Sports Talk: ’Cats ready to claw

WATERFORD – Taking a timeout from his golf game, Tom Tucker mowed the Waterford High football field Sunday morning.

At 6 p.m. today, the Wildcats’ gridiron coach will be on hand for helmet fittings at the fieldhouse.

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

“We’ll be doing some conditioning after the helmet fittings – and then for the rest of the week,” said Tucker, who guided the ‘Cats to a 2-8 overall record last season.

A week from today on Aug. 5, from 4:30 9 p.m., Waterford, an Ohio Division VII football school this season, will begin two-a-day practice sessions.

“We had between 24 and 27 kids in our summer camp,” Tucker said. “I’m hoping we’ll be able to pick up some kids when practice begin.”

Waterford graduated 10 seniors including some good ones in Brian Moore, Devon Patterson, Hunter Munjas, and Austin Shriver.

“Those 10 seniors will be hard to replace,” Tucker said.

Then, the Wildcats lost running back Derek Brown and lineman/kicker Wyatt Porter, who both have elected not to play this upcoming fall. Both were good football players, and their departure hurts the green and white.

But Tucker is more concerned with what he has and not what he doesn’t have. And, what the Waterford boss has is a nice nucleus of returning, young players. Only two seniors are featured on the roster – running back Austin Lang and lineman Nick Gardner.

Lang, a state tournament wrestler, actually can play almost anywhere on the field, Tucker said. He no doubt will probably see action on both sides of the ball as will Gardner, who’s expected to help anchor the line.

Waterford’s line may be one of the team’s strong suits, as returnees’ Jordan Hendershot, Blake Heiss, Dwight Crane, and Gardner are all fairly experienced in trench warfare.

Last year, when Moore was injured, Joe Pugh stepped in and took center snaps. Right now, he’s considered to be the frontrunner for the QB position.

“Last year, we quarterbacked by committee,” Tucker said. “Hopefully, that won’t be the case this season.”

Pugh’s backup will probably be freshman Isaac Huffman.

“Isaac’s a good player, and he’s going to be somewhere on the field,” Tucker said.

A couple of other Wildcat running backs to keep an eye on will be sophomore Jared McCutcheon and freshman Tyler McCutcheon.

Waterford is expected to be in the I-formation or shotgun on offense and the 5-2 on defense.

“I’m an old-fashioned kind of coach who likes to run the stuff I know,” Tucker said.

Before kicking of the season in earnest against visiting Miller on Aug. 30, Waterford has two scrimmages lined up at River and against visiting Frontier.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at