NORTH LEWISBURG – Longtime Triad football coach Payton Printz left recently to become an assistant at Minster, and it seems only appropriate that the school hired a true Cardinal to replace him.
Joe Cardinal takes the Cardinals’ reins after a successful assistant-coaching stint in Tennessee, and he said he likes what he has seen of his new team so far.
“Things are going great,” he said. “We have a ton of high-character players, and that has made the transition easier. We’ve played hard in scrimmages and our kids have really swarmed to the ball.”
Triad has a lot of returning lettermen, but not many of them were “skill” position players last year.
Returners include Cameron Boes, Briley Harlan, Chris Hinkle, Harley Huffman, Josiah Leasure, Michael Leistritz, Riley Louck, Derek McCall, Colby McConnell, Quentin Perry, Dylan Rice, Devin Swiatek and Dylan Warner.
Prospective starters on the offensive line include Hinkle, Louck, McConnell and Perry with Leasure, Leistritz and Swiatek vying for playing time.
Harlan will be the quarterback, with Isaiah Bruce, McCall and Rice in the backfield. Jordan Simonelli will also vie for playing time at running back.
Starters at wide receiver will include Boes, Ian Crabtree, Logan McCoy and Simonelli.
“We need to limit turnovers and mental mistakes on offense,” said Cardinal.
Starters on defense will include Hinkle, Leasure and Evan Matthews on the line; Louck, McConnell, Perry and Simonelli at linebacker and Bruce, Harlan, McCall and McCoy in the backfield.
Eli Carson and Rice will also be vying for playing time in the defensive backfield.
“We need to be ready to read our keys and be fundamentally sound on defense,” said Cardinal, who believes that Mechanicsburg is the team to beat in the Ohio Heritage Conference this season.
Triad opens the season Friday night by hosting Indian Lake.
Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @udcstout