By David Fong
CASSTOWN — Rather than curse the darkness, Max Current would rather embrace the light.
So instead of focusing on what his team lost — the only senior class in school history to go to the playoffs four years in a row — to graduation, the Miami East coach will instead focus on what he has coming back this season.
“I don’t really worry about the guys the guys we lost — they aren’t here anymore,” Current said. “It’s not that I don’t care about those guys, because I do. I wish them luck in whatever they do. But my focus needs to be on the guys who are still here.”
So yes, while Miami East did graduate a class of seniors that was able to accomplish what no class before them had ever done in Viking history, Current is ready to turn to the future to continue the program’s legacy.
“That’s the thing about high school sports; you graduate kids every year. Now it’s the next class’ turn. It’s their time. Hopefully they learned from what the previous senior classes did — how things are supposed to be done. Now they have to keep that tradition going. They don’t want to be the ones to lose the streak.”
On offense, most of Miami East’s returning experience is along the offensive line, while nearly all of the skill position players will be either completely new or relatively inexperienced.
Three starters do return along the offensive line. Sophomore Brenden Dalton started last year as a freshman and returns at one tackle spot. At the other tackle will be senior Dakota Brown, also a returning starter. At the guard spots will be senior Omar Seleme, a starter last season, and senior Jakob Groover. Battling it out for the center position are senior Gunnar Gearhart and sophomore Caleb Snyder.
Sophomore Ian Gengler took control of the starting quarterback position during the preseason.
At running back will be senior Arron Adams, who rushed for 700 yards last season despite sharing carries with Logan May and Kurt Brower, both of whom have since graduated. Current said he’ll have an expanded role in the offense this season. At fullback will be senior Levi Adducchio, who takes over for Brower.
“He’s looked good,” Current said of Adducchio. “He’s looked faster. He’s more of a quick, speed back.”
Current has a number of options at wingback, including sophomore Justin Brown, who saw playing time last year as a freshman and sophomore Colt Frazier, who also lettered last year. Sophomore Vincent Villella also will see time in the backfield.
The wide receiver position will be wide open, with sophomore Joseph Villella, senior Colton Kowlak, junior Alex Dinardo and sophomore Blaine Brockschmidt all battling it out for playing time. At tight end will be sophomore Matt Welker and sophomore Michael Miller.
On defense, seven of Miami East’s front eight will be first-year starters.
At the defensive ends will be Brown and Gearhart, while Seleme, Dalton and sophomore Lance Rohrbach will play at the defensive tackle spots.
“Pretty much all of those guys are also starters on our offensive line,” Current said. “We’ve got to find some more guys we trust to put in the game and give those guys a blow on defense.”
Outiside linebacker Adduchio is the only returning starter in East’s front eight. Frazier and Groover will play the other outside linebacker spot. Groover, Vincent Villella and sophomore Cody Smith all could play at the two inside linebacker positions.
Adams started at cornerback last season and will be back there again this year. At the other corner will be either Joseph Villella or Dinardo. Justin Brown, senior Bryce Rettig, Brokschmidt and Jacob Brown all could play at free safety.
“This is an opportunity for some new guys to step in and leave their own legacy,” Current said.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong