MILFORD >> When Foran opened fall camp Wednesday, the one certainty was the return of senior Jake Kasuba.
Projected to be one of the state’s top quarterbacks this season, Kasuba completed 192 of 299 passes (64 percent) for 2,918 yards and 27 touchdowns against just seven interceptions as a junior.
Kasuba, entering his third season as the Lions’ starter, led Foran to an 8-3 record last season, although the Lions fell just short of qualifying for a state playoff berth. Last season’s success came after Kasuba threw for 2,547 yards and 24 touchdowns during an auspicious debut season as a sophomore.
“Coming into this year he’s had two monster years,” Foran coach Jeff Bevino said. “I told him like I told him last year, you can’t expect to have those types of years every year. People are going to game plan and try to take it away.
“But what I expect him to do — what I know he’s going to do — is he’s going to be a leader. He’ll run our offense, he’ll change plays on the line of scrimmage to put us in the best situation. That’s all the stuff you don’t see in the box score. He’s fantastic when it comes to that stuff.”
But this may be Kasuba’s most challenging season yet. Most of Kasuba’s top targets, including Nick Weissauer (74 catches, 1,098 yards, seven touchdowns), Sean Deegan (40-912-11) and Zach White (33-353-3), graduated.
“We have a lot of ability, we just need to get the mental part down,” Kasuba said. “I think we have a lot of good young receivers coming up. Hopefully they just take in whatever the coaches say and grow from there.”
Senior Colton Canelli, a basketball standout, joins the football team for the first time, while senior Dave Enders returns to the squad after a one year absence. Senior Steve Longley (11 catches last season) and junior R.J. Balado should also contribute on the receiving corp.
“We have kids, and we have a real good group of sophomore kids, but they have to grow up fast,” Bevino said.
Foran hosted a passing league for seven weeks during the summer where Bevino said Kasuba impressed. But the receivers are still a work in progress.
The Lions, though, benefit from the return of four starters on the offensive line in seniors Aniber Moras, Anthony Raccio and Esteban Velez and junior Luke Edmondson. Velez started the first five games last season before missing the rest of the year with injury.
Foran’s running game should be a nice compliment to Kasuba’s passing exploits. Longley and Balado are expected to handle most of the carries out of the backfield. Longley led the team with 97 carries for 581 yards and five touchdowns last season, while Kasuba added 84 carries for 440 yards and three scores.
“We’re going to be OK there,” Bevino said about his team’s rushing attack. “I think one of our strong points this year is going to be our running game. We’re pretty big up front.”
Kasuba said the experience he’s gained the past two seasons will certainly be beneficial this season.
“Since I have those two years under my belt, I can maybe show these younger kids how we’re supposed to be playing,” Kasuba said, “and how we’re supposed to be running our offense, and maybe get them to grow a little bit quicker.”
But the offense begins and ends with Kasuba.
“He knows our offense,” Bevino said. “He’s going to be the guy that we’re going to have to rely on.”