Things looking up at Beallsville


Executive Sports Editor

BEALLSVILLE — These are exciting times for the Beallsville High football program.

A new and much-needed million dollar fieldhouse will be ready for the 2018 season. Already in place is a state-of-the-art video scoreboard.

And most importantly, the grid roster is growing in numbers and talent.

Larry Deem is in his third season at the Blue Devils’ helm. He virtually saved the program from extinction when he took over in August of 2015.

In his initial two seasons, Deem has had to deal with a brutal and nonsensical schedule and a lack of manpower. He and his Blue Devils have shown unwavering resiliency during that time.

Those tough times are beginning to dissipate, slowly but surely.

While still a work in progress, the Blue Devils will be fielding a much more competitive team this fall. So much so if the ball bounces the Blue Devils way some victories are in store for the Big Blue in 2017.

Deem has built his squad to 17, which represents half the total of boys in the high school. Meanwhile, athletic director Delmas Moore has done a remarkable overhaul of the schedule.

Gone from the 2016 card are Wheeling Central, Warren Local, Toronto, Gilmer and Cleveland Lutheran East. New to this year’s schedule are Bishop Rosecrans, Hundred, Madonna, Bridgeport and Cameron.

“This program is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was two years ago. We now have a stable situation with a concrete foundation,” Deem said. “We preach football 12 months a year. The kids have bought into the weightlifting program. They have progressed physically and mentally.

“The community has also been super with its support. We wanted a new scoreboard and the Beallsville Sportsmen’s Club stepped up for us,” he added. “Delmas has also been great cleaning up the schedule. With the new fieldhouse in the works things are headed in the right direction.”

While things are definitely on the upswing, Deem will still be guiding an extremely young team. Just two seniors and three juniors are on the Big Blue roster. Eight freshmen and four sophomores comprise the bulk of the roster.

Although much of the team is still wet behind their collective ears, Deem sees a lot of positives.

“I really like our athleticism. We can flip flop positions and move some people around this year. We are going to let them be athletes,” Deem offered. “I really believe three or four freshmen are going to be a big help this year. We should be able to compete much better this year.’

Beallsville also boasts a host of big bodies. Seven Blue Devils tip the scales at 210 or above.

Offensively, Deem likes to do a lot of different things. He is not locked into one scheme.

“We can run the spread or Power I or several other looks. We want to put our players in position to make plays,” Deem said.

One of those playmakers is under center. Dakota Phillips (6-0, 150), is a blossoming dandy. The athletic sophomore will keep defenses on their heels with his arm and legs.

“Dakota is a flat-out athlete. We can put him out in space to put pressure on defenses. He has good size. I expect a real good year for him,” Deem said.

Another Blue Devil standout is Dakota Milosavljevic (5-11, 150). The versatile senior caught nearly 50 passes for some 800 yards last fall. Deem will line him up all over the field, be it as a wideout or running back.

Wyatt Brown (5-8, 195) will be the starting fullback. The hard-running sophomore can provide the tough inside yards.

Jason Beisel (5-3, 130) is one freshman expected to make an immediate impact. Deem says he has been picking things up quickly and may start at halfback.

Another freshman has been impressive in preseason drills. Wyatt Moore (5-9, 135) is in line for a starting spot at wide receiver.

Junior Travis Potts (5-8, 135) and sophomore Steven Yingling (5-8, 150) will also see extensive time at wideout. Three freshmen round out the receiving contingent: Jacob Stephen (5-10, 130), Joe Davis (5-8, 140) and Keith Steck (5-4, 165).

The Blue Devils’ offensive line is an area that harbors great promise. Three starters are back in the fold while another boasts game-time experience.

“I like our linemen. We have nice size and experience up front. It is a good group,” Deem said.

Senior Casey Hill (5-10, 240) returns at guard. He is a battle-tested veteran.

Spencer Jarrett (6-0, 265) is a rising sophomore. The talented tackle went down early last year with a season-ending injury. His return is a major boost to the unit.

Mathen Decker (5-5, 240) will anchor the line at center. He is a junior letter-winner.

Logan Rutter (5-11, 275) brings nice size to the Blue O-line. Deem says the junior “has been impressive” so far in the preseason.

A trio of freshmen are competing for the final starting berth. They are Toby Otto (6-1, 230), Garrett Schafer (5-10, 210) and Tyler Craig (5-10, 210). Regardless of who starts, all three will see action.

Deem has opted to switch to a four-man front defensively to take advantage of the squad’s athleticism.

The Blue Devils will have a solid three-man rotation at end. Jarrett, Hill and Decker will share time at terminal.

Schafer will open at one tackle with Rutter, Otto and Craig will all see duty at the other slot.

Brown and Milosavljevic are pair of active inside linebackers. Beisel and Moore will handle the outside ‘backer slots.

Stephen, Davis and Yingling are vying for the two cornerback starting assignments. Phillips is a top-flight safety.

Deem says the kicking situation is “a work in progress.”

The Beallsville coaching staff includes Rick Jarrett, Bob Daugherty, Rodney Schneider, Ken Darby and Mark Shaffer.

The Blue Devils launch their regular-season campaign on the road, facing Bishop Rosecrans. Beallsville will enjoy three successive home games — Clay-Battelle, Hundred and Madonna.

“We have hard-nosed kids who will play 48 minutes.

“These juniors have been with me for three years now. They know what is expected,” Deem said. “We have to get out of survival mode. It is time for us to step up and compete.

“The schedule is much more conducive and our kids have worked hard all year long,” he added. “Our first goal is to get our first first down in our first game.”

(all games begin at 7 p.m.)

Aug. 25 — at Rosecrans

Sept. 1 — Clay-Battelle

Sept. 8 — Hundred

Sept. 15 — Madonna

Sept. 23 — at Linsly, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 29 — at Bridgeport

Oct. 6 — Hannan

Oct. 13 — at Conotton Valley

Oct. 20 — at Cameron

Oct. 27 — Paden City


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