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2021 Team Preview: Bucktail Bucks

Written by: on Saturday, August 7th, 2021. Follow David Mika on Twitter.



Head Coach: Jared Hurlbert

Assistant Coaches: Tony Kopp, Chuck Cross, Steve Fantaski, Casey Friese

Team Name: Bucktail Bucks

2020 Record: 1-7

District: 4

Class: A

League: Northern Tier League, Small School Division

Key Starters Lost:
RB/LB Gage Sutliff
OL/DL Paul Risley
OL Josh Linberg
Cameron Sockman
Gunner Sockman
DL Alex Kitchen
NG Will Kelley

Offensive Starters Returning:
SR OL Evan Ransdorf 6-1 220
Evan Schoonover 5-10 200
Yorick Smith 5-10 185
SR QB Dylan Cross 5-11 170
SR RB/DB Conner Mason 5-11 190
SR TE/LB Zach Pick 6-2 210
SR WR/DB Tristan Probst 6-1 185
SR OL/DL Ashton Intallura 5-11 185
SO WR/DB Kyler Friese 5-9 175
Braylon Fantaski 5-10 170
SO RB/LB Tanner Pettingill 6-1 220

Defensive Starters Returning:
DL Evan Ransdorf 6-1 220
DB Dylan Cross 5-11 170
DB Conner Mason 5-11 190
SR LB Zach Pick 6-2 210
SR DB Tristan Probst 6-1 185
SR DL Ashton Intallura 5-11 185
SO DB Kyler Friese 5-9 175
Braylon Fantaski 5-10 170
SO LB Tanner Pettingill 6-1 220

Special Team Starters Returning:
SR P/K Ashton Intallura 5-11 185

Key Newcomers:
FR QB/WR/DB Brody Pentz
FR OL/DL Ethan Kalafut
FR WR Gavin Yachymiak

2021 Outlook:

Offense: We have a very young offense in terms of age, but most of them started or saw significant time as freshmen and should be quality contributors this year. We have an athletic senior QB in Dylan Cross who makes smart plays and is very calm under pressure. We also have a freshman QB Brody Pentz who will get reps at QB and WR as he learns the offense as he is pretty athletic and can help us out. We have all of our wide receivers returning and all of them with the exception of one is an underclassman. Most of the guys have put in good time in the weight room and our senior WR Tristan Probst has improved tremendously in both strength and ability in the offseason.

Probably our most improved wideout is SO Braylon Fantaski as he dedicated himself in the offseason to improve his strength, speed, route running, and catching. You can tell that he put in a tremendous amount of time improving all of those. We also have a handful of other skill position players that will make an impact, including SR RB Conner Mason. Conner is another kid who put in a lot of time in the weight room and should be ready to handle his share of the load this season. Conner was the change of pace back last year when we needed a faster back and he doesn’t seem to have lost a step this year.

We are also looking forward to SR TE Zach Pick to help us keep the defense honest. He has the ability to lay a solid block, run the football, and probably has the most proven hands on the team thus far. He is also a solid kid at 6’2, 210lbs.

For us to be successful on offense this year we need to fill positions and execute the blocking assignments correctly. We have the size and ability- we just need to block it correctly and give the QB time to throw or make his reads. We have the skill position players, but we need to prove that we belong with the other teams.

Defense: Defensively we return our entire secondary, however, we are looking to fill positions at the LB and DL positions. We lost a significant DE in Paul Risley and Gage Sutliff at LB. We also had a couple of other players who developed quite nicely last year. We have a lot fewer questions to answer on defense as the players we have this year are all extremely aggressive and seem to want to hit.

With such a small team and school, every year we need to figure out who we have and where they fit in best. We return our secondary, and I would say that 2 or 3 of our hardest hitters make up our secondary. We have our 2nd leading tackler for the last two years in Dylan Cross. In order to be successful on defense, we need to play with discipline and aggression. Each player has to do their 1/11 and support their teammates.

Special Team: We return a few special teams starters, but we have a new special teams coordinator (Casey Friese) and a lot of new kids. So this remains a mystery, but it should be exciting!

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