Ashland-Greenwood’s 2021 season ended in the Class C-1 quarterfinals with a 35-28 loss to eventual runner-up Pierce. Here are notes and observations from the Bluejays practice on Monday, August 15, 2022.
Offensive line is a strength for the 2022 Bluejays. Senior Luke Lambert will be a two-way starter at both left tackle and defensive tackle. Lambert is your stereotypical “country strong”. He impressed with his physicality and aggression in a rainy Monday morning practice. Senior Braxton Buck will play left guard with senior Jaxon Hamm returning at center. The right side of the offensive line has some youth. Promising sophomore prospect Landon Sobota will be the right guard and junior Ben Harris right tackle.
The Bluejays backfield is about as sure of a thing as it gets. The three leading rushers from 2021 return. Senior Nate Upton and junior Drake Zimmerman will likely split time at running back. Upton was the team leader with 898 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns last season. Zimmerman chipped in 603 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground last season. Senior fullback Logan Sobota returns for his senior season after rushing for 309 yards and four touchdowns.
Junior Dane Jacobsen solidified the quarterback position last season. He is the clear leader of the offense and will look to improve on his 1,519 passing yards and 19 passing touchdowns to just five interceptions.
Inside linebacker returns a tremendous amount of production from 2021. Logan Sobota, the team’s leading tackler (84) will look to improve on that number. Hamm and Upton combined for 73 tackles in 2021 and will provide depth and experience on the second level.
There is depth in the defensive backfield. The unit is unknown due to a lack of experience. Sophomore Thomas Spears is the only returning starter. He started as a freshman and will hold down one side of the defensive backfield. Spears finished third on the team with 68 total tackles and second with five interceptions in 2021. Jacobsen will likely play safety with Zimmerman, junior Isaac Carson and senior Ty Beetison the options opposite Spears at corner.
Staying on the outside but on offensive for the next unknown. Replacing the two leading receivers in Evan Shepard (708) and Carter Washburn (367) will not be easy. Spears is the leading returner at wide receiver with 21 catches for 159 yards and one touchdown last season. Spears, senior Lleyton West — who returns after missing five games due to injury in 2021 — and Carson will likely need to fill that void.
For as strong as inside linebacker is, outside linebacker is an unknown after graduating the starters from 2021. West, Junior Ty Carey (36 total tackles in 2021) and junior Colton Cerveney will look to make an impact at the position.