Yellowjackets strong at skill positions

WILLIAMSTOWN -No antibiotic could have cured the sore spot left behind by Williamstown’s 6-5 finish last season.

Granted, the Yellowjackets advanced to the postseason for the ninth time in as many years under coach Terry Smith. However, the team did not come close to matching the 11.5 wins the program had averaged during his rein.

“We were really mad about some of the stupid mistakes we made,” said senior David Hastings, who rushed for 413 yards and scored four touchdowns during his first varsity season in the Williamstown backfield.

A plethora of experience returns at the skill positions for the Yellowjackets. As a junior, Trace Hart led all Yellowjacket ballcarriers with 840 yards on the ground and six touchdowns.

Also returning is tailback Dakota Watson, who finished with 822 yards rushing and five touchdowns during his sophomore season.

“Our success all relies on the line,” Watson said. “If they can block and do their assignments, we will be fine.”

Calling the signals behind center for the third year in a row is senior Jake Tracewell, who passed for 787 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

“I just feel more comfortable with the team,” Tracewell said. “I am just trying to do the extra work and work as hard as I can, and hopefully that rubs off on the other teammates and makes them work harder.”

During the summer’s three-week contact period, Williamstown won a 7-on-7 passing league at Marietta College. Yet, it’s the ground game and the men in the trenches which the Yellowjackets hang their hat on.

Senior Cody Smith provides the most experience even though he sat out the latter half of the 2012 season with an injury. Junior D.J. Kerns also earned a taste of varsity football for a few football games.

“Some of these other guys have been waiting their turn, so why can’t they do it?” Coach Smith said. “They’ve been working and the time is here.”

Players seeking to crack the starting lineup on the offensive line are C.J. West, Adam Pfeiffer and Josh Myers. Brandon Root and Noah Bellew are battling for the top of the depth chart at tight end.

Of the defensive side of the ball, Coach Smith will utilize Pfeiffer, Kerns, Myers and Smith.

“Deciding who goes where will be based on who lines up in the right place, and who can make the plays and do their job,” Coach Smith said.

The linebacking corps is beginning to take shape with Watson, Hastings, Bellew, Mike Beck, Root and Logan Lindsey. In the defensive secondary, expect Tracewell to play free safety, Hunter Neely and Blake Eddy at cornerback.

Where special teams are concerned, Kade Kiselica will serve double-duty as the Yellowjackets’ placekicker and fill a spot on the school’s soccer team. He is being challenged by Trace Elder.

“The three-week contact period went well -it allowed us to put guys in positions and different places,” Coach Smith said. “As far as last year, we’re not used to losing games. I thought we worked hard and were ready to go.”