The Colfax Falcons have been hitting it hard all summer in preparation for the upcoming football season.
Returning impact players are sharpening their skills and juniors are stepping up to fill roles vacated by graduated players.
With quarterback Michael Wilson, along with trio of senior wide receivers and a handful of defensive studs no longer gracing the gridiron for the Falcons, there are plenty of new faces to follow.
Head coach Tony Martello said there are some big shoes to fill, with several standout players having moved on, but that his current players have stepped up and he expects big things.
“We’re improving our skill sets, getting stronger and faster and moving in the right direction,” Martello said.
Here are a handful of Falcons to keep an eye on for the 2014 football season:
Tim Rawlins, Senior, RB
As a junior, Rawlins added a much needed ground game to the already impressive Falcons passing attack. After missing the first four games, Rawlins ended the regular season on a tear and carried it into the playoffs.
In only eight total games, Rawlins ran for 1,014 yards and six touchdowns on 130 carries and was named to the All-Pioneer Valley League First team. In the Falcons two playoff games, the shifty back topped the century mark in both games for a total of 280 yards.
As a sophomore, he tallied 694 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.
“He’s a little bit stronger and maybe a tick faster this year,” said Martello. “I feel like he has such a good feel for our run game and has a knack for finding soft spots in the defense.”
Marcus Jackson, Senior, QB
The 6-foot, 2-inch Jackson played wide receiver (22 receptions, 140 yards, five touchdowns) and carried the ball at times (49 rushes, 313 yards) in his junior-year campaign, but as a senior he will be taking the snaps for Colfax.
“He started playing scout team quarterback last year and when he threw the ball, we realized he was pretty accurate,” Martello said. “His pivots were great, his handoffs were good and he showed skills.”
Martello said he has seen marked improvement throughout the summer and is confident the first year quarterback can get the job done.
Beau Baggett, Junior, LB
Baggett was second on the team in tackles last season with 98 total (62 solo), and will be counted on heavily with the departure of All-league linebacker Jake Medeiros.
“(Baggett) worked extremely hard last season, learning to read the offense and developed a strong skill set,” said Martello.
As a sophomore, Baggett also tallied two sacks, had six tackles for a loss, blocked a field goal, forced a fumble and recovered one.
Sam LaHaie, Senior, DB
LaHaie will lead the Falcons secondary as the lone returning starter in Colfax’s defensive backfield. LaHaie is a strong tackler with 61 (44 solo) from his safety position last season.
LaHaie also showed his skill as a returner last season with five returns, averaging 44.6 yards per return with a long of 80.
The Falcons open the season Aug. 29 when they travel to face Argonaut in Jackson. Colfax faces Northern Section D-III champ Winters the following week.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.