2020 HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEWS | WILLIAM CHRISMAN Bears to rely on experienced offense
Over the past few seasons, William Chrisman leaned on its defense to give itself the biggest chance of winning.
This year will be different, Bears head coach Matt Perry said.
Led by senior quarterback Osi Nauer, the Bears’ offense returns with the most experience from the 2019 season and could be a catalyst for them to improve on their 3-7 record from a year ago.
“I think we’re going to be better because we have experience and everyone knows the plays,” Nauer said. “We’re getting back in the groove of things. We should be good.”
Nauer, who also plays rugby, was an integral part of last year’s offense. This will be his second year as the quarterback after leading the team in rushing and passing last year. Carrying the ball has been his specialty, but the season he’s looking to become a better passer.
“He’s gained 15 pounds of muscle,” Perry said of Nauer. “He’s bigger, faster and stronger and he’s more comfortable.”
Added Nauer: “I think my passing has come a long way since last year. It should show on the field this year. I have more trust in my arm and so does my quarterback coach.”
But lining up behind the center won’t be his only duty on offense. There will be times when Perry will use Dayne Herl as the quarterback and move Nauer to the running back.
“He’s getting pushed (by Herl),” Perry said. “We’ve got a 1-2 punch at quarterback. It’s nice to have depth there.”
At running back, Chrisman will use a committee approach as Nauer, returning starter Kameron Thompson and Osi’s brother, freshman Lance Nauer, will see time carrying the ball. The latter is someone that Perry is really excited about.
“People will know who he is before his freshman year is over,” Perry said. “He’s going to make us look like really good coaches.
“He’s not as big or tall as Osi, but he moves his feet really well. He does like contact and likes to hit people.”
It will help the running backs’ cause that Chrisman will return four starters at the offensive line. Andru Campos, Alex Atagi, Hosea Miranda and James Blair all come back with at least one year of varsity experience.
“We have a couple of sophomore kids that we are working into that last spot,” Perry said. “Up front, we’re doing really good. Coach (Walt) Alexander has really got those kids playing hard and fast.
“We are never going to impress anyone with our size, but we’re getting off the ball well and that’s what we need.”
Tight end Ralph Covington, at 6-foot-3, will be a big target for Nauer and Herl.
“He’s going to be a matchup problem for people,” Perry said of Covington.
At wide receiver, returning starters Jayden Woods and Sir’rahn Felix will provide some speed on the corners.
“Sir’rahn has been one of the best receivers I have played with since I’ve been in high school,” Nauer said. “He should show out on the field this year.”
On defense, the Bears will have to fill some key holes left behind by standouts like Zachery Rowe and Marcus Wigfall. Osi Nauer will be the lone returner in the secondary as a safety. Thomas, Felix, Woods and Ishry Whitley could see time there, as well.
At linebacker, Covington, Mason Walters and Len’Trayle Brown make up the most experienced defensive unit for the Bears.
“(The linebackers) have put in the work and they are some of our stronger guys,” Walters said. “We have some fast guys there and they can make plays.”
On the defensive line, Taimane Key and Atagi come back to help the Chrisman pass rush.
“I think the defensive player of the game is going to be a different guy every week,” Perry said. “There’s some other guys that are stepping up. We’re not very big, so we will get blown off the ball a little bit.
“We have kids who aren’t heavy, but they’re long and fast off the ball, so I think that will cause some people problems.”
And new teams could see those problems as the Suburban Conference realignment will have the Bears playing new opponents, including Grain Valley, Park Hill South and Smithville. That will prove to be a challenge as Chrisman looks to improve its record from last season.
“I think we can push our record up a little bit from last year,” Perry said. “Our schedule didn’t get any easier. The team’s we added to our schedule are going to be really good. We lost a couple of teams in our conference, too. And those teams are not as good as the ones we gained. We don’t have the big, physical monsters like Blue Springs, but I think the teams we have are more consistent. We will be challenged every week.”
Bears at a glance
Head coach: Matthew Perry, fourth year (15-17 at Chrisman, 108-60 overall.
Assistant coaches: John McCall, Gene Weir, Walt Alexander, Tom Sao, Terry McCray, George Sutton, Trenton Perry, Cody Pastorella, John Branch, Gannon Ogle.
2019 record: 3-7 (2-4 Suburban Middle Seven)
Returning letter winners: 15
Returning offensive starters: Osi Nauer, 6-0, 215, sr., QB/RB; Kameron Thompson, 5-9, 175,jr., RB; Sir’Rahn Felix, 6-0, 165, soph., WR; Ralph Covington, 6-3, 228, jr., TE; Mason Walters, 6-0, 195, sr. FB; Alex Atagi, 6-4, 215, sr., T; Andru Campos, 5-10, 200, jr., G, Hosea Miranda, 6-0, 220, jr., C; James Blair, 5-8, 265, jr., G.
Returning defensive starters: Mason Walters, 5-10, 200, sr., LB; Ralph Covington, 6-3, 228, jr. LB; Osi Nauer, 6-0, 205, sr., S; Alex Atagi, 6-4, 215, sr., DE; Taimane Key, 6-0, 210, jr., DE.
Others to watch: Dayne Herl, 6-4, 185, jr., QB; Demaurian Jones, 6-4, 260, jr., T; SaVion Lankford, 6-3, 220, soph., G; Jayden Woods, 5-10, 155, sr., DB; Jalen White, 5-10, 160, sr., DB; Jovian Negrete, 5-6. 250, sr. DL; Icheari Whitley, 5-7, 185, sr. DB; Lentrayle Brown, 5-10, 185, 185, sr., LB; Nathan Campos, 5-10, 194, soph., LB; Lance Nauer, 5-7, 195, soph., LB; Payton Meierer, 6-0, 195, soph, DL.