Football Preview: By air and by land, Page looks to defend regional title

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With some key pieces returning on offense, including their starting quarterback, the Page Patriots and coach Charles Rathbone are cautiously optimistic entering the 2019 season.

“We’ve got a lot of experience coming back,” Rathbone said. “Most of the other guys got a lot of playing time.”

Page finished 10-2 and lost in the second round of the playoffs to Beech a year ago, and the Pats are determined to get back to the postseason.

At the top of the important pieces list is senior quarterback Cade Walker. A prolific passer who can pick apart defenses, Walker is no stranger to throwing the football 40 or 50 times in a game. But this fall, the Pats may try to take a different approach, Rathbone said.

“We have to be smart how we run our offense,” he said. “Maybe we can try to run the ball and control the clock more, to take the pressure off Cade.”

In order to do that, Page will rely on the running back tandem of junior Ryan Rutland and senior Bubba Johnson, who transferred back to Page.

On the outside will be three seniors for Walker to target, in Til Cheshire, Miles Bonn and Hayes Barnett. Bonn has the most on-field experience, Rathbone said, but Barnett is one of the fastest players on the roster, so he can stretch the field.

Protecting Walker on the offensive line will be seniors Jacob Ball, Joel Meier and Cade Ashman, along with sophomore Owen Sacks. Three others are competing for the fifth spot: junior Tripp Hancock, senior Will Romero and senior Matt White.

Ball, Ashman and Max Van Landingham will line up on the defensive line primarily, with others rotating in, Rathbone said.

The linebacker corps of seniors Austin Harshaw and Nick Hurd, along with junior Hank White returns some experience, but the Pats are still trying to develop depth, Rathbone said.

As a whole, depth is a concern going into the season, with so many underclassmen having not seen much varsity action. Building that is one of the challenges early in the year, Rathbone said.

“Depth with our underclassmen is an issue,” he said. “We’re not going to know what they’ll do until they’re in those situations. We’ll see how they respond.”

In the secondary, Page will feature a quartet of seniors: Barnett, Brady Buckley, Colby Burns and Simon Simmonds.

Returning to handle all the kicking duties is senior Chase Tidmore, an all-state selection a year ago. Using him as both an offensive and defensive weapon will prove crucial.

This story and photos are included in the 2019 Williamson Herald High School Football Media Guide! Pick up your copy for stories like this, full schedules, predictions and more!

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