How many high school football teams had a sixth-string quarterback last season?
The answer is at least one.
Due to a rash of injuries, Delavan-Darien was forced to use six quarterbacks in 2018.
That wasn’t exactly an ideal situation for then-first-year coach Hank Johnson, who was already trying to leverage a reduced roster against larger-enrollment Southern Lakes Conference opponents.
Johnson could certainly use some better luck this season as he rebuilds a program that finished 1-8 last fall.
“We were decimated by injury at quarterback last year,” Johnson said. “We need to stay healthy at quarterback and everywhere else. ... We have to be mindful of our issues with depth and make sure we are doing things the right way to stay healthy.”
Johnson, nevertheless, is cautiously optimistic his team will be better.
“It depends on the day how we are looking, because we are still young and still learning,” Johnson said. “We’ve improved from last year, but don’t know how much until we get on the field.”
Johnson is relying on two quarterbacks to master the playbook. Senior Oliver Hetzel and junior Josh Mick will both see action running Johnson’s spread offense.
“Josh is a runner, and Oliver is more of a pocket passer,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to figure out which one works best for us.”
Lanky senior receiver Mateo Morales, who was honorable mention all-conference last season, will help bolster the Comets’ passing game.
Jay Greenwald is moving to receiver after playing quarterback last season.
The Comets may feature one of the bigger tight ends in the area with 6-foot-5 300-pound Erik Cesarz switching from the offensive line to catching passes down the seam.
“Erik wanted a chance at tight end,” Johnson said. “He can run and has pretty good hands.”
Senior Ross Gengler, who has accepted a preferred walk-on offer to play middle linebacker at Wisconsin, will be the featured back in the Comets running game.
Jarod Comas, Justin Cesarz, Anthony Gravedoni, and Ethan Nathan will man the offensive line.
“We’ve got some big offensive line guys, but we just don’t have a lot of depth behind them,” Johnson said.
The Comets’ defense will be led by Gengler at middle linebacker leading the way in a 4-2-5 scheme. The secondary is still up for grabs as the defensive coaches try to find the right mix.
“We lost four starters from our defensive backfield last season, so we have some holes to fill,” Johnson said.
The defensive line will consist of two-way players, including Erik Cesarz, Justin Cesarz, Morales, Grevedoni, and Comas.
With a more experienced and improve talent, the Comets will be tested immediately with their first three games on the road.
“We’ve done more lifting in the offseason than we have in a while,” Johnson said. “The kids are giving me all they have, it’s just a matter of staying healthy.”
Delavan-Darien 2019 roster
No. Name Yr. Ht. Wt. Pos.
1 Rolando Cerros Jr. 5-8 133 WR/DB
2 Alex Banda Sr. 5-10 152 RB/LB
3 Jay Greenwald Sr. 5-10 204 WR/DB
4 Oliver Hetzel Sr. 6-0 195 QB/WR/DB
6 Ross Gengler Sr. 6-3 205 RB/LB
7 Julian Rodriguez Sr. 5-8 133 WR/DB
9 Josh Johnson Sr. 5-6 174 RB/LB
10 Freddie Krablean Sr. 6-3 161 WR/DB
12 Alex Balas Sr. 6-0 180 WR/DB
14 Josh Ziolkowski Jr. 6-2 193 WR/DB
16 Payton McCann Jr. 5-8 138 WR/DB
18 Josh Mick Jr. 5-10 162 QB/DB
20 Jared Greidanus Jr. 5-9 147 WR/DB
21 Luke Freitag Jr. 5-11 135 WR/DB
22 Ryan Hoey Sr. 6-0 160 WR/DB
23 Tony Skarzynski Sr. 5-10 144 RB/LB
24 Luke Loback Jr. 5-10 181 OL/LB
25 Peter Cook Jr. 6-0 145 WR/DB
28 Sebastion Miller Jr. 5-6 198 RB/LB
32 Logan Mortlock So. 5-8 165 QB/DB
40 Julian Lerchmueller Sr. 5-7 165 WR/DB
44 Jeffery Scott Jr. 5-7 158 RB/LB
50 Adrien Romero Jr. 6-0 209 OL/DL
52 Angel Reyes Sr. 5-11 194 OL/DL
54 Justin Cesarz Sr. 6-5 296 OL/DL
56 Dan Mick Sr. 6-0 254 OL/DL
61 Erik Cesarz so. 6-4 232 OL/DL
62 Ethan Nathan Jr. 6-2 226 OL/DL
64 Kyle Wright Jr. 5-11 219 OL/DL
72 Hunter Warren Jr. 5-10 242 OL/DL
74 Jacob Bullis Jr. 5-9 226 OL/DL
78 Jarod Comas Sr. 6-2 267 OL/DL
79 Anthony Gravedoni Sr. 6-4 253 OL/DL
85 Mateo Morales Sr. 6-4 201 WR/DL