GREAT FALLS — The entire roster on this year’s Great Falls football team had not yet been born in 1991 – the last time the Red Devils won the state championship with a perfect 15-0 record.
But ahe current Great Falls team is already drawing comparisons to that undefeated team of 22 years ago, even to the roster numbers.
The 1991 championship team had only 22 players, making its feat even more remarkable. This year’s team faces a similar challenge with only 24, but still looks forward to duplicating the accomplishment.
“We look forward to making up for that (limited roster number) with hard work,” linebacker and fullback Jake Peyseur said. “No doubt, we are going all out for a state championship.
“I feel that our experience from last year will help us, especially on the line and on our defense.”
Great Falls coach Ken Schofield is also optimistic, but realizes the challege of fielding a team with limited numbers.
“No doubt our depth has be a concern,” Schofield said. “We have to be able to manage our depth, so conditioning is very important.”
“Having so few players, our players have to go both ways; therefore we have to be in great condition to stay away from injuries. We have small amount of students in our school and everyone who can play football is playing We just have to play with what we got.”
If the off-season weight training program is indicative of the team’s conditioning, Schofield has reason for optimism, especially on the offensive and defensive line.
“On our offensive line, we have two guys who squat over 500 (pounds); everyone else on the front line is near 440. When putting that kind of stength to work on the field, we have a chance to have a decent squad.”
Last season, the Red Devils posted a 6-5 record, finishing runner-up in Region 3-A to Chesterfield, a perennial state championship contender which has moved back up to the Class-AA level.
With Chesterfield gone from the league, Great Falls is eager to step up to the claim the top spot. That, Schofield said, is easier said than done.
“We have added Lamar, which has a very talented program that is repeatedly good. Lewisville is still going to be a contender, and McBee and C.A. Johnson are going to be better.”
Great Falls returns four starters on the offensive and defensive lines, led by Deadra Hoover, Ty Ross, and Zach Talford. They will be protecting returing quarterback, Clark Schofield, a 6-2 senior, who demonstrated solid leadership skills on last year’s playoff team.
Last year’s leading rusher, Earnest Talford graduated, leaving that role up in the air with talented, but unproven, athletes.
“At wingbacks, we will be young,” Schofield said.
Junior DC Caldwell, sophomore Lemarion Craine, and senior Johnathan Thompson are leading candidates for that role.
Sophomore Chris Culp, the team’s back-up quarterback and tight-end, will also see time in the offensive backfield.
Payseur will lead the way as the returning starter at fullback. Schofield said that Payseur is crucial as a lead blocker and also as a runner.
Defensively, Payseur, junior David Jeter, and Culp will control the linebacker slots, while Caldwell, Hoover, Talfod, and Ty Ross will anchor the defensive front.
Jonathan Thompson, senior Omar Dean, Lamarion Craine, and Shaykeim Kelly are mentioned in defensive back roles.
“We are looking forward to an exciting season,” Schofield said. “They playes are working extra hard. We are limited in number, but will do the best with who we have out there on the field.
“Right now our biggest concern in Lewisville,” he added. The Red Devils will open the season against the Lions on Aug. 17.