Waynesburg to ride talented backfield in Tri-County West

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Sunday, August 18, 2019 | 9:39 PM


The Waynesburg backfield will have some familiar faces in it this fall; they just might not be lined up in the same places.

Senior Caleb Shriver will shift from quarterback to tailback, as junior Darnell Johnson moves back under center after recovering from a knee injury that cost him his sophomore season.

Senior Trevor Stephenson also returns to the backfield, but will spend a lot of time in the slot and at wide receiver.

Coach Chad Coss is confident the trio will find success in natural roles where they can maximize their talent.

Johnson is a dual-threat at quarterback who has developed during the offseason. He injured his knee in the first scrimmage last season and did not return.

“He’s got some speed, he can run the ball,” Coss said. “He throws the ball real well, too. We’ve had him at seven-on-sevens all summer. He’s a good, hard-nosed kid.”

Shriver threw for 227 yards and two scores last season but will be more of an asset as a runner this fall, Coss said.

“He’s got more of a shifty speed. He’s very quick,” the coach said. “He’s versatile, we can move him to the slot, at times.”

Senior Avery McConville also returns as another playmaker. A second-team all-conference tight end, he caught nine passes for 147 yards last season and could be in the backfield at times.

“He’ll be inside, outside. We’re looking to get the ball in his hands,” Coss said.

The group hopes to pick up for the loss of junior running back Nate Stephenson, who had Tommy John surgery in the spring and might not return until October.

They will all benefit from a strong group up front on the offensive line, which will be anchored by senior Brandon Tretinik (5-11, 230), who is a third-year starter and was honorable mention all-conference last year.

“Offensive and defensive line are our strengths right now,” Coss said. “We have a lot of experience back on the offensive line. I’m sure that will help tremendously throughout the season.”

Waynesburg finished 2-8 overall and 0-7 in the Class 3A Tri-County West Conference and were outscored 326-126 last season. The Raiders are preparing for the challenges of conference play and will meet teams that have claimed the past three state titles – Beaver Falls (2016), Quaker Valley (2017) and Aliquippa (2018), as well as Central Valley, Hopewell, Keystone Oaks and South Park.

“I think we’ll be a lot more competitive if we can stay healthy. That’s our downfall. We don’t have a lot of depth,” Coss said.

“(Aliquippa) will be just as good as they were last year, if not better. We hope to compete.”

Schedule

Coach: Chad Coss

2018 record: 2-8, 0-7

All-time record: 371-541-36

Date, Opponent, Time

8.23, at Jefferson-Morgan, 7

8.30, at Aliquippa*, 7

9.6, Ambridge, 7

9.13, at Hopewell*, 7

9.20, South Park*, 7

9.27, Central Valley*, 7

10.4, at Quaker Valley*, 7

10.11, at Beaver Falls*, 7

10.18, Burrell, 7

10.25, at Keystone Oaks*, 7

*Class 3A Tri-County West Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Caleb Shriver

16-46, 227 yards, 2 TDs

Rushing: Nate Stephenson

177-817 yards, 8 TDs

Receiving: Avery McConville

9-147 yards, 1 TD

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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