HUNTINGTON, IN. (WANE) – The phrase shootout has been a double edged sword at Huntington North the past several seasons. The Vikings spread offense has lead to some impressive point totals. Unfortunately, a somewhat porous defense has meant the same for the opposition. That could all change in 2014.
Trent Fine – now in his third season leading the program – welcomes back nine starters to what should be a much improved defensive unit.
“That senior class is ready to go, they’ve kind of been groomed,” Fine says. “We fly around, we do some unconventional things at times with guys coming in from all areas at all times. We’re not going to sit back and let you pick us apart, we’re a team that’s going to be aggressive.”
That aggressiveness will start in the trenches where All-NCC defensive lineman Corbin Clarke returns for his senior year. He’ll be joined by fellow senior lineman Austin Tester and All-NCC linebacker Brady Hill.
While the Vikings offense figures to once again be potent – particularly in the passing game – the defense may need to take the lead in the opening few weeks of the season with North breaking in a new quarterback. All-State signal caller Keenan Leichty has graduated, but Fine is excited about sophomore starter to be Lucas Long who emerged from a four-quarterback race to assume the starting spot.
“He’s a young kid, very athletic and he throws the ball well,” Fine says. “It’s just a matter of giving him some confidence and keeping things simple for him right now.”
Long will have plenty of weapons at his disposal. Wide receivers Colton Nall and Alex McCutcheon return, as do running backs Adam Woods and Jack Doughty. The biggest luxury for Long however, will be a big, experienced offensive line that features five seniors. Should this unit gel early in the season, Huntington North could leave a lasting impression in it’s final season in the NCC.