BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
Coach: Keith Mora, seventh year, 24-35
Last Year: 8-0 (6-0 N8FC)
Key Players: Cade McCarthy, RB/DB, Sr.; Wyatt Caskey, TE/LB, Sr.; D.J. Webster, OL/DL, Sr.
Outlook: Danbury had great success last season in its inaugural year of playing 8-man football. Behind 10 juniors and seniors, the Lakers won all eight of their games and dominated the competition.
“Obviously, there’s a new standard that’s been laid out because of the success we had last year. We want to continue to raise the bar and meet those standards,” said Danbury coach Keith Mora. “For us, it’s about being consistent. We want to be strong across the board. That means winning league championships or winning records.
“We had 14 players on our roster last year, and 10 of them were juniors and seniors. It’s the same as if you were going to ask the best school in the SBC, and they’d tell you they had a dominant group of upperclassmen.
“We were fortunate enough to never really have to dip down into our lower class. We had four sophomores, only one of them got a heavy amount of playing time.”
Jacob Mischler is the quarterback, and he’ll be joined in the backfield by Cade McCarthy and Guy Maltese, who will play running back and wide receiver. Andy Zelms is the split end and Wyatt Caskey is the tight end.
The line includes center Connor McCarthy and guards D.J. Webster and Danny Harris. Webster is a four-year starter who stands 6-5 and weighs 320 pounds.
On defense, Danbury has its personnel spread across the line and among the linebackers and in the secondary.
Webster is the nose guard and Maltese and Connor McCarthy are the defensive ends. Harris and Caskey are the linebackers and Elijah Hatfield is the safety. Zelms and Cade McCarthy are the cornerbacks.
Mora sees Hatfield and Josh Mischler as two guys who could surprise this season.
“Josh Mischler, the twin brother of Jacob, has consistently bought into the weight room. I think he’s someone who, when put in the right positions, could do some good things for us. He already comes into the games and does some good things for us,” said Mora. “Elijah Hatfield, he’s new to our district. He walked in and was probably the second or third fastest player. He could surprise some people, too.”
The Lakers, who went 6-0 in the Northern 8 Football Conference last year, plays Stryker, Holgate and Britton Deerfield, located in Michigan, two times apiece. Then Danbury faces St. Mary Central Catholic, Toledo Christian and Climax-Scotts, also a Michigan school.