After a few down years, the Siegel Stars are looking for a bounce-back season and coach Michael Copley is hopeful 2019 can be that season.
Following a 3-7 season in 2018, Siegel returns several starters from a year ago, giving Copley optimism that this season could be more fruitful.
“I really believe this group, from meetings to practice and walkthroughs, they’re mentally engaged and the maturity is at a much better place than it’s been,” he said. “The guys have a mindset that they’re expecting to win. This group has been really exciting because they’re coming to work every day.”
The best thing the Stars have going for them is the return of last year’s starting QB Tucker Sears. Heading into his second year as the starter, Copley expects to see more big plays from Sears, stating his toughness and dual-threat ability are a few of the reasons why the team rallies around him.
“The team plays for Tucker,” Copley said. “He’s got that old-school toughness where he’s willing to take hits and play. When he steps into the huddle, those eyes looking at him believe in him. He’s got a true grasp of the offense and he’s got a lot of responsibility.
“His football IQ is really high and he’s a dual-threat guy. He’s got a phenomenal arm and he really sees the coverage well. He just really allows us to use the whole field.
In addition to Sears’ return, running back Patrick Boykins and receivers Evan Milligan and Ethan Vanhook will also be back in 2019. Copley stated each player has bulked up in the offseason and he expects more big plays from the trio.
“We’re really excited about our offense,” Copley said. “We’re hoping to create more explosive plays. Their ball skills are really good, and they’ve all put on 15-20 pounds and gotten bigger, faster and stronger. Our offensive line is what I’m really excited about. They’ve also gotten bigger and stronger and I’m really excited what I’m seeing out of them in fall camp.”
On the defensive side, Copley said the team’s greatest strength will come from its speed. The game plan is to get to the ball faster to help the defense contain the run.
“I feel like we’ve gotten faster defensively,” Copley said. “Our team speed has gotten better too. Us being able to run around better will help us, but again, it comes back to up front for me.
“Wes Spahn got a lot of playing time last year as a sophomore, Jalen Moody got a lot of playing time as a sophomore, and these guys are growing up and getting stronger. Our box play has to be better than it has been because if we can’t stop the run we’re in for a long night.
“Ethan Vanhook moved from safety to linebacker and put on some muscle to look the part. Ethan Keyser is a big kid with a lot of talent in there. These guys are really able to get to the football and run.”
8/30: at Page
9/6: at Oakland
9/20: Coffee County
9/27: at Warren County
10/25: at Blackman
11/1: at Rockvale