Pigskin Preview 2022 – Line play holds key to Pointers’ success
Published 9:28 am Friday, September 2, 2022
SOUTH POINT — For the South Point Pointers, everything could fall in line if the line stays in line.
It’s no secret that the Pointers offensive and defensive lines are the key to any success this season as long as injuries don’t get in the way.
“They have some experience. We have one sophomore and the rest juniors and seniors who have played since they were freshmen,” Pointers’ third-year coach Chris Davis said of his linemen.
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“With the experience of the line, we’d like to run the ball more, but I like to be balanced. We’ll do whatever is working.”
The Pointers were 1-8 last season and were hampered by injuries and some tough losses.
“We competed and we were in some games. We have to find a way to win those games,” said Davis.
Sitting in the middle of the line is junior Corey Newman, who played his freshman year but missed last season with a ACL injury. So far, Davis said Newman has been “pretty good.”
The left guard figures to be junior Anthony Burks who played some last season. He will also be the backup at center.
The right guard will go to junior Dontae Harris who is a returning starter and tips the scales at 5-10, 300 pounds.
Sitting next to him at right tackle is the massive señor Maurice “Mo” Long who is 6-6, 315 pounds to give the Pointers a strong tandem to lead the running game.
“We’ll have one of the biggest lines around this area,” said Davis.
The left tackle should be junior Braylon Bird (6-2, 245).
Senior Xavier Haney will see playing time at both tackle spots.
Senior Cagen Rowe will be the backup at both guard positions.
This is a strong area for the Pointers with two players who can do the job.
Senior Jordan Ermalovich (6-0, 165) is the returning starter and his experience should put him in the lead, but junior Xathan Haney has been impressive.
“They’ve both looked good. We may play them both,” said Davis.
Two veterans are in the backfield with junior Blaine Freeman and sophomore Gage Chapman.
“We’ll play one or we can bring in both of them. They’ve been playing since they were freshmen,” said Davis.
Juniors Owen Frederick and Eli Wilburn will save the wingback duties as the Pointers can boast some depth in their backfield.
This is a position that is deep and Davis said “they all have good speed and good hands.”
Junior Rece Craft, sophomores Braydon Hanshaw and Kamren Wilkerson along with Wilburn and Xathan Haney give the Pointers a plethora of talented receivers.
Xavier Haney looks to be the starting tight end unless he’s needed inside. Waiting in the wings is junior Jalyn Anderson (6-4, 245).
Not only do some of the big offensive linemen flip to the other side of the ball, they also added senior tackle Owen Barker who is 6-1, 375 pounds.
Long will be the nose guard in a 3-5-3 alignment but will shift to tackle depending on the opposing team’s formation.
Harris figures to be the other tackle but Burks, Bird, Rowe and Xavier Haney will all see action.
“We’ll have a lot of guys who an form a good rotation on the line,” said Davis.
Chapman an Freeman were the starters last season and will return to the same positions this year. Chapman did get injured last season and only played in three games.
“Chapman is ready to run. He’s like a dog on a leash and you’re trying to hold him back,” said Davis with a grin.
Wilkerson and Wilburn figure to be the cornerback with Xathan Haney and Ermalovich the safeties.
Hanshaw will provide backup at both cornerback and safety Haney can also play cornerback and Craft can play safety.
Senior Braylon Balandra will take time off from the soccer team to handle the kickoffs and Craft will take care of the placements duties.Hanshaw will do the punting.
“We’ll be pretty good in the kicking game,” said Davis.
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Davis is going with the consensus and picking Ironton as the favorite.
“We all know it’s Ironton’s to lose. We’re all jockeying for second. Fairland will be tough, too,” said Davis.