Coach: Dan Adelhardt, 13th season, 68-50
League: City League
Last season: 2-7
Returning starters: 14
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Schedule: Aug. 31, at Southeast (at South); Sept. 8, Andover; Sept. 15, East; Sept. 22, at South; Sept. 29, Northwest; Oct. 6, Heights; Oct. 13, at St. James (at Mill Valley); Oct. 20, at Carroll.
Projected record: 4-4
Top returning players
Three keys to the season
1. The offensive line will be the strong point this year with all five returning starters. The line is made up of experienced upper classmen – Lowe, Brayden Wells, Dylan Baxter, Patrick Altenor and Christian Werne – who will be important protectors for an offense still unclear about who will take over in the backfield, especially at quarterback.
2. Channel, who averaged 4 yards per carry in 2016 and was also a receiving threat out of the backfield, will be relied on heavily on both sides of the ball for his senior year. He will be a primary target at running back and will also lead a defense that returns six starters.
3. A quarterback competition this summer will need to be sorted out by the time the season begins. Adelhardt said he has three options at the position and each player has different strengths.
Five questions with coach Dan Adelhardt
1. How nice is it to return five offensive linemen with starting experience?
“We lost one guy who was a regular starter for us, but it’s really nice to have five back who all have that starting experience. I think any coach would tell you that it starts up front. Whether we decide to run the ball with Nick Channel or Michael Tomblin or try to throw it to Preston Williams, we feel very confident with those guys up front that they’re going to get the job done and sustain those blocks to protect our weapons.”
2. How is the rest of the offense looking?
“Mike Tomblin is coming back from injury and he played a lot for us as a sophomore. That’s going to be a big weapon for us. And then we’ve got Nick back and we can put him just about anywhere, but he’s probably going to end up being our main running back. Mike is more of a slot guy who will get touches on jet motions and then be a threat for us in the passing game. And then at quarterback, we’ve got some kids in competition. It’s a good mix. They all have different strengths and weaknesses and we’re trying to figure out what’s best for our team.”
3. How’s the defense looking?
“We’ve got a lot of quality kids coming back. Kevin Mills and Jacob Roberts are going to be studs at linebacker, then we’re probably going to move Nick Channel to linebacker. Scott Valentas and Parker Manning are back in the secondary and Travis Phelps is back to anchor the line. We’re looking pretty good there and we’re trying to piece it all together. Nick Lowe is probably going to play both ways this year and he might be our best lineman on both sides of the football. He’s a powerful kid and he really is going to be a problem for teams.”
4. Obviously last year was not how you guys wanted it to go. Why will this year be different?
“These kids have worked really hard in the summer time. I will tell you this, we didn’t have the best record last year but they fought and they fought and they fought. If you go down and look at the losses, our kids never gave up. That’s what I was proud of. So now we have most of those kids back and they’re a year older and a year better and they all are motivated to flip that around. We’ll find out here in a few weeks.”
5. To reach the potential this season, what does Kapaun have to do?
“We’re going to be a mostly junior and senio team this year. The kids have to understand what their roles are and just because they may not be a star player, they’re still a very important part of the system and the program. Because you never know when you’re going to be thrown into a game. We’ve got to get better in practice and make sure we’re competing every day. Once they understand their roles, then that’s going to make us a little bit better. But there is some hunger in these guys to make sure we have a bounceback year because we were close last year. We want to get back to that winning record.”