Brutal Schedule Faces Cambridge
By BUBBA KAPRAL
CAMBRIDGE — We may never know how good a football team Cambridge is this season.
Because the Bobcats tackle a schedule that borders on insanity.
Coach Kevin Gunn’s club faces heavyweights Zanesville, Dover and New Philadelphia in successive weeks. Toss in 8-2 Logan, playoff-qualifier Indian Creek and mix in improving Coshocton, rival Meadowbrook and talent-rich Canton South, and a final record may not be a true measuring stick of the 2016 Bobcats.
“We have a competitive schedule to say the least,” Gunn, said as he prepared to enter his fifth season. “We don’t have any easy ones. But our kids and coaches are up for the challenge.”
The Bobcats will face the same 10 foes as a year ago, a season in which they ended 3-7. Cambridge opens at Indian Creek on Friday night.
Gunn, a former All-Ohio linebacker at Cambridge, will go to battle with 15 returning lettermen. The Bobcats lost 15 seniors to graduation, three of whom Gunn coached in the recent OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Game.
Nathan Snodgrass (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) will take over the quarterbacking duties. His understudy is sophomore Cooper Kerns (5-9, 155).
“Nathan has put his time in and paid his dues,” Gunn said. “He has been successful at quarterback coming up through the ranks. He has a lot of individual and team goals for the upcoming season.”
Gunn has a talented two-headed tandem at tailback. Senior lettermen Rusty Hayhurst (6-2, 185) and William Lowe (5-10, 170) will share the ball-toting load.
“Both had success last year. They will split time and we lose nothing with the rotation,” Gunn said.
Koby Berger (6-0, 225) is a hard-nosed fullback that is a junior letterman.
Tight end is in the capable hands of junior letterman Cody Wallace (6-0, 210). Senior letterman Colton Jones (5-9, 165) will also see time.
Snodgrass will have a talented and youthful wideout corps to work with. A quartet of players will split time, headed by junior letterman Alex Valentine (6-0, 160). Senior Marquis Hamilton (5-8, 165) is a dependable receiver while Gunn has a pair of promising sophomores in Trent Valentine (5-8, 140) and speedy Logan Tuttle (5-6, 130).
Cambridge will boast a quality offensive front, featuring five returning lettermen.
Senior Garth Charlton (6-1, 215) and junior Thomas Arnold (6-0, 205) are the tackles. Charlton moved over from fullback and according to Gunn, has solidified the line.
Senior Harrison Ogle (5-11, 250) and junior Garrett Dostall (6-2, 250) are the guards while senior Tommy Moore (5-6, 235) is the anchor at center.
Senior letterman Alex Leeper (5-9, 160) is the placekicker.
Cambridge will sport a 4-2-5 defensive alignment. Former Shadyside standout Tim Wilson again serves as the defensive coordinator.
Arnold and Lowe team at defensive end, the latter providing an excellent speed rusher. Moore and Dostall will be the down tackles.
Providing depth are junior Duncan Hayes (6-1, 350) and sophomores Jordan Yerian (5-10, 185) and Seth Kobie (5-10, 175).
The Bobcats boast a rugged 1-2 punch at linebacker. Charlton is a four-year starter there and is one of the OVAC’s finest at the position. He is joined by Berger. Also seeking time are Jones and junior Preston Daniels (5-11, 225).
The secondary is solidly composed of Hamilton, Tuttle, Leeper and both Valentines.
“We are playing a lot more kids on both sides of the ball this year. We want our best athletes on the field,” Gunn said. “We want to be more aggressive this year defensively. We will be blitzing often.”
Gunn has a squad of 60. He heads into the opener knowing full well what the keys are to having a successful season.
“Our offensive and defensive lines will go a long way in determining what type of season we are going to have. I like them a lot,” Gunn said. ”They have bonded really well in the offseason. We must control the line of scrimmage.
“We have to consistently move the sticks and finish drives. We did not do that last year. I like our running backs and I think we will have a solid passing attack. We have to take what is available.”
In addition to Wilson, Gunn’s staff includes Josh Lowery (offensive coordinator), J.R. Fox, Tank Moore, Jake Tharp, Brandon Brown, Kyle Cox, Phil Doan, Mark Abel, Kyle Winland and Riley Hayhurst.