By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Everyone knows that Valley Central has a quarterback — Chandler Toth — that can zing the ball around the field and make big-time plays.
However, the question facing the Vikings this season is who is going to catch Toth’s slants, screens and deep balls? His two top receivers, Frank Torres and Shane Cuevas, both graduated last year. To replace that duo, Valley Central will go with a wide receiver by committee attack, and the Vikings’ star signal caller is confident in this new group.
“We have a bunch of kids that can make plays,” said Toth, who passed for 2,257 yards and 26 touchdowns last year. “It’s not like when you switch one out you are like ‘Oh, God.’ I’m comfortable with all of my receivers and they are all ready. I believe in them and we have a big offensive line. I think they are going to do an awesome job.”
According to Valley Central coach Ron Introini, seven different receivers will see time for the Vikings this year, seniors Joe Laudati, A.J. Williams and Jayden Rose, juniors Connor Fitzgibbons, Nate Depew and Tyler Villani, and sophomore Randy Rosario, who Introini called the best athlete in the program. Williams will also see time at running back.
“Ever since 7-on-7’s, the guys have been running good routes,” Introini said. “Chandler has been throwing the ball well to a lot of different people. From the way everything is looking, I have high expectations. It’s going to be a little different this year, but I think we can make some plays.”
Torres caught 59 passes for 910 yards and nine touchdowns last season, and Cuevas made 56 catches for 668 yards with 10 scores. The rest of the team caught 40 passes for 662 yards and seven touchdowns. However, the Vikings’ other receivers did make some key plays last fall.
Rose is Valley Central’s leading returning receiver (17 catches, 271 yards, three touchdowns), followed by Fitzgibbons (9 catches, 193 yards, two touchdowns) and Williams (8 catches, 144 yards, two touchdowns).
“We have big shoes to fill with Frank and Shane leaving, but we feel confident,” said Depew, who caught six passes for 54 yards last year. “We have been waiting for this opportunity for a year and we want to take full advantage of it. It is exciting and we think we have a good group that can go a long way.”
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