NEW MATAMORAS - There is a rare development at Frontier High School this season.
With the graduation of 10 seniors from last season's 4-6 team, Coach Todd Bradford is having to switch players around, and a couple of them are making a non-traditional move. Bradford is makings guards out of a couple of guys who were skill position players last season.
Senior Mitch Minder (5-foot-11, 155 pounds) will man one guard position while junior Seth Foutty (6-0, 180), a former backup quarterback on the jayvee team, will be the other guard.
"I can probably count on one hand the number of times that's happened," Bradford said. "But I'm blessed to have a bunch of kids who are really coachable. Both of those young men were very receptive to the move to help our team reach some of the goals that we have set for the season."
That goal is simple for Bradford and the Cougars.
"We have a pretty competitive schedule but I truly believe we can be compete," Bradford. "A lot of things factor into that but I think we're going to be in the ball game (on Friday nights)."
With the graduation of those seniors who played a major role last season, fans may need a program early in the season. That or a junior varsity roster from a year ago.
Many of the standouts from last year's JV team will be making the move to the varsity this year.
One of the new players will be junior quarterback Mitch Reynolds.
Reynolds called the signals last season on the jayvee team and led the squad to a 5-1 record.
"He had some success on the junior varsity level and we're hoping he can bring some of that up here with him," Bradford said.
Damon Metheny will be the primary backup to Reynolds, but he will also play a variety of positions, including wing back, receiver and corner on defense.
Another junior varsity standout, Donovan Boley, will move up and play in the backfield, along with returning fullback Jared Howell.
Dakota Welker and Rodney Barnes will also see action in the backfield.
The receiving corps returns starter Dylan Absher, who was also a starter on defense last season. Nick Camino, a talented sophomore, will also see action at receiver and will likely start at free safety.
Garrett Buegel and Jacob Bradford, the coach's son, will be at tight end.
The rest of the offensive line is a mixture of old and new.
Coming up from the jayvee team to reprise his center role is junior Jordan Martin (5-11, 180). One of the tackles is returning starter Austin Kimble (6-3, 265) and the other is senior Phillip Ellis (6-2, 250). Junior Cole Petty (6-0, 220) will also figure into the offensive line rotation.
Bradford said he has several freshmen and sophomores waiting in the wings, "but it's a little too early to speculate where they might fit in. We have some size in our younger players but there is a big difference between playing on the junior high level and the high school varsity level. I do think we may get some help from a few of those guys as the season goes on."
With a roster of 29 players, many of the same guys will see action on defense as well.
Kimble will definitely be playing on the interior line, though Bradford would like to use a defensive front "by committee."
''We'd like to keep those guys up front as fresh as possible,'' he said.
Josh Saunders (5-8, 140) will be at nose guard. Despite his diminutive dimensions, Bradford said he is built for the job.
"He's a tough kid and he has some speed up there," Bradford said. "He isn't shy about making contact."
Boley, Welker Howell, Minder and Foutty will see time at linebacker, while Camino, Absher, Metheny and Barnes will be in the defensive backfield.
The Cougars are set at placekicker with Buegel in the fold.
"He is a young man who has shown some polish where field goals are concerned," Bradford said. "He could also be our punter, but we have some other kids working at that position.
Barnes, Kimble and Boley are among the other players who could punt for Frontier.
The Cougars open the season Friday against traditional rival Shenandoah.
Dylan Absher, Garrett Buegel, Phillip Ellis, Jared Howell, Austin Kimble, Mitch Minder, Dakota Welker
Rodney Barnes, Donavon Boley, Jacob Bradford, Seth Foutty, Jordan Martin, Jacob Merckle, Cole Petty, Mitch Reynolds,Josh Saunders.
Nick Camino, Zach Farnsworth, Damon Metheney, Zedack Pethtel.
T.J. Dunn, Derrick Heddleson, Brock Holdren, Zane Lamp, Kelby Martin, Caleb McLeish, Chris Ridgeway, Wyatt Smitley, Brody Wise.