Football Preview 2017: Sherando looking to bounce back from .500 season

Sherando High School coach Bill Hall gives out instructions during a recent practice. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY — Sherando’s record may not have been what the team wanted last year. But the experiences the team went through last season may pay big dividends this year.

Sherando returns a lot from last year’s 5-5 team, and coach Bill Hall said the team has grown from it.

“We were pretty young last year, so we return a lot,” Hall said. “And they know the expectations. So I think that helps. I think they’re excited and eager — 5-5 doesn’t sit well with any of the guys around here.”

One of the key returners is junior quarterback Hunter Entsminger.

Hall said that Entsminger’s success in baseball has helped improve for football.

“His mentality in the (baseball) playoffs was impressive, and I think he built upon that in the summer with his travel ball,” Hall said. “And I think that mentality will pay off for him, which is part of his evolution as a quarterback. Not that he wasn’t mentally tough last year, because he did a great job. But wanting to be the man in the moment, having prepared for that moment and embracing that moment, I think that’s where you’ll see him progress most.”

Entsminger, who threw for 1,337 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, will have two familiar running backs in the backfield with him.

Tailback T.J. Washington and running back JoJo Doleman are both juniors. Washington ran for 1,243 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Senior fullback Ke’Von Doleman is also back.

Senior Aaron Banks will lead the way in a deep receiving core. Banks had 22 catches for 354 yards last year.

Senior Frank Ritter is playing football for the first time, and Hall said he’s been happy with what he’s seen of him in the preseason. Joe Kelliher, Cam Edwards, Dylan Rutherford, Malachi Doleman and Nick Mazza will also see playing time at wide receiver.

Mike Perry will be playing at the H-back, while William Hall will be at tight end.

Zach McCarty and Isaiah Allen will look to lead the way on the offensive line. Both started for the Warriors last season.

Hall said he has a lot of depth on the offensive line with a lot of players vying for positions.

Allen and Ke’Von Doleman will be two of the big pieces on the defensive line. Ke’Von Doleman, a senior, will be starting for the third year.

Zack Kales, Nick Corbit and Austin Covert will be a big part of the defensive line this season. Allen started on the defensive line last season, and Kales, Corbit and Covert all saw plenty of playing time on the line.

One big part of the linebacking core is gone with the graduation of Dylan Rivers, who is now playing at Virginia Tech. However, the Warriors are still very strong at linebacker.

Junior JoJo Doleman, the Warriors top returning tackler, moves from outside linebacker to inside linebacker, just like Rivers did last season.

Kolby Schlag, McKinley Dean and Payne Bauer will also be playing at inside linebacker.

At outside linebacker Perry, Kelliher and Isaiah Taylor will be taking the majority of the snaps.

Banks is moving from cornerback to safety for the Warriors this season. Last year Banks had four interceptions and 47 tackles. Ritter will also be playing at safety.

Washington, Melvin Irby, Edwards, Rutherford, Mazza and Malachi Doleman will all see playing time at the cornerback spots.

Stone Garver will be doing kicking duties, although Hall said Entsminger could also kick some if needed as well.

The Warriors will once again have a tough schedule. Last year Sherando’s five losses came to teams with a combined 47-3 regular season record.

Hall said that he wants to have a tough schedule to push his players to be better.

“We like to challenge ourselves,” Hall said. “We’re not like some teams that just schedule wins. That’s not the way we do it.”