FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Carroll and Homestead are preparing for their swan song in the NHC as both the Chargers and Spartans will jump to the SAC next season. The other six teams will pair up with Leo and Huntington North to form a new conference. Change is in place this season for Columbia City and DeKalb as both the Eagles (Brett Fox) and Barons (Pete Kempf) have a new man in charge. East Noble looks to continue a streak of consecutive winning seasons that began in 2002, while New Haven is coming off a school-record 11 wins. Norwell is looking to build on last year’s 6-6 performance while Bellmont is loaded with experience.
BELLMONT (3A) – HC: Larry Getts (4th) 5-6 IN 2013
14 starters return for Braves; Junior QB Jordan Amacker (889 Yds. Passing) returns; RB Trevor Love (862 yards) & LB Chase Ellsworth graudated; Six starters return on defense; Braves have had four winning seasons since 1996.
CARROLL (6A) – HC: Doug Dinan (5th) 9-3 IN 2013
Carroll has gone 19-5 in last two seasons, winning back-to-back sectional titles; must replace RB/LB Drue Tranquill (Notre Dame); WR/DB Justin Tranquill will miss season with torn ACL; 15 starters return overall, offense averaged 309 yards rushing per game last year; QBs Aiden Smith & Cody Dinan replacing Chandler Boggs.
COLUMBIA CITY (4A) – HC: Brett Fox (1st) 3-7 IN 2013
Fox takes over for Randy Hudgins, who left CC for Bluffton after five seasons; Seven starters return on offense including QB Trevor Bolt (606 Yds., 7 TD), QB/WR Drew O’Dell, & RB Braden Myer; Seniors class has 12-15 players to go with 10 juniors.
DEKALB (4A) – HC: Pete Kempf (1st) 0-10 IN 2013
Kempf takes over for Mike DeVos, who led Barons for one season; Barons have three winless seasons in last four years; begins season on 13-game losing streak; Six starters return on offense; Junior QB Logan Price (601 Yds., 2 TD) & senior QB Chase Williams return; Five starters return on defensive unit that gave up 318 yards rushing/game last season.
EAST NOBLE (4A) – HC: Luke Amstutz (3rd) 9-3 IN 2013
Knights have not had a losing record since 2001; RB Brandon Mable (1,300 Yds.), OL Connor Holcomb graduated; Senior QB Harold Wolfe (475 Yds., 6 TD), DL Keaton Osborn, & DB Dylan Jordan (7 INT) return; 13 seniors and 32 juniors on roster.
HOMESTEAD (6A) – HC: Chad Zolman (11th) 5-5 IN 2013
Streak of six straight NHC titles snapped last season; 14 starters overall returning; QB Logan Ormsby (141-251, 2,053 Yds., 20 TDs) returns; WRs Ben Skowronek, Austin Krider return; OL Zach Alexander returns; 6 starters back on defense that yielded 213 yards per game.
NEW HAVEN (4A) – HC: Jim Rowland (14th) 11-2 IN 2013
Bulldogs set new program record with 11 wins; WR/DB Jordan Hogue (Ball State) & RB/LB Airiest Vazquez graduated; QB Vance Shearer returns (129-215, 2,006 Yds., 23 TD); Bulldogs led by junior Jkeveous Hampton on both lines; Defense allowed just 16 points/game last year.
NORWELL (4A) – HC: Jeff Miller (15th) 6-6 IN 2013
Knights finished seasons winning 6 of 7 games, with lone loss coming in sectional title game to New Haven; QB/LB Piercen Harnish returns for senior season (1,377 Yds. Passing, 1,354 Yds. Rushing); TE Jeremy Davis (27 catches), WR Reggie Hayes (24 catches, 8 TDs) return; Offensive line led by senior Andrew Oakes.