ONA, W.Va. – In the weekly grind that is the Mountain State Athletic Conference, Cabell Midland has played their way into the postseason in eight consecutive years. For the Knights to extend the streak to nine years, younger players must mature quickly at several key positions.
“They are a good group,” said Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons. “They care about each other. They’re close. They’re hungry. They are younger in some spots so they are hungry. And that is fun coaching.”
Ivan Vaughn was the latest in a long line of quality Cabell Midland running backs to come through the program. He rushed for 20 touchdowns and 1,740 yards last season. Ivan’s graduation means that younger brother Isaiah Vaughn and Jakob Caudill could be the next men up.
“Every year we plug a kid in,” Salmons said. “Caudill ran for a ton of yards last part of the season (in 2018). We started going back to what we do, running the football. Isaiah Vaughn, Ivan’s little brother, played as a freshman. But we have had other kids. It is his time. You see it, he is hungry.”
The quarterback spot remains open competition. Sophomore and basketball standout Chandler Schmidt enters the mix alongside senior J.J. Roberts.
“We can use multiple guys,” Salmons said. “J.J. has been playing there a lot. He played there as a freshman. He is a good quarterback. Chandler is a good quarterback. We need two or three quarterbacks in what we do. You just don’t know what is going to happen.”
Roberts has attracted more attention on the defensive side of the ball. He has verbally committed to play defensive back at Wake Forest.
“I am ready to get down there (to Wake Forest) but right now I am just going to focus on this season and play with my teammates,” Roberts said. “Hopefully everything pans out in the future and hopefully I have a great career there too.”
“He is playing multiple positions,” Salmons said. “He is fast, athletic and tough. He gets it so it is exciting.”