Things were quite simple for the Tallmadge Blue Devils’ offense last season. Hand the ball off to Tyler Fortner the majority of the time, and let him go to work.
This year Fortner is gone, along with 23 other seniors from last year’s the team.
``We’ll definitely be more balanced than last year, we ran nearly every down last year,’’ Tallmadge coach Joe Vassalotti said.
That means senior quarterback Thomas Linder, his first year as a starter, will have the chance to air it out some. Possibly to his brother, sophomore Tucker Linder, who will see time at tight end. Tucker Linder will also play defensive end. They are the sons of Kent State softball coach Karen Linder.
Senior Briar Ball has been a welcomed surprise for the Blue Devils through its preseason scrimmages. He will take over at tail back and outside linebacker.
Senior inside linebacker-fullback Ryan Peterson has also become a physical presence and now a two-way starter, this will be his first year as starter too.
With so many new faces, Vassalotti knows his team will have to play mistake free football Friday night against Nordonia.
“There is nothing like a real game to show you true colors, so we will see what we are made of,” Vassalotti said.
Game One: Nordonia (0-0, 0-0 NOC) @ Tallmadge (0-0, 0-0 Suburban League)
When: 7 p.m. Friday