MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK: WAVERLY'S MILLER SAYS GRADUATION LOSSES 'TYPICAL;' EXCITED TO HAVE QB LOCKED IN FOR 2020 AND BEYOND
(2019-11-12)By TIM BIRNEYValley Sports Report
WAVERLY "” Waverly will graduate 12 seniors, but longtime coach Jason Miller says it's "a typical year" when it comes to his graduation losses as he looks ahead to 2020.
"We lose a very strong senior class. The core of the class has been starters for two years, with the exception of the three linemen, who were new starters this year," he said.
"This senior class displayed great leadership, and they are tough kids, who worked very hard.
"It's going to be hard to replace Jalen McCarty and Trevor Morse," noted Miller. "It's going to be hard to replace Ethan Stotler, who in the last three games was a really exceptional football players - both on offense and defense, but especially on defense.
"Inside (linebacker) we lose Thomas Price, who is a three-year starter, but we had some young kids playing there - all sophomores, so we're going to be pretty strong there.
"It's a typical year in terms of graduation losses," added Miller. "We have some pieces, but we certainly have some shoes to fill."
Joey Tomasso will return for the Wolverines as a freshman at quarterback. He completed 49.2 percent (119 of 242) of his passes this season for 1,367 yards and 10 TDs, while being picked off nine times.
"For an 8th-grader, it's an incredible task to be able to (quarterback) in (Class B)," said Miller.
"He threw for over 1,300 yards, his touchdown-to-interception ratio was positive, and he was one of the leading passers in Class B in New York State. I know it's a run-heavy classification, but to do what he did is impressive.
"He did an amazing job this year," noted Miller. "As he grows, he's going to be very dangerous. He's athletic and shifty, and he'll be fast enough where it's going to make it very difficult to defend us.
"Our best quarterbacks have had the ability to run and throw, and Joey is not going to be an exception," Miller added. "He has every bit of athleticism our other quarterbacks have had. The one thing he'll have that they didn't is four or five years of experience."
The Wolverines lose three starters up front, but have Logan Shipman, Kam Peters, Hunder Rando, and Trevor Meyers return among others to anchor next year's line.
"It's really comforting to have our quarterback (8th-grader Joey Tomasso) back, but we're going to have to find people to put around him," said Miller. "He'll only be as good as the people around him.
"We're going to have to make sure the athletes in the school are playing football," he noted.
The Wolverines will have their top three rushers returning in David Hallett (551 yards and seven TDs), Austin Kimble (240 yards and two TDs) and Caden Wheeler (210 yards and one TD) for their senior seasons.
"David Hallett and Austin Kimble are both coming back, and will be a really good duo in the backfield," said Miller.
Waverly loses its two of its top receivers in McCarty (42 catches for 488 yards and five TDs) and Ethan Stotler (28-363-5), but return Aidan Westbrook (29-422-1), and Wheeler (8-30-0)
"I'm excited Aidan Westbrook is coming back, and that Caden Wheeler is coming back," said Miller. "Caden had an outstanding year on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he was a very good cornerback for us."
Miller noted with Tomasso locked in at quarterback, his team's offense should be much-improved next season with a full offseason to prepare.
"The one thing we'll do that I'm excited about is build upon this offense and what we did," he said. "We didn't run anything like this last year.
"In the offseason, we'll be able to prepare and know exactly what we're doing going into the winter," noted Miller. "This past offseason, it was very uncertain who was going to be our quarterback this season.
"We really didn't know if Joey was going to be allowed to play varsity until August," added Miller. "There was a lot of uncertainty. We didn't if he would be the quarterback because of his age and size."
Waverly will also return to the Class C ranks next year as New York State adjusts its classification numbers. Chenango Forks, Chenango Valley, and Oneonta will also move down to C, while Sidney, Newark Valley, and Harpursville / Afton are expected to drop to Class D.
"With Susquehanna Valley and Windsor already there, and Chenango Forks, Norwich, and Chenango Valley going down with us, it actually looks a lot like B did," said Miller.
IN PHOTO: Waverly coach Jason Miller.
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