By Tim Chambers
Johnson County has won its fair share of middle school championships over the past eight seasons with Matt Bray at the helm. If that trend continues it will be under a new head coach in 2016.
Devin Shaw will take over for Bray who is now the head boys and girls golf coach at the high school. Shaw is no stranger to middle school athletics. He’s also the head boys’ basketball coach.
“I’m stepping in for Coach Bray and trying to help out,” said Shaw. “Matt is a terrific coach that gets the maximum effort out of these kids but he was going through some medical issues. I’m excited about my new role and I’ve got a good coaching staff around me.”
That coaching staff includes Pete Pavusek, Mike McNutt, Michael Icenhour and Cody Bryant. Another one will take the snaps on offense.
Stacey Greer will get the nod at quarterback after starting under center last season. Shaw said it’s like having a coach on the field and loves what he brings to the table.
“He’s an excellent quarterback but a great inside linebacker too,” said Shaw. “He’s strong and athletic. He’s definitely our captain and leader. It’s like having another coach on the field with him.”
Shaw also likes the makeup of his offensive line.
“They’re big and strong but a lot of them are athletic too. I like the fact that they’re smart and they work hard.”
The line will be led by Cody Norris and Logan Gilley.
“Cody is a big guy that can move and he’s excellent at pulling and being a lead blocker,” said Shaw. “We would like to run him at fullback some because of his speed and size. We are still searching to fill our offensive line.”
Logan Gilley is another that will start in the line. Connor McNutt, Ethan Campbell and Ricky Fenner will join the duo. Dalton Snyder could also find his way in the mix. Zach Parson is another seventh grader that came out late but has the athleticism to help.
“Logan and Cody are definitely the keys there,” added Shaw. “Fenner, McNutt and Campbell have stepped up in practice. We have to have all those guys play well for us to win.”
Seventh grader Corry Neely will get the start at tailback.
Dalton Brown, Nathaniel Aschenbeck and Ethan Woody will add plenty of depth as the key receivers. Ethan Icenhour, John Stout, Trevor Gentry and Preston Greer are four more players who will see considerable playing time too.
“We could be playing a lot of seventh graders,” added Shaw. “Our defense is probably where it needs to be but we’re hoping the offense catches up quick.”
The Junior Longhorns will run from the Wing T and Power I.
“We will do whatever best suits us to try and win,” said Shaw. “You can know everything you want to about football. but if the kids don’t respond to what you’re doing. it will not matter. I’ve got a good bunch of coaching helping me and Coach Bray has helped put me in the right positions. I expect us to play hard, but I’m not sure what the wins and losses will look like. If we take care of what we need to then I expect we will have a good season.”