Edinburgh football: Season preview

The rather noticeable disparity between Jarrett Turner’s number of receptions and carries last season likely won’t be duplicated this time around.

The Edinburgh senior, his team’s leading receiver in 2021 with 57 catches, carried the ball out of the backfield just 13 times, but he doesn’t mind whatsoever.

“I feel like I’ll be used as a runner more this season,” said the multifaceted Turner, who has played five different positions in his varsity career. “I like running the ball. Just whatever we have to do to get the first down.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve had to play a lot of positions, and I just adapted to it. I don’t mind. I just do what the team needs.”

Turner has lined up either as a running back, safety, linebacker, cornerback or receiver since the outset of Edinburgh’s 2019 campaign. That’s hardly uncommon at the Class A level, where two-way players are the norm rather than the exception; on defense, Turner contributed 34 tackles and was credited with a pair of pass breakups in the Lancers’ 5-5 finish a year ago.

He also brings a combination of savvy and smarts (3.9 grade-point) average to what the Lancers do on Friday nights.

“Jarrett is a true leader, the type of kid who’ll do anything you ask him to do,” fourth-year Edinburgh coach Tyler DeSpain said. “He’s probably the smartest kid on the field for us, but just overall, he does everything right.”

With a first-time varsity starting quarterback in sophomore Caleb Murphy, the Lancers — who threw the pigskin on 62% of their offensive plays last season — are hoping for something closer to a 50-50 split this time around.

That probably means a heftier running workload for Turner — who has been working his way back from an offseason knee injury but is expected to be ready for next Friday’s opener against Tindley — as well as senior Isaiha Steinke and sophomore Connor Ramey.

“Jarrett is more of a shifty kind of back. Ramey is more of a speed back, and Isaiha Steinke is a bruiser,” said DeSpain, noting that his players are accustomed to pulling double duty as offensive and defensive starters.

“I don’t think it’s tough on the kids in general. We put such an emphasis on conditioning, and our depth is pretty good, so we should be fine.”

The last time Edinburgh football fielded consecutive non-losing teams was in 1992 and 1993 with respective marks of 7-2 and 7-3. The program has never won a sectional championship and is 6-37 in the postseason overall.

Considering there are 13 seniors on the Lancers’ roster, Turner feels the team is in a position to reverse some of its unflattering past.

“We’ll be all right. We have a lot of seniors who start, and our class is close,” Turner said. “I’ve played football with most of this group of seniors since I was in the first grade. As a team, I would really like to get a sectional win, but if we do the right things, we could win it.”

2022 SCHEDULE

Date;Opponent;Time

Aug. 19;Tindley;7 p.m.

Aug. 26;Cloverdale;7 p.m.

Sept. 2;South Decatur;7 p.m.

Sept. 9;at Switzerland County;7 p.m.

Sept. 16;North Daviess;7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23;Greenwood Christian;7 p.m.

Sept. 30;at Traders Point Christian;7 p.m.

Oct. 7;TBA

Oct. 14;at Park Tudor;7 p.m.

SCOUTING THE LANCERS

Coach: Tyler DeSpain

Last season: 5-5, lost to Indianapolis Lutheran in first round of Class A sectional

Key returnees: WR/DB Braylon Bryant, OL/DL Mason Calhoun, WR/DB Caleb Dewey, OL/DL Dylan Graw, OL/DL Bryce Jett, OL/DL Devin Milburn, WR/DE Keegan Smith, RB/DE Isaiha Steinke and RB/S Jarrett Turner, seniors; WR/DB Gabe Bennett, junior; RB Connor Ramey and OL/NT Dakota Graw, sophomores

Top newcomers: WR/S Blaze Jensen, senior; WR/DB Jackson Hartwell and QB/LB Caleb Murphy, sophomores

Outlook: The Lancers, fresh off their first non-losing season since 1993, are definitely trending the right direction in DeSpain’s fourth season as coach. The roster is 29 players strong, led by four-year starter Dewey, a mainstay at receiver and in the defensive backfield. Speaking of mainstays, of the 25 men who have been Edinburgh’s head coach since the 1951 season, DeSpain is only the sixth to be on the job for a minimum of four seasons. “In general, the morale is up,” he said. “The administration is backing us up very well, and the program is in good shape. There’s not a gap in between the youth league and the high school.”

Murphy takes over at quarterback for Edinburgh, with no shortage of talented players breaking the huddle with him. Newcomers Jensen and Hartwell are expected to contribute immediately.

“I don’t like to say we’re going to win this many games, but we’re optimistic,” DeSpain said. “We’re very excited about the season. We have kids who have been in the program three or four years now. It’s a huge difference. They know what to expect, and I think it’s important that the kids have had the same coaching staff all that time.”

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Mike Beas is the Daily Journal's veteran sports reporter. He has been to more than 200 Indiana high schools, including 1990s visits to Zionsville to profile current Boston Celtics GM Brad Stevens, Gary Roosevelt to play eventual Purdue All-American Glenn Robinson in HORSE (didn’t end well) and Seeger to visit the old gym in which Stephanie White, later the coach of the Indiana Fever, honed her skills in pickup games involving her dad and his friends. He can be reached at [email protected]