CHARLESTON, W.Va. While the Buffalo High School football team looks to replace graduated quarterback Levi Jordan, the throwing targets remain the same, with a twist.
Seniors Isaiah Robinson and Gabe Garrison represent the team's top returning receivers and will look to employ their standout track speed to plenty of success this season.
While Robinson remains at wideout, Garrison will split his offensive time in a slot/running back role, a position that opened following a summer injury to senior Laythen Good.
"He's still going to be a receiver per se, just not a wideout," Bison Coach Mike Sawyer said of Garrison's transition. "With our double-slot offense, he'll be a receiver as well as a running back."
The run aspect of the Bison offense suffered a big blow with the loss of Good, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus and is expected to miss the season. Good led Buffalo with 783 yards rushing and 759 yards receiving as a junior.
Rushing experience might be at a minimum, though between Robinson, a three-time Class A state champion in the 4x800-meter relay, and Garrison, an All-State hurdler, Buffalo boasts two of the fastest receiving threats in the Mountain State.
"That definitely helps with the passing game, having both me and Gabe Garrison on the other side, so you have two deep threats," Robinson said. "It definitely opens up the passing game and it makes defenses worry about the running game as well, because if they worry too much about the pass, we'll just run right through them."
Garrison returns after a season in which he recorded 15 catches for 346 yards and five touchdowns, but now he's focused on a new role.
"The transition's actually been pretty easy," Garrison said. "It hasn't been as difficult as I thought it would be, because Laythen has been at practice coaching me through it."
With Good at his side, Garrison said he's made strides, though it's no easy task replacing the production and leadership left by such a respected player.