DALTON -- Smashmouth football was the game plan for the Wahconah football team last season.
Quarterback Ethan Wells led the way with 934 rushing yards, while adding 688 more yards passing. That production led to him being named the All-Eagle MVP.
While it may seem difficult to duplicate Wells’ work on the ground, senior quarterback Nick Clayton has proven he can be deadly through the air.
Replacing an injured Wells, Clayton entered in the second quarter of the second game of the season against Chicopee Comp. He passed for three touchdowns, leading Wahconah to 30-14 win. Over the next two games Clayton threw for 321 yards and five touchdowns, both Wahconah victories. Now he’ll have to adjust to being the full-time starter.
"It’s not much different," Clayton said when asked about being the starter at quarterback, "it’s just working with the first team more often. That’s about it."
Wahconah head coach Gary Campbell Jr., said he enjoys the year-to-year turnover of high school football rosters because it forces him to constantly switch his schemes to fit his personnel.
With big receiving targets Cole Morrison and Ryan Washburn, along with Matt Salvatore on the outside, Campbell and Clayton have plenty of options when deciding where to go with the ball.
"There’s going to be a definite lean to maybe throwing the ball more, because that’s [Nick’s] particular skill set," Campbell said.
Clayton may not have the wheels of Wells, but one part of his game that he hopes to emulate is his leadership
"[Wells] is mentally tough and tough all-around," he said. "He’s a good leader and he brings always brings the guys together."
After the first week of practice, Clayton seems to be earning the respect of his fellow team captains.
"He stepped up last year big for us, so I expect him to do the same," senior lineman Sean Rice said. "I think he believes in himself also."
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