Football fans who travel to Roxana tomorrow, Friday, March 19, may see two traditionally running teams use different strategies as the game develops; the Roxana Shells, most often a ground and pound group, return quarterback Gavin Huffman and a receiving threat, fleet Parris White.
The Toppers, according to Coach Aaron Duff, will use a “hybrid spread” offense with a throwing quarterback and a bevy of receivers. Gone are the days of the Power I; a slot back is in the mix, and instead of a two tight-end look, the Toppers will line up with two wide receivers.
Jace Tuetken will be one of those wide-outs, with Jaben Compton the other. Tyson Compagni and Bryce Connor can also play wide receiver; Tuetken has also taken practice snaps as the slot back and at quarterback as Duff intends to have him touch the ball as often as possible.
Offensive starting tackles are Ian Malloy and Magnus Wells, with Reese Morford and Carsen Maddaleno slated to be the offensive guards while Brady Huber will be the center.
Zane Duff will start at quarterback, with Jude Bertolino at one halfback spot while Blaze Helton and Joey Keiser will both see action at tailback. Others likely to play significant roles are Compagni and Tanner Clayton, who will see duty as the slot back when Willman isn’t there.
Defensively, Coach Duff thinks his line will be a high point with Bertolino and either Huber or Morford at end and Malloy and Wells at tackle. He said not to be surprised if the small but quick Clayton is in the d-line mix when quickness is the need. Aaron Wille and Maddex Scott are among others who will see duty in either line.
Helton will be the strong-side linebacker, with Jackson Hamby in the middle and Willman on the weak side (the strong-side designation indicates the linebacker who lines up on the same half of the field as the opponent’s tight end, with weak-side manning the other side). Scott, at 6’3”, 190 lbs., can also play linebacker.
The corners will be Connor and Keiser; strong-side safety will be Compton, and the free safety will be Tuetken. Tuetken has started in the Topper secondary since his sophomore year. Duff, Garet Schaake, and Compagni are also secondary possibilities.
The punter will be either Duff or Tuetken (whoever is quarterback at the time). Wells will handle kickoff duties, and Chance Murray returns as the place-kicker, with Tuetken as his holder. Tuetken will be the return man for punt returns, while Willman will join him on kickoff returns.
Friday’s game (200 Hillsboro fans will be allowed into the east stands at Roxana) begins at 7 o’clock.