BEAVER FALLS — After finishing last season a game away from the Section 3 Class D finals in the Carrier Dome, the Beavers enter 2019 with a similar roster.
One glaring difference is the loss of Colin Noftsier at running back. Coach Matt Lyndaker expects to fill that role with a platoon of players, starting with seniors Nicholas and Nathaniel Erker.
“Both of the Erkers they’ve been on varsity since ninth grade so they know the offense and everything,” Lyndaker said. “They’ll be splitting the carries I think, Noah Zehr can fill in back there, too.”
Lyndaker is fine with playing a handful of guys at the position instead of one player emerging as a true starter.
“We have a lot of amazing running backs,” Nathaniel Erker said. “I really hope coach rotates all of us. So, like we’ll run two plays, rotate and get a break and then go back in. But if our line keeps their game up and backs read their butt and get the cut right, we should be amazing.”
Along with his brother, Nathaniel Erker anticipates Justin Sage and Connor Edick getting time at running back.
So many running backs has sparked some competition among the players at the position.
“I feel like we have a lot of competition just on our team alone, our running backs alone, we push ourselves, we end up pushing ourselves hard enough where we actually almost kick someone off the team because we just want the spot,” Nicholas Erker said. “It’s a fun sport and all, we have a lot of running backs, we’re fast we’re quick, but it’s the same thing, we’re all different.”
The offensive line focused on creating space for the platoon of backs is fresh squad after a few members graduated after last season. Senior Collin Edick is taking it upon himself to get them into shape and ready to contribute.
“I think we’re going to be really good this year,” Edick said. “We lost a lot of people last year and we have a lot of new incoming kids coming but I think we’ll be really strong this year.”
Edick said one of the biggest things the new guys on the line are learning are their stances and footing.
Quarterback Sam Bush will fill out the backfield. Now in his junior year and his second year as starting quarterback, Bush is feeling a lot more comfortable. He’ll also have another target. Noah Zehr’s 2018 season ended after he broke his collar bone in week three against South Jefferson.
While 2018 was a lost season from a statistical standpoint, Zehr continued to learn while on the sideline.
“I learned how to be a leader, those seniors were really great leaders and great guys to learn from,” Zehr said. “Losing them is going to hurt us but you have to step up and take that role.”
Beaver River’s season will begin at Waterville on Sept. 6.