This past week marked one year since the Fayetteville-Perry school district hired Kevin Finch to be their new football coach.
At the time, Finch was coming into a situation with a young and inexperienced program, and had little time to implement his offensive and defensive schemes before the regular season was underway less than a month later.
But now, having a whole summer of voluntary practices as well as the 10 maximum days mandated for team instruction by the Ohio High School Athletic Association complete, Finch feels his team is much better prepared to excel in the upcoming season.
“It’s light years ahead of the curve,” Finch said. “Last year we had three coverages for the first three games, and now we have more coverages than that already just from 7-on-7 (tournaments this summer). Everything we have done so far, the players are doing a nice job with and they remember it from last year. Coming in late last year and now having a whole year under the belt this year made a lot of information easier for the players.”
Finch discussed the improved leadership on his team, with seniors such as running back Caleb Dowers, quarterbacks Tim Crone and Cole Schaefer, and running back Eli Wolfer helping lead team workouts and motivate the young players to continue to improve.
“Summer camp days have been going great,” Finch said. “Our leadership has been strong by the upperclassmen. Everyone’s been working hard.”
Finch said that there should be a number of position battles during practice in August, with the team’s depth improving from last year to this year.
“We do have some depth this year,” Finch said. “We have very good quarterbacks this year in Crone and Schaefer battling for that spot. We have a few running backs, Caleb, Eli, and (junior) Chase Jester that are battling it out for running back positions, and there’s also some younger guys looking good trying to get some time on the field.
“At tight end we have a good battle going on between (senior) Noah Bailey, (senior) Luke Davis, and (junior) Austin Brockman.
“We have depth at defensive back, with Schaefer, Dowers, and Crone. Linebacker wise, Davis, (senior) Wyatt Beck, Brockman, and Eli Wolfer and Mark Wolfer are looking to push for some time.
“There’s a lot of spots that are still up for grabs and we do have some depth,” Finch continued. “More importantly the players are working hard and they want to be successful this year. They’re taking it in their own hands and leading by example.”
Heading into the first weekend of official practice, Finch said that the team will continue working on their base offense and defense packages, but with contact limitation, they’ll also work on special teams and the run game before they can put on the pads and simulate game-like conditions.