COLUMBIANA – Ohio – (WKBN) – With every pass, every completion, Columbiana’s Mitch Davidson sets the mark for offensive records in Clipper football history. He holds practically every offensive passing record that is on the books. But this year the 5’11 senior quarterback has a whole new stable of receivers surrounding him.
Gone from the Clippers line up from last year are receivers Jake Ward, Cooper Smith, and Dalton Miller, along with tight end Nate Armstrong and tail back Dylan Davin. Ward, Miller and Smith accounted for over 2,000 receiving yards of Davidson’s 2,526 total yards last fall.
So it will be vital for Davidson to develop some chemistry with a new set of receivers if the Clippers hope to have another successful season in 2016. So far that has ben the focus of the offense.
“It’s definitely been new and exciting,” Davidson admitted. “We have new guys stepping up and are stepping into the positions of who played last year like (Jake) Ward and Dalton (Miller). They are all being given equal opportunities. So each day we work with them and see who can play and go from there.”
Some of those who are trying out to be on the receiving end of Davidson’s aerials include senior Connor Stacey, junior Jarrett Nemick, and senior tail back Tanner Pearl. According to Clippers head coach Bob Spaite they seem to be meshing with the standout quarterback, “So far very well. We’ll see as the season wears on.”
With so many new faces in the receiving corps for Davidson, this past off-season, and especially the summer 7 on 7 scrimmages proved vital for him and his receivers to get on the same page, “It was definitely important,” Davidson remarked. “It helped those guys learn how to run their routes and how to get open, and run from a defender so I think it helped both them and me get use to each other and get a chemistry going.”
Spaite echoed those thoughts concerning the importance of the 7 on 7 scrimmages, “It was very, very important. More so this year than any other.”
Although the Clippers passing attack might not be clicking this Friday night as it did last October, Davidson is very confident that they are rounding into shape, “For sure, it’s definitely new throwing to new guys this year, but I’m definitely getting use to them and we are getting that chemistry going and we should click even more throughout the year.”
“Hopefully we continue to be an explosive group on offense,” Spaite added. “If we can come close to last year it should be a lot of fun to watch.”
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One added bonus for the Clippers in 2016 is the return all of the their offensive line and tail back Tanner Pearl. Pearl started the last four regular season games in 2015, racking up 421 rushing yards.
“If our passing game is not going well, which I hope it doesn’t, we can always lean on Tanner and our line because we have everybody back so hopefully our ground game can help our passing game out,” Davidson said.
As far as Davidson himself, he is focused on limiting turnovers, “Always my main goal is limited the turnovers. Turnovers can cost games and last year that was a big priority as we only had four. So if we can commit less than that we should be good.”
Davidson also realizes that the Clippers will have a bulls eye on their backs as the defending ITCL White Tier champions, “Knowing that you won it last year everyone is going to have a target on your back. So you have to come out each game and not take it lightly. So every game is going to be a big game.”
Area high school football fans will get to see if Davidson and his receivers have developed that chemistry this Friday when they are on our “Game of the Week” against Western Reserve on WYFX FOX Youngstown.