CALCUTTA - After three straight disappointing 1-9 seasons, Beaver Local is looking for a new beginning under the direction of first-year coach Jeremy McElroy.
Elevated from the assistant ranks after Rich Wright retired following the 2011 season, McElroy has an experienced cast of players to work with this fall. Seven starters return on offense and six are back with the defensive unit.
Another positive for the Beavers is size on the line and some promising weapons at the skill positions.
The starting line weighs in at 290, 230, 230, 260 and 210 across the interior, an average of 245 pounds per position with the heavyweights being senior tackle Mike Brewer (6-foot, 290) and junior guard Cody Martsolf (5-11, 260), both two-year starters.
But there are also several heavyweights available to man backup positions.
''Size is definitely one of our assets and we feel good about our skill people,'' said McElroy, a former Mount Union athlete. ''The schedule would be one of our main concerns. We play in the All-American Conference and the competition is always very tough in our league.
Aug. 24: at East Liverpool7:30 p.m.
Aug. 31: Crestview7 p.m.
Sept. 7: at Jefferson Area7 p.m.
Sept. 14 Canfield7 p.m.
Sept. 21: at Niles McKinley7 p.m.
Sept. 28: at Howland7 p.m.
Oct. 5: Struthers7 p.m.
Oct. 12: Claymont7 p.m.
Oct. 19: at Hubbard7 p.m.
Oct. 26: Poland Seminary7 p.m.
Win 4, Lose 6
''I'm very encouraged by the effort and hard work of our players during the preseason. Having good kids and a lot of support in the community has been a big help.''
Jefferson Area and Hubbard were signed as new opponents on the schedule, replacing Oak Glen and Brookfield. Beaver Local kicks off the season Friday night on the road at East Liverpool and then makes its home debut the following Friday against Crestview.
The Beavers' two-deep depth chart on offense finds two seniors, Phil Beohm (6-1, 190) and Austin Brooks (6-1, 200), vying for the quarterback job. Beohn started at running back a year ago and is one of the team's best athletes.
Beaver Local's two-back set will find another quality senior letterman in Daniel Lattanzio (6-1, 195) at tailback and Kyle Worth, 6-1, 215-pound senior, the fullback. Their main backups are two juniors, East Liverpool transfer Travelle Thompkins (6-0, 210) and Marley Marsden (5-11, 200).
Vying at the slot receiver post are senior Jared Osborn (6-1,185) and junior Justin Britt (5-10, 165). Senior returnees Matt Sims (6-2, 175) and Garrett Spielman (6-2, 175) will handle most of the duty at receiver.
Senior Andrew Travis, listed at 6-2, 230, will line up as the tight end, backed by sophomore Kaleb Kountz (6-2, 230).
The Beavers will have Brewer and another senior letterman Doug Blanner (6-3, 230) as the bookend tackles, backed by sophomores Austin Lawrence (6-4, 280) and Jason Sims (6-2, 290). Guards are Martsolf and senior Cody Green (5-11, 230).
Also seeking playing time at guard are junior Tanner Smith (5-11, 240) and Colton Beckwith (6-0, 280).
Stefan Lucas, a 5-11, 210-pound junior, is listed at center with sophomore Cody Riddle (6-0, 220) the backup.
Handling the placekicking duties will be junior Justin McCoy (6-1, 170) while Spielman is the punter.
Corners in the defensive secondary are Matt Sims and Britt, with Spielman and sophomore Hayden Grafton also expected to get some playing time. Osborn and Beohm are the free safeties, while at the strong safety position is Lattanzio, supported by sophomore Jason Sigley (5-10, 165). Worth and Thompkins will start as the inside linebackers with juniors Cole McKenzie (5-10, 185) and Dillon Railing (5-10, 200) in support roles. The outside backer is Kevin Salsberry (5-10, 195). Also in the running is Brooks.
At the strong side defensive end are Kountz and Lucas, with Travis and Blanner on the other side. The defensive tackles are Jacob Sims and Green, supported by Brewer and Smith.
McElroy's coaching staff also includes Jordan Williams, Steve Mercer, Ed Rankin, Rich Schilling, Aaron West, Matt Bostian, Josh Weese, Dave Hilliard and Ed Beohm.