Last Year: 10-2 (7-0, SLL)
Forecast: If their backyard rivals the rebuilding, rookie Woodmore Wildcats and head coach Lou Bosh can most be likened to a jumbled-up jigsaw puzzle rapidly scrambling to find the right, workable pieces heading into 2008, then the seasoned and stacked Genoa Comets must be as close to a polished, finished product as one can get, with lots of nice pieces even refreshingly still left over in the box, which is a good problem for second-year head coach Mike Vicars.
Vicars believes the mighty maroon and gray might be an even scarier puzzle for the other seven Suburban Lakes League teams to try to solve come Friday nights, than they were in 2007.
“Yeah, we’ve got some numbers right now, and I think part of the biggest challenge we’re going to be facing is trying to keep all of these kids happy, and focused,” offers Coach Vicars.
As the architect of last year’s championship squad, first-ever spot in the playoffs, and a second-round appearance against arch-rival Eastwood, welcome Genoa’s brand-new football sheriff to town.
“The number of guys who could potentially play for us right now, it’s just going to be hard to play them all, because we’re looking at possibly 26 guys off of our roster of 43 men grades 10 thru 12, who could contribute for us, and contribute for us well on Friday nights,” he elaborates, “but what’s really been fun
and interesting for us this summer, is that our sophomore class is just really a solid group of kids who have come in and pushed our older guys to be better. No, they might not be winning any jobs yet, but they almost did, and we have no doubt they’ll do a good job for us on the JV team, if we need any of them to step in, and in helping our older guys to prepare throughout the week.”
Second-year starting quarterback Matt Bassitt threw approximately 700 yards passing and 10 touchdowns as a then-rookie signal caller on a team who mostly rode the coat tails of former First- Team All-SLL, All-Ohio running back Derrick “the Diesel” Vicars.
Surrounding Bassitt in the backfield are 5-8, 175 senior Blair Skilliter at one halfback, the 6-1, 210 senior and Second-Team All-SLL battering ram Marcus Vicars at fullback, and 5-11, 170 junior and fellow 2007 Second-Team All-SLL running back Connor Wendt at the other half. Seth Dufendock (6-0, 170 Jr.) and
Alex Eckel (5-9, 170 Jr.) are thrown in at fullback, and newcomer and Lake transfer Greg Hillebrand (5-8, 185 Jr.) at halfback from time to time.
Throw in a solid corps of wide receivers in 6-0, 170 senior Zack Apel, 5-11, 170 senior Beau Lamb, and Hillebrand— none of whom played football in theGenoa system last year. At tight end, skyscraper 6-8, 225 junior Richard Wonnell only adds to the receiving corps.
The offensive line, which graduated some size, hopes to pick up where it left off in 5-11, 215 senior Bryce Humbarger, 5-9, 180 senior Zach Purney, and 6-0, 225 junior Kody Vincent, along with proven commodities like Second-Team All-SLL senior guard Jake Murphy (5-9, 185) and 6-1, 190 senior Ryan Bless, the latter of whom moves up from the fullback position this year to a vacancy at offensive tackle.
Bless also returns to his position along the Comets’ defensive line, where he garnered All-Ohio Special-Mention accolades for his play in 2007. He will be joined by Second-Team All-District defensive back Wendt, and missle-guided linebackers in Skilliter and Vicars, as well as newcomers showing some flashes
of brilliance in Hillebrand and Casey Wojciechowski (So.) at defensive tackles, Justin Upham (So.) at nose guard, and capable junior Scott Traver at safety.
First-Team All-SLL specialist Skilliter will also look to ignite the members of Comet Nation lining the perimeter of Genoa Comets Stadium this fall again, when he gets his hands on the pigskin as a punt and kick returner.