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Show and tell time for Emory and Henry

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ALLEN GREGORY BRISTOL HERALD COURIER

EMORY, Va. – Emory & Henry head coach Curt Newsome likes his team.

Consider that the Wasps only graduated four starters from a 5-6 season and have 32 players returning from a redshirt year.

“We were very productive in recruiting, our winter workouts went great and our spring workouts were solid. There’s a lot to feel good about,” Newsome said.

Newsome and his assistant coaches hope to hear more positive news in today's spring game. The third annual event is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m

“I think some schools have placed too much emphasis on the spring games. I can learn more from 14 spring practices than I can from one game, but we will go live for two quarters on Saturday,” Newsome said.

“This is an opportunity for our new guys to make a statement and we hope to avoid the injuries we have had in the past.”

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At halftime, various awards will be presented to current players, while former E&H players will be recognized throughout the decades.

“This will be a chance for our alumni, fans and community to come together and take pride in our program,” Newsome said.

A focus today will be on production from the line corps. Line play is key to success in the South Atlantic Conference and Wasps are looking for more help.

“Our defensive line is solid, but we need to be able to field more than four defensive linemen, especially in warm weather games. We haven’t been able to do that the last few years,” Newsome said.

“On offense, we need to do a better job of protecting the quarterback and running the ball. All but one of our offensive linemen are back, so we should see some improvement there.”

Right tackle Ricky Dodson (6-8, 315) was the only departure. E&H also must replace tight end Zach Venhorst and running back J'Quan Anderson on offense.

The Wasps averaged just 107 yards rushing last season, with Anderson accounting for 752 yards and seven scores.

Sophomore Charles Mutter (1,182 yards passing) is currently at the top of the quarterback list, followed by redshirt freshman Cole Lambert (Abingdon) and freshman Eli Foutz (Franklin County).

“The competitiveness and development at quarterback will be huge for us,” Newsome said.

Parry McCluer's Trey Secrist (6-3, 290) will replace Dodson, while 6-foot-10 senior Tmahdae Penn returns at receiver after being slowed by injuries last season.

“Trey played some for us last year before he got injured, and he looked good in the spring,” Newsome said.

The athlete to watch at running back is sophomore Jordan Jackson. After battling defenders at Highland Springs High School, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Jackson attended St. Francis University in Pennsylvania before transferring to E&H.

Camron Riley (Lorton, Virginia) is also involved as a running back.

“We don’t have a lot of depth in the backcourt, but we’ll still look in the (transfer) portal,” Newsome said.

The Wasps currently have six transfers, including two players from Charleston Southern University, Noah Allred (6-6, 235) of Greensboro and defensive end Elijah Harper (6-3, 235) of Anderson, South Carolina.

Punter Wally Venter (Culver-Stockton College) from Cape Town, South Africa, is part of the transfer group along with receiver Sincere Julius (Palmetto Prep) from Roanoke and defensive back Keaton Edwards (Thomas Moore University) from Louisville.

“Venter is a free spirit and a talented guy with a great life story,” Newsome said.

The defense returns intact except for cornerback TJ Payne.

“We have great leadership from Kaleb Lundy at linebacker and Andre Crawley at defensive tackle,” Newsome said.

There was a big change for Wasps.

Offensive coordinator Kamden BeCraft recently decided to leave football and work in the private sector. BeCraft shared play-calling duties last season with Quintin Hunter, who replaced BeCraft.

“Kam will be working with a friend as a project manager for a construction company based in Lynchburg,” Newsome said. “Kam was one of the hardest workers we had in our program. He started as a volunteer defensive line coach and progressed to offensive coordinator.

“Kam has also done a great job recruiting players from the Roanoke and Lynchburg areas. But I feel good about joining Quintin because he actually taught Kam our offense.”

Newsome said former E&H quarterback Kyle Short has joined the coaching staff.

The Wasps open the season Aug. 31 with a home game against Glenville State of Glenville, West Virginia. Concord, which lost 56-10 to E&H in its opener last season, has removed the Wasps from its schedule.

Glenville State posted a 6-4 record in 2023 and competes in the NCAA Division II Mountain East Conference.

The Wasps will host Bluefield State on September 14th and Barton College (Wilson, NC) on September 21st.

Former E&H assistant coach Davon Morgan was announced as the new head coach at Bluefield State on March 5.

For now, Newsome wants to finish the spring session with a bang before the E&H coaches hit the road to oversee tryout camps in the Southeast.

“From the weight room to the field, our culture continues to move in the right direction,” Newsome said.

[email protected] | Twitter: @Greg_BHCSports | (276) 645-2544