TROY — When Troy Everhart took the Troy football head coaching position after the Trojans finished 6-5 last season, one thing seemed pretty simple.
To go back to the Wing-T offense that the Trojans ran so successfully during their glory years.
“They had outstanding football teams here for 28 years and how did they do it?,” Everhart said. “It is a very unique offense. I am surprised more teams don’t run it.”
With a new system, it has presented challenges.
But, the Trojans continue to improve each day.
Senior Donnie Stanley (6-0, 165) returns at the quarterback position.
Stanley was 42 of 81 passing a year ago for 684 yards and seven touchdowns with two interceptions.
Also competing at quarterback are junior Bobby Rohlfs (5-7, 171) and junior Cameron Stoltz (6-0, 165).
“Donnie (Stanley) has separated himself and will be the starter Friday night (against Dunbar),” Everhart said. “Bobby (Rohlfs) and Cameron (Stoltz) have both done a nice job picking things up as well. Gene Steinke is the quarterbacks coach and he was a quarterback here. He has done a great job with them.”
A lot of guys will see action in the backfield.
Senior Nick Kawecki had 820 yards and five touchdowns on 155 carries a year ago, while junior Jahari Ward (6-0, 215) rushed for 10 touchdowns and 385 yards a year ago on 71 carries.
Also in the backfield will be senior Colin Stoltz (6-0, 170), senior Willie Ritchie (5-7, 150), sophomore Gage Kawecki (5-10, 175) and senior Alex Wheeler (5-10, 165).
“It will be backfield by committee,” Everhart said. “We have some young guys that have done a nice job. If I had 22 Nick Kawecki’s, I would never lose a game. The guy goes at the same speed every play in practice whether he is getting the ball, blocking or on the scout team. He is amazing.”
Troy will use a number of players at the receiver position as well.
“We will be running guys in an out,” Everhart said. “Nobody, has really separated themselves.”
Junior Cameron Allison (5-11, 205) will lead the way at tight end.
Senior Andrew Helman (6-1, 225) and junior Devon Strobel (6-1, 230).
“Cameron (Allison) has really stepped up and put a lot of work in this summer,” Everhart said. “Andrew (Helman) and Devon (Strobel) are primarily defensive players, but it gives us a lot of athleticism at the position.”
The biggest adjustment to the new system probably comes on the offensive line, which is still a work in progress.
“It is a big adjustment for them, to go from blocking in space, to putting their hands in the dirt and knocking guys backwards,” Everhart said. “The thing is they have some great backs to block for. The quarterback and running backs have picked things up pretty quickly. The offensive line is starting to come along.”
The Trojans will look different on defense as well.
“Almost completely different,” Everhart said. “Pursuing the ball and tackling has been a big adjustment.”
Troy will play a 3-4, led by Strobel.
He had 62 tackles, four sacks and four forced fumbles a year ago.
“We will rotate nine guys on the defensive line,” Everhart said. “It is about constant effort. If you don’t give that, you are going to be standing next to coach Stuchell (defensive line coach Nate Stuchell) on the sideline. He is a Trojan and he understands what it is about.”
Helman will lead the linebackers.
“Andrew (Helman) has done a great job of stepping up and taking control of the position,” Everhart said. “He has solidified the position and is taking charge.”
Senior Gaven Burris (5-7, 150) leads the way in the secondary.
“All camp, Gaven Burris is a guy who has worked hard and put all the pieces together,” Everhart said.
Others who will see action back there include sophomore Jayden Hackney (6-0, 150), junior Logan Ullery (5-10, 160), Ritchie, junior Caleb Akins (5-10, 145) and junior Antonio Gonzalez (6-0, 170).
Andrew Helman will handle the kicking and punting duties, but has competition from Cameron Stoltz and senior Tyler Lewis (5-8, 165).
“That is one thing we have stressed at all the positions,” Everhart said. “The competition makes everyone better.”
The Trojans faced a challenging preseason schedule with Cincinnati Princeton and Toledo Central Catholic.
“That’s the idea,” Everhart said. “You want to face good teams in the preseason.”
As for the MVL, the coach is simply focused on his team.
“I haven’t faced any of those teams,” he said. “I have seen them on film from our games last season. I am more concerned about our team and playing to the standard of Troy football — not playing to the level of our opponents. My only thought right now is getting ready for Dunbar Friday night.”
As the Trojans head back to the future on offense, looking for the same kind of success.
You can reach sports editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]