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Covington Catholic Colonels Football Preview 2013
8/1/2013 - by Ryan Roberts
A season ago, the Covington Catholic Colonels had high hopes of getting back to the State Championship for the first time since the 2006 season. The Colonels had their season ended early in the region finals to Highlands, 28-13, but Coach Wirth knows that he returns a team that will once again compete at a high level.

"We have a lot of guys back from last year, so some of the strengths of that team will return with those players," said Coach Dave Wirth.

Offensively, the Colonels return two of the better play makers in Northern Kentucky in running back Luke Bir and Sam Dressman. Bir was the leading rusher last year with 555 yards on 72 carries (7.7 ypc), while Dressman rushed for 178 yards on just 28 carries (6.4 ypc).

"We should have a good running game," Coach Wirth said. "Those guys have a lot of experience and a lot of carries that have produced yards and points."

Dressman is receiving interest from several Divison I-AA schools in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, including Western Kentucky. One of the biggest reasons for the running game success is the guys up front on the offensive line, who often get over looked. Coach Wirth talked a little about the guys in the trenches.

"Offensive line wise, we return 3 out of 5 starters and we had 2 offensive line sophomores who got hurt last season that had the potential start the entire season. Overall we return 5 out 7 guys that saw significant time on the offensive line."

Out wide, it will be the play of Evan Braun and Sam Hatter along with juniors Logan McDowell and Lee McClure that will be crucial for the Colonels run game success as the biggest question mark of this year’s Colonel team is the quarterback position after the graduation of Blake Bir.

"Our anticipated area of weakness will be at the quarterback position as we will have a new guy that we’re breaking in," said Coach Wirth. "Losing Blake Bir is a challenging thing to do but we’re lucky that we have some good guys in the program that are ready to step up."

The guy counted on to run things under center this year will be junior Adam Wagner, who is widely regarded as on of the best atheltes on the Colonels roster by Coach Wirth and his staff.

"Adam is a phenomenal athlete and an adequate thrower. Certainly not to Blake’s capacity but he will do good things for us in the passing game. Offensively we should be able to score some points and move ball."

Defensively, the Colonels will look to replace their 3 starting defensive linemen from a year ago, but Coach Wirth feels this year’s team has more depth on the line.

"We lost a lot of front. The three defensive line starters (in our 3 man front) for us last year are all gone. Those guys were really good players but we have two guys back that saw significant action last year and I think overall we will have more depth and more size this year."

The strength of this defense will be at the linebacker position where the Colonels return 2 out of 3 starters, including Sam Burchell who currently hold an Austin Peay offer as well as in the secondary where the Colonels return 3 out of 5 starters.

"Individually I just want to do the best I can to put myself in a position to win," said Senior Sam Burchell. "We’ve got 7 or 8 guys that can really go on the defensive line."

"We should be very good at linebacker and in the secondary, led by Sam Burchell," said Coach Wirth. "e should be good on defense this year. We just have to step it up and cause a few more turnovers."

As far as the schedule goes, the Colonels will be tested with a tough non district schedule on top of disctirct games against Highlands, Holmes, and Harrison County. The non district schedule includes road games against Boone County, Dixie Heights, Henderson County and Beechwood, along with home games against Moeller, Ryle, and a Conner team that is led by one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Drew Barker.

"We’ve got a good schedule this year and I feel like we’ve amped it up this year," said Coach Wirth.

Expectations will once again be high for Coach Wirth and his team as they expect to win the district and then march through the playoffs and get to state.

"We’ve come up short on that goal the last couple seasons so we’re doing everything in our power to make sure it happens this year," said Coach Wirth.

"It gets worn out (expectations) but that’s state and there’s no reason that shouldn’t be the goal for us, " said Sam Burchell when talking about expectations. "We’ve got that one team over in Fort Thomas sitting on us so it’s time to get that off our back."

Players to Watch:

Adam Wagner (JR QB) - Despite this being his first year at QB, expectations are high due to the versatility that he posseses both through the air and on the ground with his speed and athleticism.

Sam Burchell (SR LB) - The senior linebacker led the team in tackles last season with 97 and should be expected to have a much bigger impact than that this season with him having an off season to get even bigger, stronger, and faster.

Evan Braun (SR WR) - Braun was second on the team last season with 32 receptions for 656 yards and with Ethan Egbers gone, should be expected to be the go to guy in the passing game this season.

Sam Hatter (SR WR) - Hatter will slide over in to Egbers position in the slot after producing 328 yards on 26 catches a season ago. With Hatter at the slot, he provides a very fast target down the middle of the field as well as out in space in the flats where he can showcase his speed.

Sam Dressman (SR Athlete) - Dressman will be counted on to do it all from playing offense and defense, to special teams. Dressman had 178 yards rushing last season, 227 receiving yards, as well as 2 field goals and 13 extra points.

Matt Schmall (SR DB) - Schmall was a receiver last season but will be moved to corner this year to help sure up that position with his speed and athleticism.

2013 Schedule:

Aug 23, 13 Boone County away 7:00 PM
Aug 30, 13 Dixie Heights away 8:30 PM
Sep 7, 13 Archbishop Moeller, OH home 1:00 PM
Sep 13, 13 Henderson County away 7:00 PM
Sep 28, 13 Highlands home 1:00 PM
Oct 3, 13 Beechwood away 7:30 PM
Oct 12, 13 Ryle home 1:00 PM
Oct 18, 13 Harrison County away 7:30 PM
Oct 26, 13 Holmes home 1:00 PM
Nov 2, 13 Conner home 1:00
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