Skip to content

Potosi simplifies system amid numerous changes

POTOSI – Upon returning home to guide the Potosi football program, Dylan Wyrick seized an instant opportunity to open up a longstanding deliberate offense.

Three years later, the departure of a talented and sizable graduating class has forced the head coach to reshuffle his lineup and get back to basics.

The Trojans showcased the entirety of their speed only temporarily last season, as numerous injuries in early weeks brought an imperative priority to fortify the trenches.

Two premier threats in the backfield before the necessary changes, J.T. Cross and Zane West, willingly ceded their expected carries to fill crucial blocking vacancies as guards.

J.T. Cross

The resulting domino effect made Potosi much younger at key positions, but the strong throwing arm of three-year starting quarterback Blake Coleman helped to compensate.

While the team appears much healthier heading into the 2023 opener against St. Clair, the offensive line must work through collective inexperience and likely size disadvantages.

Potosi has shifted some of its fastest players to different spots on the field in the interest of maximizing their touches within a less risky ground attack.

The unselfish attitudes shown by current and former teammates provide an example for how to handle an imminent rebuilding situation as patience is tested.

“You just never know where you’ll have to plug a kid in,” Wyrick said. “As a coaching staff, you zoom out and look at what’s going to make our team the most balanced on both sides of the ball.

“You want to have your best 11 guys on the field somehow, and sometimes, guys have to play a position they are not used to. But we have not had any issues or any kids complain about anything.”

Cross is primed for a solid senior campaign in a return to running back, and also maintains a primary role on defense at either a linebacker or interior tackle spot.

The added presence on the ground should relieve some pressure on tailback Noah Walton, who led the team in rushing yards during his freshman debut.

Noah Walton

Walton later compiled 124 yards during a 53-31 victory over St. Charles West that stood as a highlight and timely confidence boost within an otherwise difficult 3-7 season for the Trojans.

“We moved J.T. and Zane to the line for the Ste. Gen. game, and lost a really tough one. It really came down to special teams, and we were driven back by some late penalties,” Wyrick said.

“But we played them tough, and earlier on that night, we moved the ball pretty well. It fired our guys up and they saw how those changes made us better. And then when we beat St. Charles West the following week, it showed everybody the importance of being a team player.”

Luke Brabham, like Cross and senior receiver Landon Sprous, is a track sprinter during the spring. He caught three touchdown passes last fall as a deep threat against Fredericktown.

But Potosi entered the offseason needing a new quarterback. Brabham, who also handles the kicking task on special teams, has been tapped to replace Coleman.

Luke Brabham

“He can run well, and has picked up the position pretty well,” Wyrick said. “For never having played quarterback before, and trying to do it your senior year as a third-year football player, he is leaps and bounds ahead of where most kids would be in his situation. We’re pleased with his progress.”

Brabham will direct an attack featuring two or three backs in a typical formation, and may only be asked to throw a few times during a given contest.

Sprous becomes a top receiving threat after Gavin Portell compiled more than 900 yards in consecutive seasons. Thomas Lambing and freshman tight end Karsen Boyer may also be targeted.

Disciplined blocking will be a crucial factor for success. Ean Eaton, the lone varsity starter returning to the offensive line, anchors the group as the projected left tackle.

Ean Eaton

Michael Chavosky mans the right tackle spot with double tight ends often bolstering the front. Crockett Griffin will play center between older brother Draven Griffin and fellow guard Cole Fowler.

Several of those newcomers will also see action on the defensive line and learn as they go. Proper pad level and leverage at the point of attack are receiving heavy emphasis in practice.

“If we get driven off the ball, then we’ll have problems,” Wyrick said. “That just comes with experience and doing things over and over until they have it down.”

Lambing was a defensive standout last season, moving between safety and outside linebacker, and ranked second on the squad in total tackles.

Thomas Lambing

Walton and Lambing have exhibited solid pass coverage in isolation, and are joined by two promising freshmen – Carter Pyatt and Boyer – in the starting secondary.

The youth movement may be further expedited if Potosi deals with a similar frequency of injuries, but only a few positions have sufficient depth.

Jude Litton will begin his sophomore season as the back-up quarterback, but has pushed Brabham for a larger role. Clayton Richards can play in a slot or backfield.

Only the hosting duties will change in the second year of the current scheduling cycle. Six of the nine upcoming opponents for the Trojans won at least eight games last year, including conference rivals Central, Valle Catholic and Ste. Genevieve.

“We face a tough schedule and are mostly inexperienced, so it’s important to take things one moment at a time,” Wyrick said. “Coaches can reiterate to players how important it is to do their assignments to the best of their ability. We can’t ask for much more.”

2023 Schedule:

Aug. 25 – at St. Clair

Sept. 1 – Farmington

Sept. 8 – Central*

Sept. 15 – at Valle Catholic*

Sept. 22 – at Fredericktown*

Sept. 29 – Ste. Genevieve*

Oct. 6 – at St. Charles West

Oct. 13 – North County

Oct. 20 – at Cape Central

Leave a Comment