Spring Football: Ryan Merrill is handling offensive play calling at Damien, QB battle heating up

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Just because school is out when the Damien High School football team hits the field for practice doesn’t mean the Spartans don’t have something to learn. In fact, that’s about all Damien will be doing this spring and summer as coach Greg Gano tries to make do with a youthful roster the veteran coach is asking to do many things differently on offense. “We’re putting in a lot of new things on offense,” Gano said. “We’re going to do a lot of different things, so a lot of what we do this spring is teaching.”

Perhaps the biggest change is Gano is handing over offensive play-calling duties to Ryan Merrill. Gano, however, maintained he’ll still have a big say in what the Spartans do when they have the ball.

“I’ll have my hands in it,” Gano said. “But he’s (Merrill) a young kid with a good mind.

“I wouldn’t just hand it to anybody, believe me.”

Quarterback Enrique Zaldivar is the favorite to take the snaps, but Gano said two soon-to-be sophomores are in the competition. After that, everything is wide open in terms of position battles.

“We’ve got a lot of new faces,” Gano said. “There’s a lot of learning going on right now.”

Gano estimated the Spartans have 140 players in the program and are anxiously awaiting what coaches think will be a strong incoming freshman class.

Don’t expect to see much of Damien learning on the job this summer. Gano said his team won’t participate in any summer passing

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