By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
A two-year starter makes a coach’s job easier. A three-year starter makes a coach happy.
Having three players who are three-year starters is a luxury for a coach.
That is what the Belvidere Bucs and Head Coach Matt Weckler have going into this season. Marcus Gooden, Kyle Harris and Troy Vandenbroek are all back as the starting offensive backfield, giving their offense a leg up on the competition.
“It will allow us to do a lot of different things,” Weckler said. “What we are able to do with those guys coming back, we can do a lot of different things that people haven’t seen from us before.”
Gooden is the star. Despite not getting the attention of other star running backs in the conference, opposing coaches are well aware of what he brings to the offense, not to mention being an all-conference linebacker.
Harris is the anchor, playing running back and safety. He is not a player who makes a lot of flashy plays, but almost always makes the right plays.
Vandenbroek is the quarterback, the position that gets the most attention. After making his first start as a freshman at Boylan, the junior continues to get better every day.
“We have practice set up, and we put him in situations that he hasn’t seen before, which hopefully will help him out and help his maturity,” Weckler said. “We have one more year with him to get better, and we keep putting more on his plate and expect more out of him.”
The Bucs were hard-luck losers last year in the conference. A quick glance at the standings shows a team that lost more than they won.
But for those who watched the Bucs and dug deep, there was a team that lost a lot of close games. And Weckler said it is easy to point to the reason why.
“The big thing last year was turnovers,” he said. “We’ve emphasized that in a major way from the first day of summer camp all the way through practices so far. Just hanging on to the ball, and with Troy’s maturity, we’re putting him in a position where he doesn’t have to make those tough throws.”
From the Aug. 17-23, 2011, issue