A 4-6 record will not cut it for South Carroll football coach Steve Luette.

Last season's losing mark was Luette's first in seven years, and he stresses that another sub-.500 campaign will not be acceptable — in fact, he'd be surprised if the Cavaliers have one.


"We have a motivated team, and the attitude of the team will be just make us better," said Luette, who has a career record of 58-22. "And we have better athletes at all the positions. The makeup of the entire team is what's going to make us better."

The task of running the spread offense falls to senior Cole Evans (6-foot-1, 210 pounds). Last year's backup has the quickness, arm and instincts to be a solid quarterback.

"He showed us last year that he has the ability to step in and do what needs to be done to win games," Luette said of Evans, who replaces the graduated A.J. Linn. "He has a lot of poise and can really throw the ball. I think we are going to throw the ball more than last year because of his arm and I guess, for the first time, we have a left-hander at quarterback."

South Carroll lost a game breaker at running back in Jamar Williams, the reigning Times Football Player of the Year. He led the county in rushing (1,642 yards) and touchdowns (26).

Nevertheless, Luette has a lot of confidence in seniors Jacob Snell (5-7, 160) and Ryan Oden (5-4, 150).

South Carroll football coach Steve Luette works with his team during a practice in Winfield Monday, August 28, 2017.
South Carroll football coach Steve Luette works with his team during a practice in Winfield Monday, August 28, 2017. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO)

"I am sure that we have a guy who has Jamar's athletic ability," Luette said. "But we have two guys in Oden and Snell who can come in and be good runners. I call them more of scat-back type of runners. They can break big runs."

Snell and Oden will be running behind a strong and physical offensive line anchored by two returning starters, junior tackle Patrick Quinn and sophomore tackle Mike Crown — Quinn earned Times second-team all-county honors in 2016.

The line also features junior guards Christopher Aiosa (5-11, 230) and Jakob Janusz (5-10, 255) and sophomore center Christian Skinner (5-9, 240).

"They are a year older and year stronger because they have been working in the weight room," Luette said. "And they have good feet. So I think that bodes well for us."

Evans will have some enticing weapons, namely seniors Matt Gamble, Dylan Wilson, and Jordan Blackman, and juniors JJ Blazek and Brett Finzel.

"They are all fast and can catch the ball," Luette said.

South Carroll's 4-4 defense, which gave up 221 points last year, has a chance to be significantly better.

"Between bigger and more experienced linemen and more experience at cornerback, it gives us a better all-around defense," Luette said.

Tackles Crown and junior Patrick Quinn (6-4, 280) along with three ends, juniors Max Moore and Colin Reno and senior Nathan Gallagher, man the line. Brett Finzel, Gamble, Ryan Oden, Sergio Ramirez, Mason Gavin, and Richard Summerlin are the linebackers.


Finzel ranked among the team leaders last year with 46 tackles.

"Our linebackers are pretty experienced and we should be solid there," said SC defensive coordinator Mike Kraus, who has to make up for the loss of linebacker and first-team all-county pick Henry Cook.

Dylan Wilson (43 tackles) is a talented and proven player at safety and the second-team all-county pick is the player to watch in the secondary.

"Wilson quarterbacks our defense and all of our coverage schemes," Kraus said.

The secondary also features safety Blackman, a transfer from Oakland Mills, and cornerbacks Snell, a second-team all-county pick last year, senior James Dytrt and Blazek.

An improved defense could be a huge step in making the postseason — it's the Cavaliers' biggest goal.

"It was the first time in eight years we hadn't made the playoffs," Evans said. "That gives us a lot more fire to come out and have a great season."