The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

July 10, 2014

Young FSHS receivers ready to burst onto scene

FAIRMONT — In high school sports, each year could be labeled as a rebuilding year as top players graduate and new ones emerge.

While Fairmont Senior isn’t ready to call their season a rebuilding one, they will have a new group of playmakers stepping in at a key position: wide receiver.

Last year, Fairmont Senior led an elite passing attack in the Big 10, featuring three of the top 10 receivers in the group. Neil Scherich caught 26 passes for 703 yards. Luke Hrapchak caught 24 passes for 372 yards, and Ryder Skarzinksi caught 24 passes for 355 yards.

But this year, all three of those pass-catchers are gone, two of them signing to play collegiate football and the other signing to run track in college.

Now the Polar Bears turn to a younger group of receivers as they look to have the same type of success, and then some, this season.

“The receiving corps right now is the strongest part of our team. It’ll help (quarterback) Dom (Smith) by them running the correct routes and knowing where they’re supposed to be,” Fairmont Senior coach J.L. Abbott said during his team’s three-week live period. “I think our seniors did a good job of leading. They left their mark.”

Leading the way for the new-look group is speedster Nick Davisson.

Davisson finished 14th in the Big 10 in receiving last year, hauling in 20 passes for 454 yards, finishing fourth on the team in receptions but second in terms of yardage. And he thinks he learned a good deal from the guys before him.

“We’ve just got to work hard and learn from those guys,” Davisson said of last year’s group of seniors. “We had three All-State guys last year, so you’ve got to try to fill in their place.”

Davisson will look to fill the shoes of Scherich, who could either beat guys down the field for a fade route or catch a screen and take it to the house just by turning on the afterburners.

Sharing the same type of speed, Davisson thinks he can fill the void well.

“He was a hard worker, a fast guy,” Davisson said of Scherich. “He and I kind of have the same quickness factor. I learned a lot from him about working hard.”

With Hrapchak and Skarzinksi tending to come out of the backfield, Davisson sat on the outside as a secondary option last season, but that doesn’t make his field time any less valuable, especially with a young team like this.

“Last year I got some playing time, but now I’ve got to come in this year and be the No. 1 target,” Davisson added.

Along with the speedy wideout, junior quarterback Dom Smith will turn to guys like Michael Nuzum, TJ Jones and Talon Miller as receiving threats.

Jones, who has seen time as a cornerback, hopes to provide Smith with a nice target, boasting a slightly bigger frame than his 6-foot-2, 170-pound listing last season.

“We’re tickled to death to have him back,” Abbott said of the big receiver. “We’re expecting big things out of him.”

Last season, Jones tallied 10 catches for 136 yards for the Polar Bears.

With Davisson and Jones, Fairmont Senior has a nice mix of possession and speed on the outside edges. Couple that with the shifty moves of Malik Boddy coming out of the backfield, the additions of Nuzum, Miller and players like Joseph Leon and Ben Taylor — who caught a collective 18 passes for 185 yards between the five of them — and Smith and company have plenty of options.

But who said depth was ever a bad problem to have?

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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