Editor's Note: Here’s a look at the Baker School football team's offense by position. Our June 4-6 edition will feature a look at the Gator defense.
BAKER — The Baker School football team's summer workouts start June 9, and the Gators are trying to repeat as District 1-1A champions this fall.
The team enters summer drills coming off a 41-34 win over Chipley in the May 22 game.
Baker Coach Matt Brunson, who installed a new spread, hurry up offense spring, said the summer will be spent getting the Gators in the condition needed to run a fast-paced attack.
The team must replace tailback D.J. Thomas, who last year rushed for more than 2,000 yards. The good news is plenty of talent returns. And in Brunson’s system, if a player sticks around long enough and puts in the work, he will have a chance to play by senior year.
Jon Beck, a rising junior who returns as the starter, started a few games as a freshman when then-senior Adam Crowson went down with an injury.
Beck started every game last year and threw for more than 1,000 yards. Beck, a high jumper on the track team, has the athleticism needed to excel in the spread offense and the arm to get the ball down the field to open receivers.
Beck is solidly entrenched as the starting quarterback, but Brunson has other options if he’s unable to play.
Austin Davis, a rugged runner with a strong arm, can do many of the things Beck does, and the Gators won’t miss a beat with Davis in the shotgun attack.
The third option at quarterback is rising senior David Oglesby. Oglesby, the backup quarterback last year, also plays receiver and will be a key contributor on the field at several positions on both sides of the football.
Austin Martin enters the summer as the man to beat to replace Thomas at tailback. Martin, a two-year starter at outside linebacker on defense, Thomas' backup, showed he is more than capable of carrying the larger share of the load.
When Martin needs a breather, Davis will have a chance to carry the football. Tristan Carroll also will see playing time at tailback.
Montae Barto has a big body that will be called on in short yardage, power situations.
Barto also will see time at fullback and possibly tight end.
The Gators showed they could throw the long ball against Chipley off a series of play action passes and straight passing routes.
Jacob Nixon will likely be the first option for the deep ball, but he’s far from the only threat on the outside.
Josh Mayhew is a speedster that can stretch a defense. Oglesby is a reliable pass catcher that can get free and break off big plays.
Jonathan Gatewood will be an option at tight end as will Barto. Both Gatewood and Barto are big physical players that will block and can cause problems for smaller defenders.
Brunson is pleased with the progress off the offensive line that must replace starters Zach Way, Dakota Campbell and Jake Rainey. Fortunately for the Gators rising junior Bubba Ellis returns to anchor the line at center.
Ellis’ ability to execute the shotgun snap could make or break the Gator offense this fall.
Brunson said Ellis is transitioning nicely to the long snap and was perfect during the spring game and an earlier scrimmage.
Dakota Blackburn is the other returning starter from last year’s offensive line and will play a big part in opening holes for Gator ball carriers and protecting the quarterbacks.
Ben Martin and Calvin Blakenship are a couple of other players to watch as Baker rebuilds the offensive front.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.