CHARLESTON, W.Va. — No doubt George Washington’s football roster in 2012 was full of talent – the Patriots produced three Division I players, among others to lower levels.
Now, however, head coach Steve Edwards, Jr. is faced with replacing that trio of players — Dustin Crouser who signed with UNC Charlotte, Jordan Clay who signed with Air Force and of course Kennedy Award winner Ryan Switzer who is now with North Carolina.
“We are losing some great leadership and some great athleticism,” Edwards said. “You can never replace guys like that. You just hope guys do the best that they can do when they get their chance.
“That’s a lot of pressure to put on kids,” Edwards continued. “I’m not expecting anybody to replace those three, but I’m expecting kids to step up and follow the example they set.”
Former South Charleston signal caller Jon Alexander will take over for George Washington after splitting time last season with the Black Eagles and Hargrave Military Academy. Also in the mix in the backfield will be former Scott and Van running back Draven Riffe who transferred to the Patriots’ program.
“I’m expecting those two to step in and do a nice job,” Edwards said. “They are both quality kids, great athletes and great students.”
However, several players that have already been stabilized in GW’s program have Edwards most excited.
“We have guys like Zach Malone that’s an all-state caliber player,” he said. “He’s as good as a linebacker that there is in the state. Jacob Jackson, a defensive back, will get a chance to carry the rock a little bit for us this year. Our line will have to play big this year. Guys like Adam Huffman and Jack Skidmore are going to have to step up and do a nice job.”
After playing for the state championship in 2011, the Patriots fell in the state semifinals last season to eventual champion Martinsburg.
“If you would have told me at the beginning of the year I was going to be 10-2, I would taken it and we would have had a banquet and a good time,” Edwards said.“I didn’t feel like last year was a disappointment.
“It may have been a disappointment to some, but everybody wants to play for a championship,” he continued. “You have to have luck, a good football team and have a lot of things go right for you. We sent seven or eight kids off to play college football. That’s unheard for me around here, especially in the state of West Virginia.”
Despite the heavy loss of talent and brutal schedule, George Washington will attempt to repeat the success they have had over the last few years.
“Every year we expect to be competitive,” Edwards said. “If we can stay healthy and stay focused, then I think we have a chance. We have a chance to really nice season. I just expect the kids to come out and play. Hopefully, we can avoid some of the injuries and don’t have some of the things that happened to us last year, happen again.”
2013 Football Schedule
|1||08/29/13 07:30PM||H||SOUTH CHARLESTON||–|
|2||09/06/13 07:30PM||A||ASHLAND BLAZER, KY H.S.||–|
|3||09/13/13 07:30PM||A||ST. ALBANS||–|
|7||10/18/13 07:30PM||A||CABELL MIDLAND||–|
– Wes McKinney