Usually a 1-7 season holds a program back from strengthening its future.
But in Skowhegan’s 1-7 season in 2010, there were some silver linings. Several Indian underclassmen were able to get significant playing time, and with the whole backfield and a number of others graduated, those underclassmen have a golden opportunity to step up in 2011 and use their experience from last year.
“We’re pretty excited for this season,” senior quarterback Ethan Johnson said. “We are a young and small team but a lot of our young guys have varsity experience, so we know what to expect.”
“We may be undersized, but we have a lot of speed this year, more so than any other year I’ve been here,” Johnson added.
Skowhegan plans to use its youth, athleticism and speed with a mix of throwing and running plays in the double-wing offense, and Johnson has options at every angle of the field.
“We feel like we have a good mix of athletes and we’re pretty solid at every position,” head coach Mike Marston said.
Johnson spoke highly of the Indians offensive line, which has significant size and can knock opponents off the ball to allow the fullback and wingbacks to get around the corner or drive up the middle and use their speed.
Senior fullback Jacob Weese is the anchor of the double-wing, performing the blocking duties for junior wingback Tyler Savage and sophomore wingback Ben Salley or senior Adam Dusty, or for Johnson if he decides to keep the ball, which is a viable option at any time.
Senior tight ends Justin Grant and C.J. Kruse provide Johnson with agile and athletic targets to throw to on double-wing passing options.
The enthusiasm the Indians have about their team’s skill is shared in their team unity, which is more closely knit than past seasons.
“We have a good feeling about this year’s team. Everyone’s attitudes are great and the team is so much closer than last year,” said senior guard and linebacker Alex Baker.
As far as how Skowhegan matches up with competition in the Class A PTC, visions are shared and the Indians are optimistic.
“The conference is always good, and we’re still young, but we feel like we can compete if we stay focused and have that will to win,” Marston said. “Every year our goal is to make the playoffs and we’re going to take one game at a time to get there.”
2010 results: 1-7
Head coach: Mike Marston, eighth year
Key players: Ethan Johnson, QB, Sr.; Justin Grant, TE, Sr.; Zach Witham, G, Sr.; C.J. Kruse, TE, Sr; Adam Dusty, RB, Sr.; A.J. Dixon, DL, Sr; Tyler Savage, FB, Jr.; Alex Baker, G-LB, Jr.; Ben Salley, RB, So.
Outlook: The experienced Indians look to rebound from the 2010 season with a mix of athletic veterans and underclassmen whom are all playmakers. They are well balanced at every position on both sides of the ball, and can burn opponents on the ground or through the air with Johnson’s strong throwing arm and football IQ. Skowhegan faces a tough challenge in the middle of its schedule as it plays annual powers Messalonskee, Lewiston, and Lawrence in consecutive weeks, and then finishes its regular season taking on defending Eastern Maine Champion Bangor.