Caught up in the "numbers game" on the depth chart last season, Versailles junior Steven Vinyard has made the most of his extended varsity playing time this season. His stint on the Versailles junior varsity in 2009 helped prepare him for his varsity role in 2010. Vinyard, who won the team's JV Player of the Year award last season, has developed into a consistent 2-way player on a team that's 4-1.
Scouting report and more inside
Caught up in the "numbers game" on the depth chart last season, Versailles junior Steven Vinyard has made the most of his extended varsity playing time this season. His stint on the Versailles junior varsity in 2009 helped prepare him for his varsity role in 2010.
Vinyard, who won the team's JV Player of the Year award last season, has developed into a consistent 2-way player on a team that's 4-1.
Although he saw minimal 2009 varsity playing time, Vinyward was someone Tigers coach Glen Lemmon thought could be an assest.
"He played really well on the J.V. for us last year," said of the free safety and receiver. "We knew he could be a pretty good player."
With then-senior Nathan Henderson holding down the free safety spot and the two cornerback spots filled, Vinyard didn't have much opportunity for playing time a year ago.
But he's hit the ground running through the first half of the '10 season.
He leads the Tigers in all receiving categories with 11 catches for 223 yards and five touchdowns.
Last year's leading receiver, Rex Loganbill, tallied 19 catches for 230 yards and four touchdowns — in 11 games.
Vinyard and quarterback Maurice Moyer have teamed up to improve Versailles' passing game this season.
The coaching staff seems to be growing more and more comfortable with the ball in Vinyard's hands.
Vinyard has been taking carries on jet sweep plays from the shotgun position, where he comes in motion from the slot position before the snap and takes the handoff from Moyer. Vinyard has put up 70 yards on 10 carries.
Defensively, Vinyard has 21 tackles and one interception. He's contributed on special teams, taking punt and kickoff returns as well as playing on kick coverage.
"He makes plays on special teams," Tigers junior Kyle Meyer said recently, noting that Vinyard recovered a muffed punt that led to Versailles' game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter of a win over Osage on Sept. 17.
Blair Oaks Falcons
Coach Brad Drehle
2010 record 4-1
2009 record 9-3 (8-2)
History The Falcons and Tigers battled in a 21-14 thriller that saw Blair Oaks quarterback Anthony Clutts throw the game-winning touchdown pass from five yards out with 40.4 seconds left in the game.
3 players to watch
Zac Stockman, senior RB/DB (4) — Stockman was a big part of the Falcons' effort to gain 332 rushing yards against Versailles a year ago. If the Tigers want to seal up their defense, they will need to hit Stockman early. The speedy senior moves up quickly from his safety position to prevent long runs.
Ben Cooper, junior WR/DB (13) — Cooper is quarterback Anthony Clutts' favorite receiving targets. The junior caught 25 passes for 287 yards in his sophomore season, but his breakout game was a 5 reception, 61 yard effort against Versailles.
Taylor Fifer, senior OL/DL (63) — The Tigers hope their 3-5 defensive front will create extra work for the Falcons' offensive linemen. On defense, Fifer fires off the ball well and will look to crash down on Maurice Moyer and Eddie Stevenson in the backfield.
Eddie Stevenson, senior RB/DB (3) — Stevenson carried the ball 23 times for 104 yards when Versailles played Blair Oaks in 2009. Fast Eddie figures to get more touches this time around.
Dane Wenger, senior RB/LB (32) — If history is any indication, every yard will matter when the Tigers meet the Falcons. Wenger will get carries to spell Stevenson on offense, and will need a big game defensively against a versatile Blair Oaks offense to keep Versailles in the hunt.
Justin Rea, senior LB (35) — Rea forced a fumble by throwing a hammer at Warsaw WR Ryan Spry last week as the Tigers mauled Warsaw. Against Blair Oaks, a big hit for the Versailles defense early could help set the tone against an always dangerous Falcons offense that usually mixes its runs and passes well.
— Rance Burger