The Urbana High School football team has suffered through some down seasons the past few years, and new head coach Carleton Cotner would like to turn the squad’s fortunes around.
“We have had a really good fall camp,” said Cotner. “Our scrimmages have gone well. I really like this team and their work ethic.”
Those expected to be key contributors on offense include QB – Jr. Preston Shields; RBs – Jr. Nic Dorsey, Jr. Ezra Lee; FB – Sr. Adam Gaver; Slot/Wing – Sr. Logan Rooney and Sr. Kaleb Bowdle; WRs – Sr. Devin Trent, Jr. Max Niswonger, So. Marion Krebehenne, So. Logan Johnson; Tackles – Sr. Bailey Ullah, Fr. Dylan Johnson, Jr. Dalton Sexton, Jr. Ezra Lynxwiler; Guards – Sr. Ely Louck, Sr. Luis Ramirez, Jr. Dalton Sexton; Center – So. Austin Fisher and TEs – Sr. Brandon Vogel, Sr. Damian Williams.
“Preston Shields and Nic Dorsey have emerged as real play-makers,” said Cotner. “Max Niswonger has been limited because he is returning from an injury but has looked explosive. Ezra Lee is another one returning from an injury but has looked good running the ball and has excelled on defense. Our offensive line has been a work in progress but every day I see that group gelling together and getting better.”
Those expected to be key contributors on defense includ DEs – Sr. Ullah and Vogel, Jr. Noah Robinson, Fr D. Johnson; DTs – Jr. Issac Craft, Fr. Fisher, Jr. Robinson, Sr. Louck; Inside LBs – Sr. Gaver, Ramirez, Bowdle, Williams; Outside LBs – Sr. Trent, Jr. Lee; Defensive backs – Jr. Niswonger, Dorsey, Sr. Rooney, So. Nolan Smith, Krebehenne, L. Johnson
“On defense, our D-Line has a chance to be dominant,” said Cotner. “While under-sized, they are quick and explosive. We will be a pressure defense to take advantage of our speed. I really like our corner play. Logan Rooney and Max Niswonger are really good. Devin Trent and Ezra Lee have done a great job of setting the edge for us and playing very physical.
“Our players want to be good and carry on the great tradition of Urbana football,” he added. “The seniors have done a great job of helping us to establish a culture of toughness and unselfishness, Our staff has done a good job in building relationships with the kids and giving them positive feedback on every rep. I am concerned about our depth. We only have 34 players at this time so we have to limit the hitting we do in practice. Staying injury-free will be huge.”
Cotner said he is looking forward to the race for the CBC/MRD title.
“I think that in the CBC, obviously, Indian Lake has to be considered the favorite,” he said. “They lost a lot from last year but still have some guys left over that know how to win. Graham is a rivalry game for us and they have a new coach so I know that they will be excited. Northwestern has a new coach, as well.”
The Hillclimbers open the season by hosting London in non-league action tonight.