Rebels Return Eight Starters on Defense
Following a pair of successful seasons, the Stark County Rebels could make a deep postseason run this fall. The Rebels had to match up with Orion in the first round of the IHSA Class 2A playoffs a year ago, ending their season with a hard fought, 24-21 loss to the Chargers. Stark County is just two years removed from making a run to Champaign and playing in the 2008 Class 1A state championship game. There are several players that are still in the Rebels program that saw time in that title game.
Stark County will rely on its defense, with eight starters back from last year's squad. The team's leading tackler, Kyle Milroy (6'2" 195 Jr.) is coming off a campaign where he notched 78 tackles from the Linebacker position. Other Linebackers returning are; Dalton Miller (6'2" 205 Jr.), and Aaron Nunez (5'9" 200 Sr.). Nunez was a starting Linebacker for the 2008 championship squad as a sophomore, and did not play football as a junior. Up front, Dylan Miller (6'2" 240 Jr.) and Ethan Ely (6'5" 240 Sr.) are the Defensive Tackles, while Calvin Lewis (6'5" 245 Sr.) will be at Defensive End. Lewis is garnering Division-1 interest. In the secondary, Kyle Copeland (5'11" 190 Sr.) and Tyler Frisby (5'9" 195 Sr.) are back. "Our defense should lead us early as we break in a new quarterback this season," coach Jade Noard said.
Two quarterbacks could be in a battle over the summer, with Bryce Paxson (6'3" 205 Jr.) and Justin Kohler (6'0" 190 So.) both holding down that position. Despite the absence of a quarterback returning, there are seven starters back on offense. In the backfield, Copeland and Frisby should see a bulk of the workload on the ground. Frisby was the leading rusher a year ago, carrying the ball 57 times for 786 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 5 games, earning All-Conference in the West Prairie Trail's Northwest division. The Rebels have been running a spread formation, and could again air the ball out this season. Calvin Lewis is back as the leading receiver, catching 40 passes for 638 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior at End. Lewis needs just seven receptions to eclipse 100 career receptions, and is 616 yards away from 2,000 career receiving yards.
On the other side, Kyle Milroy will hold down the other End spot. On the offensive line, Dylan Miller is back at Center, Derrick Frisby (5'9" 250 Jr.) returns at Guard, and Ethan Ely is back at Tackle. "We have many returning starters, which will be helpful with the opening part of the schedule. Our season record will most likely hinge on how well we make it through the first four weeks."
Other newcomers for the Rebels will be; Clint Kelly (6'4" 205 Sr. OT), and Ryan Hansard (5'9" 155 Sr. WR/DB), Bryce Paxson (6'3" 205 Jr. QB/LB), and Justin Kohler (6'0" 190 So. QB/DB). Last season, Hansard started three games at Wide Receiver, and Kohler started three games at Defensive Back. Paxson started two games at Linebacker a year ago.
It is a new-look conference for Stark County in 2010, sort of. With the disbanding of the West Prairie Trail Conference, the Lincoln Trail Conference is back for football. Five of the ten teams in the league were playoff qualifiers in 2009. "Mercer County has won or shared our conference title all four years we've been in their conference, until that streak is stopped I think they are the preseason favorite. With five teams that are new to our schedule or new co-ops, the conference is a little of an unknown this season." The league consists of Stark County, Mercer County, Annawan/Wethersfield, United, Princeville, West Prairie, (Biggsville) West Central, Mid-County (Galva/ROWVA co-op), Ridgewood (Alwood/Cambridge co-op), and River Valley (Midland/Henry/Lowpoint-Washburn co-op).
Jade Noard has coached Stark County for five seasons, guiding the team to a (38-18) record over that timespan. He was a four-year letterwinner at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, where he played Quarterback. Assistants for the Rebels this season will be; Terry Kochis, Scott Paxson, Dustin Browning, Lonnie Dennison, Gabe Barta, and Taul Noard.
The latter, is the younger brother of Jade Noard. He was most recently the head coach for the now-defunct Alwood/ROWVA co-op. They are the sons of legendary football coach, Galen Noard, who had coaching stints at Atkinson, Roseville, and Biggsville Union.
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