WELLSVILLE - Rich Wright is not a magician, but after putting the Beaver Local football program on the Ohio state map, he is hoping he can restore some magic at Wellsville.
After taking a year off, Wright takes over a program that entered the 2012 campaign with high expectations, in part because of a large and talented junior class that was coming off a trip to the state Division VI playoffs a year earlier, only to finish a disappointing 4-6.
Well that junior class has turned into the senior class and the veteran mentor is hoping to instill the "Wright" stuff in them and help get them back into the mix.
"I missed it a lot," Wright said. "But it has been great taking a whole year to study and look things over. I think things may have gotten a little stale."
Experience is not an issue with this Tigers team, and being a coach that has buttered his bread with the running game, having the entire offensive line back is a huge plus. Wellsville's line will be led by three-year starter Greg Beatty, a senior, at guard.
Joining him are two-year starters Joe Abdalla at center and Marvin Brinkley at tackle, both seniors, and juniors Seth Bloor at guard and Travis Furbie at the other tackle spot.
Senior quarterback Jordan Sloan is back for his second year under center while classmate Marcus Moxley will be lining up at wingback for his third campaign as a starter. Junior Zack Mellott will be at running back with seniors Camden Douglas and Jordan Allen at split end. Senior Seth Bradford will be the tight end.
Running backs who could also see action are sophomore Vinnie Giordano and freshmen Branzen Gradhaus and Justin Miller, while junior TyShawn Franklin is available at split end. Backup linemen include seniors DeVonte Pullie and Levi Brown along with junior Branden Valentine, a tackle, and sophomores Eric Sullivan and Austin Baker at guard and center, respectively. Junior Frank Jackson will be used at tight end.
Other skill players include seniors Eric Hardman at receiver and George Anderson at fullback; sophomores Alex Bradford at quarterback and Dan Monte at split end and freshmen Hayden Dalrymple at fullback and Ishmael Heard. Miller and Gradhaus can both also be used at quarterback if needed.
Junior Nick Huff is another tight end while the remainder of the line is junior John Bell at tackle, sophomore Austin Phillips at guard and freshmen Austin Carter and Norman Rudder at tackle, and Skyler DeLauder at guard.
The starting defensive line will consist of Beatty and Seth Bradford at ends with Bloor and Furbie inside at the tackle spots. A strong group of linebackers includes Abdalla, Anderson, Carr, Giordano and Mellott with Allen, Douglas and Franklin at corner and Moxley the free safety.
Backups are Brinkley, Brown and Rudder at end; Baker, Bell, Carter and DeLauter, Pullie, Sullivan and Valentine at tackle; Dalrymple, Gradhaus, Huff, Jackson, LeMasters, Phillips and Sloan at linebacker and Alex Bradford, Hardman, Heard, Miller and Monte in the defensive backfield.
Alex and Seth Bradford will each get the opportunity to punt if needed while Cavan LeMasters is a three-year veteran kicker.
"These 14 seniors made the playoffs as sophomores and had high expectations last year," Wright said. "But they fell behind early in some games and had to deal with injuries along the way, but did get a big win late in the season. The only thing is, is that while there is experience there is also a new system to learn, which can take a little away from that.
"But it is a great, veteran senior class and as a team we have 35 kids right now, after they ended the season with just 23 last year.
"I really believe we have the chance to be pretty good, but every coach is going to tell you that before the season starts.
"I feel young again starting from scratch and implementing a whole new system into a team."
As for the schedule, Wright knows his team will be in for the normal league dog fights.
"We open with three big rivalries in Toronto, Southern and Lisbon and that goes a long way into what the season will bring," Wright added.
"But they are teams that I know a lot about. It is really just a unique part of the schedule before league play begins.
"Big thing for us is to get those first three under our belts and then start over and get ready for the next seven."
Joe Abdalla, Jordan Allen, George Anderson, Greg Beatty, Seth Bradford, Marvin Brinkley, Levi Brown, Brendon Carter, Camden Douglas, Eric Hardman, Cavan LeMasters, Marcus Moxley, DeVonte Pullie, Jordan Sloan.
John Bell, Seth Bloor, TyShawn Franklin, Travis Furbie, Nick Huff, Frank Jackson, Zack Mellott, Branden Valentine.
Austin Baker, Alex Bradford, Vinnie Giordano, Dan Monte, Austin Phillips, Eric Sullivan.
Austin Carter, Hayden Dalrymple, Skyler DeLauder, Branzen Gradhaus, Ishmael Heard, Justin Miller, Norman Rudder.