Prep football: Syracuse Titans preview

An experienced senior class, including several that have been starters since they were sophomores, is the going-away present from Russ Jones. The only head coach Syracuse ever had known on the gridiron retired at the end of last season and turns over the controls to Mike Knight.

“I feel like we have experience back in some key spots,” said Knight, who was the offensive line coach for the Titans.

“We’ve had a lot of success at Syracuse,” he added while noting the relative youth of the school itself. “As they say, ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ But there’ll be a few things that I’ll put my personal touch on.”

Realignment means Syracuse will renew acquaintances with the rival closest to it. Although Clearfield’s district borders Syracuse, the two schools have not played each other in football in almost a decade.

Now they’ll have to because they are region foes.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Knight said. “We haven’t played them since 2009 even though they’re right next to us.”

Behind center • Ty Metcalfe (6 foot, 190 pounds) enters his third season as the Titans’ starting quarterback. Metcalfe threw for 1,960 yards, was the team’s leading rusher with 427 yards and, for kicks, was a standout punter. “He’s a good athlete,” Knight said. “He made a lot of good plays, he can use his feet and can put a good spin on the ball.” When Metcalfe hands off, senior Alex Forbush (5-10, 185) is expected to get the majority of touches, although senior Austin Kirkman (6-2, 195) will get to line up at running back as well.

Ball hawks • The time is now for senior Cole Thompson (6-2, 185) at wide receiver after catching only one pass last season. “He’s got good hands and he’s a physical kid,” Knight said. The same can be said for Scott Davies (6-1, 175), who is expected to concentrate at wideout after missing last season due to concussion problems. Sophomore Ty Burke (6-0, 170) is a young talent who will be given a chance at both wide receiver and free safety. Older brother Garrett Burke (5-11, 185), a senior, made four interceptions from a strong safety spot last year, and he’ll primarily make his home on the defensive side of the ball.

In the trenches • The biggest load of work for the line players will fall to Nevada commit Wyatt Bowles (6-5, 260), who enters his senior season with starting experience from the last two years. Bowles likely will line up at left tackle and threaten quarterbacks from a defensive end position, although he has the versatility to move to different spots on defense. Senior offensive guard Duncen Millerberg (6-3, 290) also has started since he was a sophomore, and junior Dylan Wistisen (5-11, 260) got some reps in last year’s playoffs and mostly will play at defensive tackle.

Hit men • Tucker Bartels (5-9, 200) was a second-team all-state selection as a junior while being part of 117 tackles in 2016. He’ll be a presence at middle linebacker for his senior season and will get tackling support from Garrett Burke at strong safety and Bowles on the line. Expect Forbush and Kirkman to contribute on the defensive side of the ball, both at linebacker. Kirkman made 66 stops and Forbush added 43 in 2016.

Key returners • Ty Metcalfe, Sr. (QB); Alex Forbush, Sr. (RB/LB); Wyatt Bowles, Sr. (OT/DE); Tucker Bartels, Sr. (MLB)

Key losses • N.J. Mo’o, WR/FS; Brennon Jones, WR/CB; Zac Carter, DT/OG; Trey Oliver, LB.

The next wave • Cole Thompson, Sr. (WR/CB); Ty Burke, So. (WR/FS); Kaden Mueller, Sr. (CB); Sawyer Larson, Sr. (WR/CB).

Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune  
Syracuse DB/WR Nj Mo'o, left, intercepts this pass intended for Viewmont's Chandler Staffords during first half  play. Syracuse beat Viewmont 13-6, Friday, September 16, 2016. Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune  
The Syracuse sideline yells after WR Nj Mo'o ran a punt back to midfield during first half play. Syracuse beat Viewmont 13-6, Friday, September 16, 2016. Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune  
Syracuse WR/DB Nj Mo'o after intercepting a pass during first half play. Syracuse beat Viewmont 13-6, Friday, September 16, 2016. Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune  
Viewmont tries in vain to block a Syracuse PAT in the early Fall twilight. Syracuse beat Viewmont 13-6, Friday, September 16, 2016. Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
West Jordan's Forest Rich with the 1-yard touchdown. Syracuse High School battles West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
West Jordan's quarterback Dylan Krans looks for the pass. Syracuse High School  West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Syracuse's Alex Forbush with the 1-yard touchdown. Syracuse High School  West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Syracuse High School fans prepared for the rain and the showers from soda cans in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Syracuse quarterback Ty Metcalfe is sacked.  Syracuse High School battles West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
West Jordan's Preston Michaelson with the catch. Syracuse High School  West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
West Jordan's Forest Rich with the dive into the end zone for a touchdown. Syracuse High School battles West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
West Jordan's Preston Michaelson with the catch. Syracuse High School  West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Pass intended for Syracuse's NJ Mo'o is knocked down by West Jordan's Adrian Moctezuma.  Syracuse High School  battles West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Syracuse's Brennon Jones touchdown is negated with an illegal man downfield. Syracuse High School battles West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
West Jordan's Michael Ponce flies through the air after getting tripped up by Syracuse's NJ Mo'o. Syracuse High School battle West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Syracuse High School  West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Syracuse's Brennon Jones with the catch before his is pushed out of bounds by West Jordan's Jacob Yada. Syracuse High School battles West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.
Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
West Jordan's Mack Wakley gets the catch knocked down by NJ Mo'o. Syracuse High School  West Jordan High School in the opening round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Friday, October 28, 2016.

from The Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/sports/high-school-sports/football/2017/07/27/prep-football-syracuse-titans-preview

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