SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – The numbers playing football in Cosmo-town are good. That’s the most important thing. First year coach, Todd Aiken, is still looking for more to join the group. Ready or not, Springfield’s opener comes Friday night at Brown Field at 7 p.m. hosting Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax. Both teams have plenty of question marks, which makes for an intriguing backdrop for this one.
Aiken’s first team scrimmaged well last week at Fall Mountain. The starting cast still had battles to be won at press time, but Aiken said this is how the group will likely line up in the opener with a freshman calling the signals, and a freshman backing up the quarterback position.
Sam Presch showed some strong play in the team’s only practice scrimmage and appears to be the man of both the present and the future at quarterback. In an interesting twist, freshman Garet Twombly is the back up at the position.
Junior Jacob Stepler will be the team’s starting tailback with sophomore Donavan Sprano running behind him. The fullback for Aiken’s team is expected to be junior Ryan Kirker, and senior Bryson Jester will also see time there. When the team employs a slotback, Jester will man that spot.
The remaining offensive players in skill positions are the receivers. Sometimes Springfield will present two wide receivers, and when they utilize a slotback, they will just use one. Junior Noah Zierfus is expected to be the team’s top wideout with junior Anthony Steele, junior Brandon Bennett, and junior Kaleb Chambers also contributing. The starting tight end is Chambers with freshman Chris Stearns backing him up.
Obviously, the key to whether these skill position athletes have a chance to find success depends upon the effectiveness of the offensive line. Springfield will line up junior Francis Stafford over the ball, backed up by freshman Aidan Donahue, junior Greg Otis. Freshman Caleb Roby will be at the guards with junior Lucas Legasse and senior Deacon Watson at the tackle positions. The reserves at those line positions are junior Daniel Hill and junior Erik Jaime.
Defensively, Otis and Watson will be the ends with Jaime and Stafford at the tackles. When those players need spelling, Legasse and Hill will provide the depth. This year’s linebackers are Stepler, Kirker, Jester, and Chambers with help if needed by Stearns, freshman Max Weise, and freshman Quinton Andrews. The defensive backfield is expected to be made up of Zierfus, Steele, and Stearns with Jeffers, freshman Dylan Hunter, and sophomore Matt Martel providing support.
The biggest question is how long it will take for this group to become stabilized and find their potential. The overwhelming bad news is that there are a lot of important holes to be filled because of graduation. The remarkably good news is the overwhelming number of underclassmen that make up the roster, which means that when they settle in these Cosmos will be there for a while.
Aiken says, “This is a team which will develop every day. These athletes are really excited to play football and instill a tradition in our program.”
Ready or not, BFA is waiting. Sometime in the days ahead, the grass is expected to be greener, and not just because these Cosmos’ green uniforms.