SAC: H.S. Football Media Day

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Previewing the Summit Athletic Conference at high school football media day.

Bishop Dwenger Saints
Head coach: Chris Svarczkopf
2016 overall record: 8-4
2016 conference record: 6-3
2017 Opener: Aug. 18, 7 p.m., @ Fort Wayne Wayne

Outlook: Bishop Dwenger couldn’t carry over the magic that guided the Saints to a Class 4A State Championship despite head coach Chris Svarczkopf’s battle with lymphoma. Svarczkopf returned to the sidelines after the 14-1 season, and the Saints suffered a tough loss to New Haven in the 2017 sectional championship. Graduation is hitting Dwenger harder than ever this offseason as well, taking quarterback Blake Podschine, running back Amaun Clark, and Fab 15 selection & defensive lineman Frank Yanko aamong several others on both sides of the ball. Receiver Tommy Steele gives the passing game a reliable target, and Bradley Black will be asked to do more in 2017.

Bishop Luers Knights
Head coach: Kyle Lindsay
2016 overall record: 6-6
2016 conference record: 4-5
2017 Opener: Aug. 18, 7 p.m., @ Carroll

Outlook: After winning four consecutive Class 2A state titles from 2009 to 2012, Bishop Luers moved to Class 3A and has not advanced out of the sectional since. Last season’s 6-6 record though can be attributed to several key losses by graduation on both sides of the ball, including current Ohio State receiver Austin Mack. In 2017 the Knights may have the deepest pool of talent in the offensive backfield in northeast Indiana as Tyreeon Hambright will pair with transfer Jordan Presley. Last year as a sophomore Presley set the Homestead single-season rushing record with over 1,700 yards and was selected to the WANE-TV Fab 15. The addition of Presley helps offset the loss of standout receiver Dashon Bussell, who moved to Tennessee during the summer.

Carroll Chargers
Head coach: Doug Dinan
2016 overall record: 6-4
2016 conference record: 6-3
2017 Opener: Aug. 18, 7 p.m., vs. Fort Wayne Luers

Outlook: After defeating Warsaw in the first round of sectionals in 2015, Carroll was bitten by the Tigers in 2016 to end their season shorter than the Chargers had hoped. Since its trip to Regionals in 2014, Carroll has struggled to get past the 4-loss mark, ending 2015 7-4 and last season 6-4. Its 6-4 record was its worst since 2010, when it went 5-6. Much of the Chargers’ talent on the inside, talent that the team leaned on while replacing skilled position talent, has graduated, so if the Chargers want to make noise in the Summit Conference in 2017, it’ll have to come from the younger players. Jack Miguel is expected to lead the Chargers at quarterback after splitting time last season, while speedsters Jon Becker & Justin Becker lead the receiving corp.

Concordia Cadets
Head coach: Tim Manningel
2016 overall record: 13-2
2016 conference record: 7-2
2017 Opener: Aug. 18, 7 p.m., vs. Fort Wayne South

Outlook: What made Concordia’s state title run impressive was the laundry list of key losses the Cadets suffered in the 2016 preseason, especially on the defensive side where they allowed just 19.7 points per game. After starting the season 1-2, it appeared another 5-6 season was headed the Cadets’ way, until they strung together 6-straight regular season wins and six postseason wins after that to finish 13-2. Head coach Tim Manningel credited the quick turnaround to an automatic buy-in from his players. The Cadets will need returning players to continue that buy-in if they want to return to the state title game as all-state picks Peter Morrison (quarterback), Mark Mallers (defensive back/receiver), and Peterson Kerlegrand (running back/linebacker) are among the many players who need to be replaced. Running back Marcus Morrow will be counted on as will new quarterback Jake Byrd.

 

Homestead Spartans
Head coach: Chad Zolman
2016 overall record: 9-3
2016 conference record: 7-2
2017 Opener: Aug. 18, 7 p.m., @ Fort Wayne Northrop

Outlook: Aside from a victory over Carroll, Homestead’s 2016 season was nearly identical to its 2015 season on paper — all the way down to the score of both losses to Carmel in the first regional round (41-7 in 2015 and 42-7 in 2016). Head coach Chad Zolman and the Spartans are looking to break through the barrier that is the first regional round — the farthest Homestead has reached under Zolman. While the Spartans graduate many of their 2016 starters, defensive lineman & Central Michigan University commit Tico Brown will be anchoring both sides of the ball in 2017. Quarterback Jiya Wright was pressed into duty last year when Ohio University recruit Drew Keszei broke his ankle in the opener, but Wright responded and is now a D-1 commit himself, as the senior just verballed to Northern Illinois.

 

Northrop Bruins
Head coach: Jason Doerffler
2016 overall record: 2-8
2016 conference record: 2-7
2017 Opener: Aug. 18, 7 p.m., vs. Homestead

Outlook: Northrop has struggled in the 21st Century, posting just two winning records since 2000. Last season was no different, and Northrop was chased from sectionals by Homestead in the first round.The Bruins returned the majority of their starters on defense and still allowed the most points per game in the conference (44.3). With some experience returning at the offensive skilled positions, Northrop needs to crack down on the defensive side of the ball to compete in the Summit. Keishon Edwards and Antwone Washington Jr. give the Bruins a one-two punch in the offensive backfield while both Ben Arruza and Davieun Berry earned valuable experience at the receiver position last fall.

North Side Legends
Head coach: Mike Brevard
2016 overall record: 1-9
2016 conference record: 1-8
2017 Opener: Aug. 18, 7 p.m., vs. Fort Wayne Snider

Outlook: It’s been a few seasons since North Side took Snider to overtime in the sectional semifinal in 2013. That was the Legends’ last winning season, as they finish 7-4. Now, after earning just one win in the 2016 season, the Legends are facing yet another change, as 25-year old Mike Brevard – a former St. Francis Cougar – replaces Mike Cochran as head coach. Cochran served just one year at the helm with a team that sent many new faces onto the field. Many of those same faces are coming back for the 2017 season, including the majority of the offensive line and nearly all of the starting defense. Standout senior Jalen Lockett will be counted on to lead from the defensive backfield while quarterback Hayden Jones and receiver Kalen Desrosiers will looking to lead the offense.

 

Snider Panthers
Head coach: Kurt Tippmann
2016 overall record: 12-1
2016 conference record: 9-0
2017 Opener: Aug. 18, 7 p.m., @ Fort Wayne North

Outlook: In all eight seasons that Kurt Tippmann has coached at Snider, the Panthers have reached the regional round. They lost the Class 5A title game in 2012 but bounced back to win the championship in 2015. Snider wins, and that’s what it did last season too, winning the Summit title and advancing to Semi-State, where it lost to Westfield. That success has earned the Panthers a shot at 6A, as Snider gets bumped up this season. While Snider lost all-state playmakers Mac Hippenhammer (Penn State) and Money Woods (Marian University), the number of returning starters for the Panthers is frightening for the rest of the conference and state. Look for Snider to continue winning games like it has since Tippmann took over the program in 2009. Defensively, Purdue recruit and lineman Lawrence Johnson and linebacker/Western Michigan recruit Austin France will lead the way. Offensively, Christian Covington will lead at running back while quarterback Michael Haupert returns for his second year under center.

South Side Archers
Head coach: Roosevelt Norfleet
2016 overall record: 2-9
2016 conference record: 1-8
2017 Opener: Aug. 18, 7 p.m., @ Fort Wayne Concordia

Outlook: South Side head coach Roosevelt Norfleet has struggled to get the Archers past the 2-win mark in his three seasons as head coach, but he has led his team to relative success in the postseason. In the last two seasons, the Archers have advanced to the second round of sectionals, including a big 33-9 win over Leo in 2016. After losing 18 seniors, Norfleet ushered in a new squad and began to develop a culture of belief, despite earning one win during the regular season. Now, with the majority of the offense graduating, Norfleet will have to continue to embed the same belief in the system to earn more wins with the magnitude of the Leo upset. Running back Marcalin Hairston will be asked to lead the Archer offense.

Wayne Generals
Head Coach: Derrick Moore
2016 overall record: 2-8
2016 conference record: 2-7
2017 Opener: Aug. 18, 7 p.m., vs. Fort Wayne Dwenger

Outlook: The Generals’ 9-win season in 2014 may seem very far away right now, but there’s plenty of reason for optimism at Wayne manor. Since then, Wayne has recorded a winless season and a 2-win season. In an offense that jumped from 4.6 points per game in 2015 to 18.6 in 2016, Wayne’s offensive line will take a hit this season, as the Generals lose all-conference guard Deltay Chapman, center Anthony Black and tackles Zack Etter and Ryan Mitchell while Lukas Fender returns. To compete in a conference where three defenses allow fewer than 20 points per game on average, head coach Derrick Moore needs to find an answer in the trenches. What he does have is an impressive group of up-and-coming athletes, including junior receiver Craig Young, who holds scholarship offers from Wisconsin and Indiana among others. Junior defensive end Darius Alexander also holds D-1 offers, while running backs Dalyn Hart and Devonair Kelsaw were key contributors last fall.