Brandon Goodale is the lone senior returning to the starting lineup for the Plymouth football team. Matt Perloff. (click for larger version)
August 27, 2012PLYMOUTH — There is a tradition of success with Plymouth football. It seems that no matter how many kids graduate in June, the following fall there are kids ready to step up and take their place.
Veteran coach Chuck Lenahan will need a lot of kids to step up if the Bobcats are going to continue to repeat their success this season.
The Bobcats lost 10 players from the offensive side of the ball and nine players from the defensive side, leaving Lenahan with a lot of shoes to fill as the new season looms on the horizon.
Lenahan lamented the fact that last year's squad lost so many seniors, but noted that is simply part of high school sports.
"You need the seniors to get to the championship game and then you have to start over," he said.
The biggest challenge for the Bobcats as the preseason has moved along has been filling the holes on the offensive and defensive lines.
"We're still searching," Lenahan said of his line situation after two weeks of practices.
The Bobcats will also be using a lot of players on both sides of the ball, something necessitated by the lack of experience.
"We have a lot of players playing both ways," the veteran coach said. "We don't like to do that, but we don't have much of a choice.
"The best athletes are the boys you have to go to," he continued.
After last season, Lenahan was a little apprehensive of how he was going to fill his quarterback spot this year.
However, Lenahan was pleasantly surprised when last year's backup, Collin Sullivan, showed up in the preseason much bigger and stronger than he was last year.
"He's grown," Lenahan said. "He could be a big surprise for us."
The junior quarterback will have a solid stable of running backs and wing backs to help him out, many returning to the field with some varsity experience.
The lone senior starter back with the team is Brandon Goodale, who is the team's fullback. He will get spelled by junior John Thomas and they will provide the blocks for halfbacks Jared Kuehl and Justin Robinson. Kuehl suffered an injury early in the preseason and has been taking it easy, but Lenahan is hopeful for big things from the junior.
Kyle Reisert and Kyle Hodges will be the wingbacks and Brandon David, a newcomer, will look to chip in on the offensive side of the ball.
On the defensive side of the ball, some of the same faces will be the ones Lenahan is counting on.
Reisert will be a force at defensive end for the Bobcats, while Thomas and Ryan Farina will be expected to pick up the slack at linebacker. Goodale will be one of the team's secondary defenders, lining up as a safety.
"Other than that, it's wide open," Lenahan said.
Despite having plenty of holes to fill, the veteran coach notes that there are a few things that aren't lacking in the Bobcat locker room.
"If we don't win, it won't be because of the lack of effort, that's for sure," Lenahan said. "They have a great attitude and they work like hell."
He told the players that if they hope to make the playoffs in Division IV this season, they are going to have to earn it, with traditional power and defending champ Trinity back for another go and the addition of St. Thomas and Windham to the mix this season.
"The good thing about high school, there's a whole new look every year," Lenahan said.
The Bobcats were scheduled for a scrimmage on Friday against Dover and the veteran coach and his staff figured to have a better idea where the team stood after that game.
"We'll dissect that film and figure out where to go," Lenahan said. "It feels like we've been out there (practicing) forever.
"We're ready to go," he said.
The Bobcats open on the their home field against Lebanon at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1. The team hits the road to Kennett the following week and hosts Trinity in a championship rematch the next week. Homecoming will be against Windham on Sept. 29 and the final two games of the season are at home, with St. Thomas and John Stark in town. In addition to Kennett, the Bobcats will be on the road at Hanover, Laconia and Kingswood.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126