Brunswick High School football helmet / Image courtesy Brunswick head coach Luke Beal
The Brunswick High School varsity football team opened its 2012 preseason looking to fill voids along its offensive and defensive lines. The Blue Devils did just that, and behind the athletic ability and strong leadership of a large senior class, posted a 7-3 record.
Flash ahead almost exactly one year and the script is now flipped.
Brunswick - which returns four starters on offense and defense - now features a strong, experienced group of linemen, and fourth-year head coach Luke Beal is now hoping some relatively untested players will be able to step up and fill vacated skill position starting spots.
"We are replacing our entire (offensive) backfield," Beal said. "It will be interesting to see how our new faces perform at those positions."
Two such players to watch are junior quarterback Steven Ficyk and senior tailback Chase Rieg.
Ficyk saw limited varsity action during an injury-shortened sophomore season.
"He has a strong arm and great instincts," Beal said. "He is projected to be our starter and has outstanding potential as a quarterback."
Beal has similar confidence in Rieg, stating he showed tremendous potential in his limited playing time last fall.
While the spotlight will shine brightest on those two playmakers when the Blue Devils have the ball early in the season, Beal has stressed to his team throughout the preseason the importance of every player taking advantage of each opportunity to improve during every practice session.
"We play a difficult schedule, so we try to work hard every day to prepare for that," Beal said in reference to the team's nonconference opponents and Northeast Ohio Conference foes. "We focus on doing our best to prepare today; one day at a time, one game at a time."
Coinciding with their coach's message, the Blue Devils' mantra for the upcoming season is "next play."
Brunswick's defense is expected to be led by senior linemen Justin Boey and Tyler Laffin and free safeties David Kelty and Adam Weber.
As is the case almost every year for every squad, Beal said the team's seniors will set the tone for the season and will all be counted on to lead the squad.
"We have a close-knit group of seniors who have shown great leadership during the offseason," the 41-year-old head coach.
Beal is not concerned that this year's team doesn't feature a lot of big-name players or top-level college prospects
"This is a solid, hard-working group with what appears to be great team chemistry, so we are excited about the 2013 campaign," Beal said.
Brunswick begins the season on the road at Medina on Aug. 30 and begins its home schedule a week later against Padua Franciscan.
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