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Back on the gridiron

Taylor football team prepared for 2015 campaign

By Chris Yingling | Echo

Freshman quarterback Everett Pollard lobs a pass during Wednesday’s scrimmage.

Freshman quarterback Everett Pollard lobs a pass during Wednesday’s scrimmage.

Adam Sauder lowers his shoulder, gets in position and wallops the opposing running back. It’s all in a day’s practice for the senior safety, who has logged over 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons, along with a career-high 116 takedowns in 2014.

Sauder is one of three Trojans who have been tabbed as Preseason All-Americans for Taylor for the 2015 season. Senior wide receiver Shawn Lashbrook and senior tight end Hans Lundberg also received honors along with Sauder.

The three senior playmakers will attempt to help their team improve the 5–6 record from last season. While the Trojans impressed at home with a 3–1 mark in Upland, the real fall was on the road, as Taylor posted a subpar 2–5 in away games.

Head coach Ron Korfmacher hopes to shore up that number starting his team off with a tough slate of games at home. Following the traditional Wagon Wheel game on Sept. 5, Taylor will host the University of Saint Francis and Butler, two of the hardest teams on the schedule.

“He has great presence from the pocket,” Korfmacher said. “He makes good throws, he makes smart throws and he gets the ball out in time. He can also tuck it in and run the ball as well.”

Pollard should have plenty to work with this year. The Taylor offense is stacked with talent in the receiving core, giving Pollard weapons in the passing game. Lashbrook comes back after an injury-plagued 2014 that still saw him lead the team with 431 receiving yards and four touchdowns in just four games. A healthy Lashbrook will make the offense more efficient. Seniors Andrew Sheard and Michael Miller will add depth and multiple viable targets to the offense.

Lundberg, who also missed time last year with a hand injury, is back and recovered for the Trojans. The Preseason All-American tight end reeled in 20 catches for 189 yards and three scores in eight games last season. Lundberg hauled in game-winning scores against Robert Morris and Saint Ambrose.

On defense, Sauder looks to capitalize on his incredible 2014 campaign. Sauder’s six interceptions and 116 tackles earned him a spot as one of the top safeties in the nation, according to InstantScouting. Senior Tyler Mills joins Sauder as one of the returning defensive backs.

The front seven will be manned by senior linebacker Nathaniel Ryan along with senior defensive lineman Jake Venable and junior Josh Keith. Juniors Jay Johnson and Stanley Gilbert will provide depth on the interior of the defensive line.

While the team lost much of its veteran leadership, Korfmacher is optimistic that this year’s class is up to the task of earning a winning record.

“We lost some, but we’ve got a good group of guys coming in,” Korfmacher said. “Our goal above anything else is that league title. We’re looking at the process to get there, but a league title is in reach.”

Taylor will kick off the season with the Wagon Wheel game against Anderson at 7 p.m. on Sept. 5. The game will be the first football match at the newly dubbed Turner Stadium.

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