2013 Season Preview
Last year the QB position was a problem for the Rams. Injuries were the cause. The Rams went through six QB’s in 2012. More correctly, the Rams had six players in the QB position. In the end, snaps were going to players who had never taken one before. Because of that, the offense struggled. This year Senior Dylan Larkin is back and healthy and that’s a big plus. Sophomore Nick Williamoski who was pressed into duty last year because of those injury problems will be the back-up. Two seniors are at the wide receiver positions, Brad Mertz and Colton Appleman who played tight end last year. Appleman was the leading receiver for the Rams last year. Colt Longenberger, who played tackle last year, will be moved to tight end. Longenberger is 6’4” and 240 pounds and Coach Mark Varner says he should make a nice target for Larkin. The Rams will run a mostly pro style offense and run more than pass. At fullback it’ll be junior Nick Kocan doing much of the work. Coach Varner likes the fact that besides having good speed Kocan can catch the ball out of the backfield. Junior Chris Zanolini will be at tailback. Zanolini is fast but his best attribute may be his quickness turning the corner.
Trying to avoid a depleted roster because of injuries, Coach Varner wants to have as many players as possible play on only offense or defense. When a player who goes both ways gets hurt, Varner says it’s really like losing two players. That’s easier said than done in high school football. Varner hopes he’ll only have about four or five players going both ways this year. There is experience on the line with seniors Colton Appleman and Conner Johnson as defensive ends. Johnson will be a one way player. All of the secondary will be made up of one way players and they are all underclassmen. Varner says defensively he expects his team to be very aggressive because of what he’s seen in practice. He also understands with young players that aggressiveness may mean more mistakes. But the coach says you can’t get too angry with those types of miscues.
The punting position is open for the Rams. Last year Dylan Larkin was the punter until he was injured. Then it seemed like every new punter, like the QB position, ended up with an injury. There were about as many injuries to Ram punters as their QB’s. The place kicker this year will be either sophomore Nick Young or Colt Longenberger. Having said that, Coach Varner will probably try a two-point conversion most of the time. He says even if you make it half the time it’s the same as making 100% of kicks, and most high schools don’t make them all. Returning kicks will be Chris Zanolini and Nick Kocan. Considering their speed, that could turn out to be an exciting part of the Vo Tech game.
Last year the Rams missed the playoffs for the first time in six years. This year they hope to start another string of playoff years. It was the injury bug that crippled Vo Tech in 2012. They started the year with three QB’s on the roster but had to go six deep. Hopefully that has passed and if the Rams stay healthy they should be much-improved over last year. The coach likes his team this year. Going position by position he sees improvement across the board.