Academic Magnet head coach Bud Walpole begins his 10th season with the program knowing that on most Friday nights his team will not match up athletically with its opponent. However, Walpole says he goes into every contest knowing his team will play hard.
2013: 3-7 overall, 0-6 in 6-AA
Coach: Bud Walpole (10th season)
Returning starters: 14 (7 offense, 7 defense)
Players to watch: RB Nate Schlosser, TE/DB Andrew Alberg, QB Trey Perry, OL Mason Proctor
"Effort is never a problem from these kids," the coach said. "They will give it all they've got every Friday night. It's a great group. We lack some depth at a few positions but the guys we put out there will play hard. They understand their roles and they play well together."
The Raptors won three games last season but lost two very close games. Walpole is hoping experience can mean more success this fall.
Leading the list of returners is junior Nate Schlosser, who at 5-5, 155-pounds is the top running back and linebacker on the team. Schlosser gained 1,323 yards and scored 10 touchdowns last season, while also averaging seven tackles per game.
"He is as tough and as durable as they come," says Walpole of Schlosser.
Senior Trey Perry will start at quarterback after taking over the position about halfway through the 2013 season. Junior tight end Andrew Alberg will be a key target in the passing game. Perry and Alberg also will likely start in the secondary on defense.
Walpole feels the offensive and defensive line play will be solid this fall. Returning as starter are seniors Mason Proctor (6-4, 215) and Jackie Delanty (6-4, 220), and junior guard Thomas Lehman (5-11, 160). All three linemen will start on the defensive front as well.
Connor Frailey also starts on the offensive line and handles the team's placekicking and punting duties.
"I feel certain we will be a competitive football team, more so than last year," predicts Walpole. "Health is a big key. We have to stay healthy, and sometimes that's not easy to do. But I feel good about our potential this season."