Caldwell bids to rebound from two-win season
CALDWELL – Coming off a 2-8 season and entering his fifth season on the sidelines at Caldwell, Head Coach Grant Gaydos has plenty of enthusiasm for the 2020 season having lost just one starter from last season.
The biggest problem that Gaydos and the Redskins face heading into the season is putting a six-game schedule together with most of the team’s they were slated to face this season playing just conference games.
“The fact that we are not in a conference out this way really hurts our ability to schedule with most teams opting to play only conference opponents,” Gaydos said. “We have been working hard trying to get something finalized, but it hasn’t been easy, and we aren’t there yet.
“Our top priority is finding a way to play our biggest rival in Shenandoah. Doesn’t matter if it’s week one or week six, we just definitely want that game to happen.”
Gaydos is also excited about the improvement he has witnessed in second-year starting quarterback Braxton Dudley (5-9, 166), who is still just a mere sophomore. Gaydos calls Dudley “one of the most athletic kids on the team who can both run and throw the football”.
Both senior Caden Moore (6-0, 168) and sophomore Marshall Sayre (5-8, 165) seen plenty of action at running back last year and both are back to try and move the football on the ground for the Redskins. Others available for carries include senior Brandon Piskula (5-9, 182) and sophomores Ethan Carpenter (5-7, 160) and Colby Langly (5-8, 165).
Piskula will be in the mix at wide-receiver as well, joining senior returning leading receiver Whyatt Parks (5-8, 150), Chris Hill (5-11, 196) and Skyler VanFossen (5-8, 165). All four recorded time at receiver last season.
Senior Dawlson Moore (6-1, 169) is back at tight end with Joel Ackley (5-7, 155) and Xavier Petry (5-9, 170) his understudies.
A total of four offensive linemen return led by the senior T.J. Wehr (5-11, 285) at right tackle, who Gaydos calls “his anchor”. Senior Matthew Cunningham (5-11, 205) is the center, Jonah Croucher (5-10, 180) the right guard and junior Waylon Clark (5-10, 190) the left tackle. Sophomore Colby Langley (5-8, 165) is the only newcomer, taking over for the departed Bradley Michael. Junior Damyan Jones and sophomore Zach McDowell (6-0, 200) could also see playing time.
VanFossen will handle the punting duties while Caden Moore is slated for kickoffs.
Wehr, Clark, Croucher and Langley lead the way up front on the defensive side of the football with Sayre, Piskula and senior Chris Hill (5-11, 196) the outside linebackers and senior Tate Leasure (5-11, 152), Parks, Dudley in the defensive backfield and Caden and Whyatt Moore at inside linebacker.
“We lost one starter on both sides of the ball, the same kid, and we had quite a few underclassmen play last year,” Gaydos added. “It’s going to be nice with our quarterback, backfield and most of the line all returning.
“The freshmen that started for us last year really grew up quickly and with the experience that they earned we honestly don’t even look at them as sophomores this year.
“his is not going to be the same 2-8 football team that we had last year, these kids have improved significantly. And I know that most of the teams we are going to play are going to have to replace more than just one starter.
“We are going to play Caldwell football on offense with a heavy, power running game. It is still a wing-T based offense, but we are also going to have the ability to run some spread offense as well.
“On defense we just have a bunch of athletic kids that fly to the football and make plays.”
As for the who will eventually end up on the Redskins’ schedule, Gaydos really isn’t concerned about that.
“My stance is that I really don’t care who, when and where, I just want to be able to show up and have these kids play football,” Gaydos said. “We will be very happy if we get to have a season.”
Gaydos also mentioned that the way things are set up this year he is in favor of his team trying to make a playoff run.
Assistant coaches include Jason Rucker, Brian Sawyer, Jenson Croucher and Chance Rucker.