when needed.

The secondary will have Dodd and Geiger opening at the corners. Eagon and Williams provide excellent support. Hall will be the starting safety.

Our defense is fast and can really fly to the ball. Our quickness is an asset,” Kerns said.

The Trail schedule features just one change. Shenandoah replaces Indian Valley. The Warriors open up against Caldwell.

“I am excited to get the season under way. We got a nice experienced group,” Kerns said. “They have worked hard this summer. Caldwell will be a good test for us. They look to be much improved this year.”

Kerns’s coaching staff features Terry Parry (offensive coordinator), Brett Shipman (defensive coordinator), Josh Eagon, Devin Nicholes, Charlie Deal, Dave Deal, Trey Dougherty, Dylan Rose, Keith Bable and Jacob Sudduth.