Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The Kenmore West football team was young last season and its game plan was no secret: get the ball to running back Alex Price.
And that’s exactly what the Blue Devils, who won five games in 2012, did for most of the season, and Price didn’t disappoint. He carried the ball 178 times for 858 yards in only six games before suffering a season-ending neck injury against Kenmore East in the final week of the season.
Seemingly down and out, Ken West responded the following week against perennial powerhouse Orchard Park in the opening round of the playoffs. The Blue Devils fell to the Quakers, 49-33, but QB Adam From put on a show through the air, throwing for 251 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 56 attempts.
Ken West coach Rich Harris said Fron’s work in the offseason and the confidence his QB gained from that performance against OP has the Blue Devils feeling good heading into the season in a stacked AA North division.
“We put up the most points on (Orchard Park) of any team last year. I know Jamestown beat them but I think they scored 26 or 27 points,” Harris said. “(Adam has) worked all offseason with the quarterback coach and personal trainers, and he’s just firing the ball. He’s firing lasers and they are just right on the money.
“He takes charge out there, can check out of stuff and can call his own plays on the field depending on what the defense gives us. He’s very intelligent and he knows the game; he knows how to read defenses.”
With seniors Price and Fron returning in the backfield, paired with talented wide outs Nick Wojner, Trent White and Terell Ford at wide receiver, Harris said the Blue Devils should be able to put up points.
“We’re looking to be competitive in this division because it’s just going to be a barbaric division. There are no let downs; it’s going to be a tough game every week,” Harris said. “You just look out there — you got Orchard Park and Jamestown, and now they’re talking up Frontier and Lockport played well in their scrimmage — it’s going to be a tough season.”
The Blue Devils return five senior linemen on offense, led by center John Bortz, guard Steve Kulik and tackle James Stewart. Gary Halt, Joe Taylor and James Hangle will also log a ton of game time for Ken West.
Defensively, the Blue Devils are changing to a 3-4 defense to throw different looks at opponents. Harris said he wants to blitz more and should be able to with an experienced unit with a ton of speed in the secondary.
Sophomore Jayson Taylor has made an impact in camp at inside linebacker, and Harris believes he is ready to explode for the Blue Devils this season.
“Taylor at inside linebacker is just an animal,” Harris said. “He’s put on so much muscle and is at about 210 pounds. Jason loves football and he brings it.”
Ford earned a spot on the News’ All-Area team last season as a freshman, and the basketball standout will start on both sides of the ball for Ken West.
Harris expects a lot of of Ford and said the sophomore’s athleticism is unbelievable.
“He’s smooth as glass out there, catching footballs and running with them,” Harris said. “He’s a great wide runner and we can run that sweep with him. It gives teams a lot more to prepare for. They have to watch us on the outside, we have a great counter on the inside — we can trap and we can counter with Alex, who is a great lateral runner inside.”
Fron is excited about the weapons at his disposal. He said having Price back in the mix is huge because it really opens up the passing game.
With so many veteran players back, From said expectations are very high in the Ken West locker room.
“All offseason we’ve been working hard and now we finally get to get out on the field and prove some things,” Fron said. “(For me), gaining all that experience was great last year, and now I feel I’ve grown into this position and I’m ready to go.”
“Our personal goal is we want to win out the season. We’re playing the best and we want to beat the best. That’s how we get to the Ralph. It’s Ralph or bust for us this year.”2013 Blue Devils • Last season's record: 3-6 • Head coach: Rich Harris • Key players: Adam Fron, Sr. QB, Alex Price, Sr. RB, Nick Wojner, Sr. WR, Terrell Ford, So. WR/DB, Jayson Taylor, So. LB, Steve Kulik, SR OL/DL. • Key losses: Laquan Salter DB, Greg Howell OL/DL. KEN WEST SCHEDULE ***ON JUMP 9/7 Lancaster 2 p.m. 9/14 Jamestown 2 p.m. 9/20 at West Seneca West 7 p.m. 9/27 at Clarence 7 p.m. 10/5 Frontier 2 p.m. 10/12 at Lockport 2 p.m. 10/19 Ken East 2 p.m. Find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports and the sports editor @MattParrino for complete high school sports coverage.