BELLVILLE – One of the most versatile football players in north central Ohio kicks it in the Colt Corral, and punts it and passes it and runs it.
Senior Kadin Chrastina (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) returns at quarterback for Clear Fork. Last season he churned out 2,621 yards of total offense while leading the Colts to a 7-3 record, 5-2 and a third-place showing in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.
His presence triggering a dynamic spread offense makes him the most crucial of the seven returning letterwinners, and gives CF a chance in any game.
“(The OCC looks) very competitive,” coach Dave Carroll said. “We feel we can be in the mix of things.”
The Colts lost 12 seniors and four other letterwinners who opted not to play this season. Yet an intriguing mix of youngsters and veterans dot the Clear Fork roster.
Freshman Thomas Staab (5-9, 150) makes his debut at tailback. Starting as a freshman at Clear Fork is a rarity, at tailback even more unusual. But Staab will have experienced company in Chrastina and junior wingback Silas Finley (5-8, 150). Sophomore Mason Buck (5-9, 160) is the other wingback.
Three seniors and two sophomores comprise the offensive line. Left tackle Eric Jackson (6-4, 225), left guard Jonah Albert (5-10, 185) and center Kenny McCartney (6-foot, 185) will show the way for youngsters at right guard Cameron MacWatters (5-9, 190) and right tackle Ricky Thomas (5-10, 210).
“We have good speed,” Carroll said. “We need to play with discipline and heart.”
Clear Fork averaged 30.9 points per game a year ago, but the defense allowed 24.3 points. The Colts hope to offer a more stout unit this fall.
Replacing the disruptive yet departed David Bushong will be a chore on the defensive line. Yet junior Nate Hogey (6-1, 165) is expected to provide pressure from one end spot, while sophomore Camden Robinette (5-10, 160) is stationed on the other side. Jackson, Thomas, Albert and freshman Jacob Bailey (5-10, 210) are vying for time at defensive tackle. Junior Colton Cochran (5-9, 265) is a fireplug at nose tackle.
Junior linebacker Zach Newlon (5-8, 165) pairs with sophomore Jerrod Smith (5-8, 175) at the linebacker posts in a 5-2 alignment.
Finley intercepted three passes last season at cornerback and Chrastina returns at strong safety. Sophomores Dylan Pugh (5-10, 150) and Dillon Smith (6-2, 165) plug the gaps at cornerback and strong safety.
The Colts could start six freshmen or sophomores on offense and five on defense. It could be a learning year, but Clear Fork has a volatile threat in the backfield and budding talent throughout its roster.
Aug. 29 FREDERICKTOWN
Sept. 5 at Ontario
Sept. 12 SHELBY
Sept. 19 MANSFIELD SENIOR
Sept. 26 LEXINGTON
Oct. 3 at Wooster
Oct. 10 at Madison
Oct. 17 ASHLAND
Oct. 24 at Orrville
Oct. 31 at West Holmes
2013 Results (7-3, 5-2)
47 Fredericktown 40
8 ONTARIO 30
40 Shelby 8
0 MANSFIELD SENIOR 40
49 Lexington 21
29 WOOSTER 26
24 MADISON 22
35 Ashland 36
35 ORRVILLE 7
42 WEST HOLMES 13