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Panthers will build around savvy veterans

NorthWood hopes to be more efficient on offense in 2013.


Posted on Aug. 15, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Aug. 15, 2013 at 11:34 a.m.

NAPPANEE — Big plays. Scott Hoover and NorthWood football have been looking for them for two years. The Panthers’ coach now thinks he may have that kind of potential.

With a seasoned Will Kirkwood running the offense at quarterback and a collection of talented and tough athletes at the skill positions, Hoover believes the big plays could come early and often. A year ago, the streaky Panthers started off slowly, dropping their first three games before reeling off four straight wins. NorthWood then capped the season by losing three of its last four starts.

“That’s the one thing that’s been missing for a couple of years now,” Hoover said as his club prepares for its Aug. 23 opener with Jimtown. “It’s tough when you’ve got to run 12 plays to score. Last year, it was the sixth game before we had a gain over 20 yards.”

Luke Edwards and Tanner Cleveland give NorthWood two reliable backs while Dominic Miranda moves from the backfield to a wideout to join Travis Bear to add more experience and speed. The Panthers will maneuver behind an offensive line with four returning starters. Last year, Cleveland, a freshman, led the team with 945 rushing yards.

“Now we don’t have to be so perfect every time,” Hoover said. “And I think teams can’t focus on stopping one guy. We think we’ve got a couple of other kids who can beat you. We have the speed and a lot of weapons.”

Kirkwood, who threw for 1,085 yards and rushed for another 447 and nine touchdowns, has a full command in the huddle as a senior.

“Will is really comfortable and become confident in reading defenses, telling the wide receivers what to do, telling the running backs what to do,” Hoover said. “With all of the experience we have coming back, it’s allowed us to do a lot more. We’ve gotten things in quicker than we were able to in the past because our quarterback is very smart and he’s been through a season. His knowledge of the game is better.”

NorthWood

Schedule

August

23 — Jimtown, 7:30

30 — Culver Academy, 7:30

September

6 — At Concord (NLC), 7:30

13 — Goshen (NLC), 7:30

20 — Wawasee (NLC), 7:30

27 — At Northridge (NLC), 7:30

October

4 — At Elkhart Memorial (NLC), 7:30

11 — At Warsaw (NLC), 7:30

18 — Plymouth (NLC), 7:30

Roster

No. Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr.

3 Will Kirkwood 6-2 205 QB Sr.

5 Trent Sellers 5-9 150 QB-DB jr.

6 Luke Edwards 6-0 186 RB-DB Sr.

7 Paul Scheets 5-6 200 K Jr.

8 Travis Bear 5-11 10 RB-LB Jr.

10 Chad Herschberger 5-8 146 WR-DB Jr.

17 Zach Schwartz 5-9 140 WR-DB Jr.

20 Trent Sauceda 5-11 169 WR-DB Sr.

21 Jeremiah Hilty 6-0 1770 RB-LB So.

23 Bailey Gessinger 5-6 135 RB-DB So.

24 Tanner Cleveland 5-8 170 RB-LB So.

25 Dominic Miranda 5-9 160 RB-LB Jr.

26 Josh Chupp 5-8 140 WR-DB Jr.

28 Nick Skwarcan 5-9 160 RB-DB Jr.

29 Connor Miller 5-8 134 K So.

30 Kaiser Schwartz 5-8 156 QB-DB So.

33 Asa Skaggs 5-7 137 WR-DB So.

34 Derek Weldy 5-11 160 RB-LB Jr.

35 Marshall Shafer 5-8 165 RB-LB So.

41 Connor Bunch 5-11 162 RB-DB Sr.

46 Zach Chupp 5-11 150 TE-DE So.

50 Tyler Thornton 5-10 157 OL-DE So.

51 Griffin Heckaman 6-0 280 OL-DT Sr.

52 Zach Hazel 6-2 254 OL-DL Sr.

53 Tanner White 6-2 208 OL-DE Sr.

54 Sam Irish 6-1 186 TE-DE Jr.

56 Zach BeMiller 5-11 215 OL-DT Jr.

58 Nick Wilmot 5-11 194 OL-LB Sr.

59 Scott Kern 5-10 175 OL-LB Jr.

60 Greg Hochstetler 5-9 200 DL Jr.

61 Corbin Johnson 6-2 195 OL-DT Sr.

63 Jake Snider 5-10 240 OL-DT Sr.

64 Jake Chupp 6-1 230 OL-DT Sr.

65 Jesse Odiorne 5-11 180 OL-DT So.

66 Tommy Avery 6-1 275 OL-DT So.

67 Michael Becker 6-2 212 OL-DL Jr.

68 Brandon Menzie 5-7 175 OL-DT So.

71 Jessie Waterson 5-11 233 OL-DT Sr.

73 Trevor Beer 5-7 180 OL-DT So.

76 Tucker White 5-5 130 OL-DE So.

77 Alex Carder 5-6 225 OL-DL Jr.

78 Larry Mersch 5-5 218 OL-DT So.

79 Steven Miller 5-11 280 OL-DL Jr.

84 Kirk Eby 6-0 190 TE-DE Jr.

87 Alex Tindle 5-10 150 WR-LB So.

88 Travis Miller 5-6 120 WR-DB So.

90 Devon Hunsberger 6-2 150 WR-DB Jr.



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