FIVE STATE PLAYERS TO WATCH: CLASS 2-1A
BRAYDEN FRANCIS, SEDGWICK
5-10, 165, SENIOR, WR/DB
Francis might have been the breakout performer of the year in Class 2-1A last year. After catching just three passes for 26 yards as a sophomore, Francis blew up as a junior, becoming Sedgwick’s home run threat in the passing game and earning first-team All-2A honors. He caught a touchdown in all but one of Sedgwick’s 10 games, finishing with a school-record 15 touchdowns. Overall, Francis had 47 catches for 808 yards and is on track to break every Sedgwick receiving record.
HAYDEN GILLUM, PLAINVILLE
6-3, 260, SENIOR, DT/OG
On a Class 2-1A state runner-up Plainville team loaded with senior talent a year ago, Gillum was the unquestioned leader of a Cardinal defense which posted five shutouts. He led the team with 97 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss to earn first-team All-Class 2-1A honors at linebacker, but has added 40 pounds in the offseason and will line up at defensive tackle this season. He also was one of the Cardinals’ top blockers for an offense which averaged 402 yards per game.
CADEN GODFREY, MEADE
5-10, 200, SENIOR, OT/LB
As the lone returning starter to Meade’s offensive line, Godfrey will serve as the anchor for the unit in Justin Powell’s first year as head coach replacing the departed Scott Moshier. Godfrey is a three-year starter up front and will man the most important line spot in the Buffaloes’ single-wing attack, helping clear the way for what should be a potent ground attack. He also was Meade’s leading tackler a year ago with 69 tackles overall and 16 tackles for loss.
DALTON KUHN, SMITH CENTER
6-2, 230, SENIOR, OL/DE
Smith Center has been blessed with great linemen throughout the years and Kuhn is doing his best to leave his mark among the best of them. He anchored a powerful offense which averaged 36 points per game last year, but really keyed the defense with his presence on the end. Kuhn finished with 80 tackles including 15 for loss in leading the Redmen to the Class 2-1A state semifinals, earning first-team All-2-1A honors.
MAX WILSON, COLGAN
6-0, 185, SENIOR, RB/LB
As Colgan transitions from legendary coach Chuck Smith to new coach Shawn Seematter and his system, Wilson’s status as a team leader has risen to another level in the offsseason. Wilson already has established himself as a player to build around, leading the Panthers in both rushing (743 yards, 15 TDs) and tackles (67) a year ago. The second-team All-CNC back could enjoy big numbers in Seematter’s run-heavy offense.