2012 in review: There’s been a lot of change to Eddie Souk’s coaching career in recent years. In 2011, he began his first season away from Mount Hope, which closed its doors that spring and sent all its students to Souk’s new digs at Oak Hill.
Last year, the Red Devils played their first season in Class AAA. It was Souk’s first season at the state’s highest classification, and the run was successful. Oak Hill went 7-3 in the regular season and qualified for the state playoffs.
The Red Devils lost to Cabell Midland in the first round, but it was a landmark season for Oak Hill. It also served as a learning experience.
“You’ve got to have depth,” Souk said. “That’s the biggest difference I see (between AAA and the other classifications).”
The Red Devils lost a tackle and their center from the offensive line off last year’s team. That opens competition that Souk feels is valuable to the team.
“It gives you an opportunity to have some challenges for those positions,” Souk said. “The kids work hard to take over those positions.”
Who’s back: Senior halfback Jalen Jones will get the headlines, but Souk is quick to point out that there would be no running game without an offensive line.
“It all starts up front,” Souk said.
Seniors Seth Keith and Robert Kees are returning guards, while another senior, Kristian Brash, returns at one of the tackle positions.
“They have stepped up and been the team leaders we want up front,” Souk said.
Hidden gems: Jones, a 2,000-yard rusher last season, will be the featured back. But Souk looks for any of the other backs — Jarrell Green, Dakota Miller, Antonio Gray, K.K. Goodman, Tyler Painter or Antwon Smith — to have big years alongside Jones.
“All of them can play. We don’t see much of a (dropoff) with any of them,” Souk said. “Our backfield is interchangeable. I know everybody will be looking at Jalen Jones and what he does, but we are able to counter that and open a lot of different avenues for these kids.”
Putting points on the board: With Oak Hill’s move up to Class AAA, statewide attention to Jones skyrocketed. He responded to the pressure by rushing for 2,194 yards on 205 carries — 10.7 yards per tote — and 27 touchdowns.
But, as Souk said, there are several other running options for opponents to deal with. So many that it has forced Souk into a slight change in offensive philosophy.
“We are switching from the wishbone to the wing-T this year,” he said.
Goodman was second on the team in rushing last season with 767 yards and nine touchdowns and will start with Jones. Green, who ran for 222 yards and four scores last year, and Miller (108 yards) will rotate in.
Painter had 75 yards and a touchdown last season.
Smith leads six players who are getting preseason reps at fullback.
“That will pay big dividends with depth,” Souk said. “Hopefully we can develop that.”
Sophomore Deonte Scruggs takes over as the starting quarterback.
“He has thrown well and he listens well,” Souk said.
Noah Miller, also a sophomore, will be Scruggs’ backup.
“Both of them have had a good battle in camp,” Souk said. “Deonte is a little taller.
“We’re moving Noah around to tight end to take advantage of his athleticism. You can’t let your athletes sit on the sideline.”
Joining Miller as a tight end will be junior Joey Re. The split ends will be juniors Jacob Ashcraft and Marc Logan.
Up front, senior Charlie Carter will move into the starting role at the other tackle spot, while another senior, Kaleb Pietoski, will be the center.
Junior Jacob Lafferty will see action at guard and center, while junior Derrick Outterbridge has been getting practice reps at guard and tackle.
Making stops: Painter and Green will be the rovers in Oak Hill’s base defense.
Carter and Smith will be joined up front by sophomore Tate Wykle.
Linebackers will be Lafferty and Keith, as well as Noah Miller, who could also see time at rover.
In the secondary, Dakota Miller and Goodman will be the cornerbacks. Gray will be at free safety, and Ashcraft will see time at rover and corner.
Standing in the way: Anyone who knows Souk knows he won’t single out any one game as more important than another.
“They are all key,” Souk said.
But the first two games of the season could ultimately prove to be the most important. The Red Devils open the season against Elkins, then take on Musselman in Week 2.
Both games are on the road, followed by an open week.
“We just want to get off to a good start,” Souk said.
What’s in store: The goal for Oak Hill is no different than it is for any other team — get into the playoffs, play as well as possible and hopefully play for a state championship.
“I don’t think any coach in the state of West Virginia goes in thinking they are going to lose,” Souk said. “It’s going to take effort from all the kids as one. We always preach that they’ve got to do their jobs. Take care of your job first, then if you can help somewhere else go do that.”
— E-mail: gfauber@
No. Pos. Name Gr. Ht. Wt.
2 QB Tyler Sagraves Sr. 5-9 165
3 WR Jacob Jones Jr. 5-10 135
4 WR William McCabe Sr. 5-11 150
5 WR Matt Dodrill Sr. 5-5 130
6 RB Jimmy Pritt Fr. 5-7 130
7 RB Adam Lucas Sr. 5-5 230
8 QB Jacob Hopkins Jr. 5-10 140
9 WR Wade Leggett Sr. 6-1 170
10 RB John Isabell Sr. 5-9 170
11 WR Dusty Martin Jr. 5-7 135
12 QB Tate Mayes Fr. 6-0 185
15 WR Jax Sigler Jr. 5-7 145
16 WR Quinten Moore Fr. 5-6 115
17 WR Eric Castle Fr. 5-9 130
18 WR Brandon McClung Sr. 5-7 135
19 WR Joe Amendola Sr. 5-9 160
20 WR Luke Bostic Fr. 5-7 140
21 WR Jared Price Sr. 6-0 160
22 RB Daniel Proctor Sr. 5-10 175
23 RB Andrew Woods Sr. 5-10 170
24 RB Noah Bibb So. 5-5 175
25 RB Jacob Coffman So. 5-4 125
27 RB Austin Riffle So. 5-9 135
30 RB Matt Moore So. 5-8 155
31 WR Tyler Hamrick Jr. 5-5 130
32 RB Josh Jarvis Jr. 5-10 200
34 RB Caleb Keyes Fr. 5-7 155
35 RB Wil Mayes Jr. 5-11 190
37 TE Zach McComas Jr. 5-9 215
38 RB Caleb Simms Jr. 5-8 205
39 TE Hunter Jones Fr. 5-9 170
40 WR Ryan Belmont Fr. 5-5 130
41 TE Troy Jackson Jr. 5-11 170
43 TE Josh Gregory Sr. 6-3 240
44 WR Tristan Sebert Fr. 5-2 105
45 RB Trey Malcolm Jr. 5-6 135
47 RB Christian Baisden Sr. 5-9 175
50 OL Wil Lemasters Sr. 5-10 200
53 OL Cody Canterbury Sr. 5-7 190
55 OL Ozan Ozbecker Fr. 5-6 220
56 OL Cord Hayhurst Jr. 6-4 345
59 OL Drew Hicks Sr. 5-8 215
61 OL Sebastian McClease So. 5-10 260
62 OL Drew Amick Jr. 5-10 220
64 OL Logan Cole Fr. 5'7 145
65 OL Luke Harris So. 5-9 225
66 OL Colton Dennison Fr. 5'8 185
69 OL L.J. Molisee So. 6-1 365
71 OL J.B. Keene Jr. 5-10 270
72 OL Brandon Jones Jr. 6-0 225
74 OL Brandon Miller Fr. 5-8 295
75 OL Chris Wyre Fr. 5-9 200
76 OL Justin Woods Jr. 5'10 230
77 OL Cameron Woods Sr. 6-1 200
78 OL Hunter Coleman Sr. 5-11 275
79 OL Austin Hill Sr. 6-2 270
81 WR Oliver Amick Fr. 5'10 135
82 RB Tyler Martin Fr. 5-4 120
89 WR Troy Williams So. 5-11 135
Aug 30 Greenbrier West H
Sept 6 Poca A
Sept 13 East Fairmont H
Sept 20 Oak Hill A
Sept 27 Clay County A
Oct 4 Robert C. Byrd H
Oct 11 Webster County A
Oct 18 Lincoln County A
Oct 25 River View H
Nov 1 Open
Nov 8 Richwood H