Timberland coach Art Craig doesn’t like to use the words rebuilding or reloading when he talks about the state of his football team.
Either way, the Wolvs are very young as they prepare for Thursday’s first round of the Sertoma Football Classic and the season-opener against Manning on Friday.
“This is the youngest team I’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Craig, who projects a starting lineup of only four seniors, 11 juniors, six sophomores and a freshman.
“We are going to be young. But I like this team’s enthusiasm and effort. I had to say I was surprised by some of our scrimmages, including the ones against Cane Bay and Woodland.”
Timberland has produced some great players in recent years, including running back Rockarius King, quarterback Cody Craig, defensive end Aldrick Fordham and lineman Brian Moore.
The team has been among the best in the state, winning a state title two years ago and compiling a 62-4 record over the past five years.
The Wolves were 11-2 last fall, scoring 490 points while allowing only 171.
“We don’t live in the past — this is not the History Channel,” Craig said. “This team feels a challenge to live up to the past teams. While we’re young, there are some positives. We are extremely athletic and fast.”
Craig promises this year’s team will pass the ball at least 50 percent of the time.
“Sometimes I don’t believe it myself,” said Craig, whose previous teams usually threw less than 10 passes a game. “But you don’t recruit and you have to do what fits your personnel the best.”
Timberland has a pair of talented quarterbacks in Matt Gable and Ryan Hood. Bernard Harmon and Shamelle Williams are the running backs. Lineman Wyatt Craig played well last year and has all-state potential.