The building process on the gridiron at London High School is underway, unfortunately for Red Raiders fans the process may be a little lengthy.
There’s no quick fix, no easy way of doing it. In order for London football team to become a winning program again it’s going to take hard work and dedication, a couple qualities new Red Raiders coach Kyle Cutler knows something about.
“We are really, really young,” Cutler said. “We only have three seniors. The guys here are getting use to a culture change. We’re doing things at a different tempo and pace. We’re teaching them a lot of new things.
“The kids here have a desire and want to win. We’re trying to teach them how to win. We’re trying to improve our football IQ and teaching new concepts and schemes.”
Cutler, a Jonathan Alder High School graduate, who most recently served as the defensive coordinator at Bishop Ready, comes to London with the intent of teaching the fundamentals and eventually restoring the pride in the Red Raiders football program.
He’s looking to a program not too far away as inspiration for his journey.
“People probably don’t want to hear this but West Jefferson is a great example of what we’re looking to do,” the coach said. “They’ve gotten their kids and community to buy in and Shawn (Buescher) has something special going over there.”
Prior to the West Jeff that exists today, the Roughriders program was down in the dumps prior to the arrival of Buescher. Like where London is now, West Jefferson had a long history of winning, but years of hard times completely decimated the program. The administration there went with a young coach, allowed him to bring his guys in and were patient as he built the program into what it is today.
The Roughriders won a grand total of three games in Buescher’s first two years. But he slowly rebuilt the program into the juggernaut it is today.
A turnaround likely isn’t going to happen right away, which means the team must get itself ready for this season.
“Football comes down to fundamentals the blocking and tackling and all that good stuff,” Cutler said. “We need to improve on those things on a daily basis.”
On the offensive side of the ball junior Zane Foucht will take over the quarterbacking duties.
“He was the JV quarterback last year,” the coach said. “He’s a good athlete and he’s made a drastic improvement since we started.”
When the Raiders (2-8 a year ago) throw the ball it’ll likely be in the direction of 6-4 junior wide receiver Michael Johnson. The brother combo of senior JT Martin and junior Ben Martin will get the first chances to carry the ball, but in no way are those positions set in stone. With a number of younger guys learning the system, there’s a chance one of them could really come along in the upcoming weeks.
Juniors Jacob Sollars and Hayden Thompson are a rarity, Red Raiders linemen with varsity experience.
“Those two should be the anchors on the offensive line,” Cutler said. “As for who else is going to be there? That has me up thinking at 3 a.m.”
On the defensive side of the ball a couple freshmen could see significant playing time.. In fact as players gain experience the makeup of the defense could change dramatically as the season goes on.
London will open the season at home against Urbana on Aug. 29 and will have a number of big games on the schedule. Including a non-league clash with Cutler’s former bunch Bishop Ready on Sept. 12, a game at rival Madison-Plains on Sept. 26 and a season-ending tilt with West Jefferson on Oct. 31.
“There’s some parity in this league and it gives us some hope for the future,” the coach said
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.