WOOD RIVER JCT. — New Chariho High football coach Nick Russo is not a big proponent of locking a team into a set way of doing things without regard to the opponent.
"We try to avoid the 'this is what we do and we are going to do what we do' approach," Russo said. "That is an arrogant approach. My mindset is that we are going to do what we need to do that week. For us, the approach is to put us in the best position to win that week.
"We are not afraid to run the ball 70 times if we have to, and we are not afraid to throw the ball 70 times if we have to."
Chariho will look to improve upon last season's 3-6-1 record. The Chargers lost two games by a touchdown each. A win in either one would have put them in the Division III playoffs.
Offensively, the Chargers expect to use a lot of different faces on the field.
Up front, Jarrett Niland will start at center. The guards are Fred Stanley, a captain, and Sean Goulet. Cletus Murray and Matt Corrente will man the tackle spots. Josh Pater, Levi King and Coval Wild, a captain, will play at tight end.
John Haxton, a captain, Nick Corrente, Aidan Haxton, Creighton Whaley, Nekoda Thompson, Seneca Spears, Nolan Murphy and Caleb Maggs will all see time at receiver.
Zoot Boschwitz and Jaxon Morkins are in the running for the quarterback spot. Evan Judkins, who passed for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, graduated.
Tom O'Horo, a third-team Division III selection last season, returns as a halfback. Rogan Wotherspoon and Myles Price will get carries out of the backfield, too.
Mitch Silva and Chris Bliven will play at fullback.
O'Horo, a captain, was the team's leading rusher last season with 293 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"With the personnel we have, we can be pretty balanced," Russo said. "But we are going to be game-plan specific."
Defensively, it will be many of the same faces.
The interior defensive linemen will include Matt Corrente, Murray, Goulet, Fred Stanley and Norman Stanley.
The defensive ends are Pater, King, Niland, Gary Gardiner and Dominic Bonanno, a state champion wrestler.
O'Horo, Wotherspoon, Wild, Silva, Bliven and Mark Baton are the linebackers.
John Haxton, Murphy, Aidan Haxton, Nick Corrente, Caleb Maggs and Creighton Whaley are the defensive backs.
Andrew Havens, an All-Division first-team selection last season as a kicker, will be out for a few weeks with an injury.
"I think we are in a pretty good spot. We have dealt with a few internal things. We've had some injuries and our numbers are a little thinner, but we're moving forward," Russo said. "We are trying to take it day by day and just focus on that day."
Chariho opens the season on Friday at Westerly. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Westerly shut out the Chargers, 45-0, last season.