MIDDLEBURG – With weights slamming on the concrete floor and lots of yelling, the Middleburg High Broncos football team looked slammed full of vigor on an early morning weight session as mid-July sees coach Karl Smeltzer seemingly content with the progress heading into August.
“How far you say before pads?” questioned Smeltzer. “We go shells first, then pads. Thus far, accountability and responsibility, led by senior Cole LeClair, seems to be what has kept up the most with this senior group.”
LeClair, an All County, All State lineman for Smeltzer, comes into the 2019 campaign with 25 fellow seniors to push the Broncos into what could be a transformational season.
“We made the playoffs two years ago, but got hit with a ton of injuries last year and that stopped our season,” said Smeltzer. “Two incidents have been important to this summer being productive; one, some freshman were talking during a ‘character’ class and Cole told them to straighten up and, two, Cole asked if we could get an ‘NC’ decal, no complaining, for the helmets. He’s not a loud guy, but he makes his point.”
Smeltzer has put his Bronco offense and secondary through a handful of 7 v 7 passing scrimmages with good outings against Clay and, most recently Oakleaf.
“In the defensive secondary, Taj Gonzalves and Trevor Shearin have played big in those scrimmages, while Joe Justino, at quarterback, has been sharp with his passes,” said Smeltzer. “We have three bonafide targets for Joe; Jay Lane, Luron Bryant and Trevor Todd that we can throw to to keep the ball moving. Trevor has been a solid under route throw that opens up Jay and Luron over the top.”
One highlighted name was 5’-7” cornerback Calvin Suggs, who has used his position savvy to knocked down passes to much taller pass catchers.
“They kept throwing at him at Santa Fe in the spring game and he kept knocking them down,” said Smeltzer. “Our ball skill guys will be expected to go both ways until we get guys up to speed as the season progresses.”
Smeltzer rated his Broncos at ready to go with playbook sessions going well.
“We have few things to put in, but we have seen the boys learn the new inputs quickly,” said Smeltzer. “This is a very mature group of seniors that have had to play since sophomore year for most.”