EATON TWP. — Midview fans were pumped before the start of last season because the Middies had seniors at nearly every offensive skill position.
"It's the complete opposite this year," Midview coach Bill Albright said. "This season we're going in with a fairly experienced offensive line — we have four of six starters back — and we're very inexperienced in the backfield."
Albright wouldn't have it any other way.
"If you talk to most coaches, they'd say that's the way they'd want it," he said. "It's good to start with a solid foundation up front and we have a lot of depth this season, too."
The returning big men include juniors David Gilchrist and Brendan Large - both all-conference selections last season - junior Jack Armstrong and senior tight end Tony Petrosky, also an all-conference pick.
Listen to coach Bill Albright talk about the season with WEOL's Jim Allen:
Albright also knows the Middies' cupboard isn't bare when it comes to offensive weapons. The most decorated player on the team is his son, senior running back Zach Albright. The 5-foot-10, 155-pounder — named to the All-West Shore Conference and All-Northeast District first teams, and an All-Ohio special mention pick — led the team in receptions last season and totaled 298 yards and four touchdowns.
Zach intends to have a big senior season on both sides of the ball — he's also one of the team's top defensive backs — and said it'll be extra-special because he'll be coached by his father for one final year.
"I've loved it," Zach said. "Everyone asks if it's weird, but on the field it's coach first and Dad second. He doesn't treat me any different than any of the other players."
Junior Ryan Mains will take over the quarterback role vacated by Brett Whitesel, and Tyler Colangelo (senior), Johnny Walsh (junior), Matt Briggs (senior), Rich Popowski (senior), J.D. Meyers (junior) and Jacob Bennett (junior) all got their hands on the ball last season. Walsh is the fifth and final Midview player to receive All-WSC recognition last year.
While the offense will be working hard to find a groove early in the season, the Middies defense will be trying to make it easier on them. Eight starters return on that side of the ball — two defensive backs, two linemen and four linebackers — and the Middies are in the second year of playing the 3-5 scheme, which they switched to from the 3-3 stack last season.
"We understand it a lot more and feel we can do a lot more with this defense," senior inside linebacker Ethan Pickering said. "That will be really important. We're going to need to stop the ball and allow our offense to do what they need to do on the field."
The returning defensive starters include Albright, Pickering, Petrosky (defensive line), senior Matt Mindlin (defensive line), Colangelo (outside linebacker), Mains (defensive back), Large (inside linebacker) and Walsh (inside linebacker).
Midview will begin to test itself this week during a practice with Medina on Tuesday and a scrimmage against Avon Lake on Saturday. The Middies will then truly know where they're at with one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the WSC, which will begin with a home game against Lorain High - making Midview the first team to ever face the newly formed Titans.
"That'll be interesting," Bill Albright said. "It's going to be a very emotional game. We know we'll have to ride out that emotional burst they'll have during the first quarter."
The coach knows his team will also have another pair of emotional games when Midview faces Firelands and Fairview for the final time as conference foes. The Falcons and Warriors will be leaving the WSC for the Patriot Athletic Conference next year.
"Fairview knocked us off last year so we're looking forward to the opportunity to get them back," Albright said. "We certainly want to win those games since it could be the last time we face them for awhile. It takes on a little bit of a special meaning."
Albright is focused on the season at hand, but also said it will be fun to renew the series against Elyria Catholic, a team the Middies faced for years, most recently from 1998-2001.
"That's almost like adding another rivalry game for us (including Midview's season finale versus North Ridgeville)," Albright said.
But for now, the Middies are maintaining their excitement about the upcoming season with one enthusiastic practice after another.
"We didn't have the depth last year that we do this season and that really hurt us," Petrosky said. "I think we're going to get back to pounding the ball on offense and executing on defense. I really think we can be better than last year."
More high school football previews
- Elyria ready to chase playoffs
- EC has plenty to be excited about
- Midview has depth, confidence, too
- Rangers staying hungry
- Keystone counting on defense
- Wellington plans to throw more
- Avon Lake needs a runner
- Amherst expects to be even better this year
- Oberlin staying positive despite heavy graduation losses
- Lorain has high hopes for Titans
- Clippers feel new guys are prepared
- Columbia thinks this season could be a special one
- Brookside’s comfort level rising
- Are Sailors on the way back up?
- Olmsted Falls relying on excellent senior class
- Firelands’ focus on present, not future
- Avon looks to return to playoffs
- Pay-to-pay hasn’t derailed North Olmsted’s optimism
- Black River loaded with talent
- Lutheran West hoping to stay healthy this season
- Coach thinks Westlake will have big year
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.