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Special Teams Preview

August 27, 2009

WLU_FB_09_KICKERS

Billy Hager left some pretty big shoes to fill after spending the past four seasons rewriting West Liberty’s special-teams record book but head coach Roger Waialae thinks the Hilltoppers have found a pretty good fit heading into Saturday’s season opener at nationally-ranked Edinboro.

            Waialae also had to come up with a new punter as C.J. Besece was another graduation casualty.

            That’s what brought Mike Blewett (5-10, 175) to West Liberty.

            A Virginia native, Blewett spent the last two seasons handling the kicking and punting chores at a California junior college and appears ready to handle the same double duty for the Hilltoppers this season.

            “Mike’s had a very good camp,” Waialae said. “He made several field goals from outside 50 yards and consistently drove the ball inside the 5 on kickoffs. Mike also gets good hang time on his punts and has been very accurate. We think he’ll do a good job for us.”

            True freshman Jeff Hoak (6-1, 165) of Elizabeth, Pa. opened a lot of eyes during preseason work with some booming kickoffs and will be Blewett’s backup on placements.

            Another freshman, Drew Powley (6-0, 190) of Toronto, Ohio, got a late start in camp due to injury but shows promise as a punter. Senior defensive tackle Joey McGee returns as the backup punter.

            Alex Matviko, a junior wide receiver, will take over as the holder. He’ll be backed up by sophomore wideout Pauly Ferguson and Powley.

            Junior-college transfer offensive lineman Jose Baez will snap for PATs and field goals, backed by returning defensive linemen Matt Betz and Ryan Mirich.

            Steubenville sophomore safety Jeremy Presley will be the long snapper with junior-college transfer linebacker Dustin Whittlesey and sophomore defensive back Scott Houghton also available.

            Wide receiver Kashif Walls and defensive back P.J. Polsley will handle the punt returns, along with defensive back Kyle Rapp.

            Wide receiver Eddie Hills and Walls will be the primary kick returners along with defensive back Derrick Evans and running back Stephen Ford.

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