Play up front is a key for Staley

08/19/2014 11:16 AM

08/19/2014 11:16 AM

Fred Bouchard realizes his thoughts on the Staley Falcons’ 2014 season will read like a set of cliches. But he feels they fit nonetheless.

A year after winning six games, the Falcons are set to return about half their starters on both sides of the ball. Yet so few of those returnees have experience on the offensive or defensive line.

And thus begins the coach’s speak.

“I try not to be full of hyperbole, but the season will come down to the play up front,” Bouchard said. “We have a good collection of skill kids on the offense side of the ball, and we have depth there, too. We feel good there. It’s going to be on the guys up front. If we develop there — and I think we will — we could be explosive.”

The talent across those skill positions starts with Bouchard’s adopted sons, running backs Kahluna and Faizol. Kahluna, a senior, ran for 1,558 yards and 14 touchdowns last season while averaging better than 10 yards per carry.

Senior Jordan Robben will likely be the man under center for the second straight season, though Michael Kilpatrick may see some snaps there too, Bouchard said.

The defense returns plenty of experience, starting with its linebacking corps. Senior Parker Mertz is set to start for the fourth straight season, with sophomore Eli Ross playing alongside him.

Defensive back Jacob Pfender is also back after totaling 70 tackles last season.

“It’s probably the same story there as on offense — we just have some questions up front,” Bouchard said. “We have some newcomers in the linemen spots who we think are good players, but they just haven’t played a lot. We’re excited to see what they can do.”

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