Front, from left, Catlin Michelon, Shawn Porter, Alec Revelle, Seth Chester and Matthew Meyers; back, from left, Jake Perrino, Brennan Harris, Logan Reardon, Josh Rudd and Luke Curtis.
ROXANA – If Pat Keith has a blueprint for the Roxana Shells this season, it’s as simple as this:
The Shells, 3-6 last year, figure to be among the teams to beat in the 10-school South Central Conference. However, they have a tough opener at Carlinville and then play Pana and Greenville over their next four games. The Cavaliers and Comets are considered the premier teams in the loaded SCC.
“We’re not very deep, but we do have some experience back,” said Keith, beginning his sixth season as the Shells’ head coach. “For us to be successful, we have to win some games early in the year. A better start will be big for us.”
Roxana is thinking postseason and although the Shells have a proud playoff history, they haven’t been there since 2003. Keith owns a 14-31 record in five seasons. Prior to that, Roxana went 1-44 from 2004-08. The 2003 team was 10-1.
Yet hopes are high this season, especially since the Shells return some key players, particularly on offense.
“We have some experience coming back,” Keith said. “Our goal is to get to the playoffs. We want to get at least five wins — somehow, some way.”
Chance Foss, a 6-foot, 165-pound junior, will take over the quarterback controls. He shared duties last season with Nick Hand, who has graduated.
“He’s a hard worker, a good leader and Chance has a good grasp of the offense,” Keith said. “He’s also a three-sport guy.”
It appears the Shells’ strength may rest with their running backs. Blake Vandiver, a 5-9, 150-pound junior, rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore. Logan Reardon, a 5-10, 170-pound senior, also is expected to provide plenty of rushing.
“Blake is very quick and Logan is a physical runner,” Keith said. “Basically, we will be a run-oriented team.”
Jared Foiles, a 5-7, 150-pound junior; and Seth Chester, a 5-7, 160-pound senior, also will log time in the backfield. Chester was an all-SCC defensive back last season and will be a key defender.
Foss should have several quality targets to enhance the Shells’ passing game. Trace Gentry, a 6-2, 175-pound junior, Andrew Westbrook, a 6-2, 180-pound sophomore, Shawn Porter, a 6-2, 190-pound senior, Talon Pile, a 5-10, 165-pound junior and Alec Revelle, a 5-9, 165-pound senior; are cast as receivers.
Keith has ample line candidates. On the offensive side, there’s 6-1, 210-pound senior Brennan Harris; 6-1, 190-pound senior Luke Curtis; 5-10, 190-pound junior Bill Mathis; 6-2, 245-pound junior Ethan Kurth; 6-1, 210-pound senior Jacob Perino and 6-0, 235-pound senior Josh Rudd.
Kurth, Perino, 6-1, 215-pound sophomore Sam Mosby and 6-0, 200-pound sophomore Mike Maddux should get time on the defensive line. Reardon, Curtis, Mathis and Pile, along with 5-9, 175-pound sophomore Trey Kelly and 5-10, 180-pound sophomore Brian Kamp are positioned as linebackers.
Foiles, Vandiver, Revelle, Chester and Porter will fill in secondary slots. Reardon and Vandiver may divide kicking duties. Running back Levi Wallace, the Shells’ place-kicker last season, has graduated.
Since all of the Shells’ games are conference ones, Keith knows there’s little room for error in the team’s quest for a successful season.
“Carlinville and Greenville are the teams to beat, and both of them have good quarterbacks coming back,” he said. “Gillespie should be good and Staunton is coming off a second-place finish in the state finals.”
Roxana Shells Football Schedule
Aug. 29 – at Carlinville* 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 – at Pana* 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 – Hillsboro* 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 – Vandalia* 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 – at Greenville* 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 – Litchfield* 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 – at Gillespie* 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 – Staunton* 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 – Southwestern* 7 p.m.
*Denotes conference games
Roxana Shells Varsity Roster
NAME HT WT POS
Seth Chester 5-7 160 RB-DHB
Luke Curtis 6-1 190 OL-LB
Brennan Harris 6-1 210 OL-DL
Matt Meyers 6-0 175 OL-DL
Jacob Perino 6-0 185 OL-DL
Logan Reardon 5-10 170 FB-LB
Alex Revelle 5-9 165 RB-DHB
Josh Rudd 6-0 235 OL-DL
Sean Porter 6-2 190 WR-GHB
Jared Foiles 5-7 150 RB-DHB
Chance Foss 6-0 165 QB-DHB
Trace Gentry 6-2 175 TE-DE
Ethan Kurth 6-2 245 OL-DL
Bill Mathis 5-10 190 OL-DL
Talon Pile 5-10 165 WR-DHB
Blake Vandiver 5-9 150 RB-LB
Joey Beckman 6-1 185 TE-DL
Zack Golenor 6-0 150 QB-DHB
Brian Kamp 5-10 180 OL-DL
Trey Kelly 5-9 175 RB-LB
Ethan Kurth 6-1 235 OL-DL
Cody McMillan 6-4 175 WR-DE
Sam Mosby 6-1 225 OL-DL
Michael Stassi 5-8 145 WR-DHB
Andrew Westbrook 6-2 180 TE-LB