Defense is the prime focus in the Leopards’ plan to win this season.
Last season, the football team finished with a 4-5 record.
“We are competing for a conference championship this season,” head coach Chris Krich said. “We’ve been in the middle of the conference and we’re here to show that we’re here to compete and win.”
“I really expect a lot from this year because we’ve worked really hard,” sophomore tight end Bryan Okereke said. “I expect us to go to playoffs this season compared to last year and go far. Offense and defense are holding up but there’s always room for improvement in the season.”
Okereke played wide receiver last season before switching to tight end receiving a total of 68 yards and averaging 8.5 yards per game with one touchdown.
The seniors on the team also expect big things this year.
“I see us winning everything because I’m very confident in the team this season,” senior running back Matthew Biggers said. “I was very disappointed with the outcomes of last season because we lost to teams that we shouldn’t have. This year, we will come out with victories and not make the same mistakes as last season.”
Last season, Biggers rushed for 1,443 yards and averaged 155.2 yards per game with 11 touchdowns.
Like Okereke and Biggers, junior wide receiver, Jonathan Lilly, hopes for big things this season.
“I definitely see us winning all of our games and making it to playoffs and winning that too,” Lilly said. “With these expectations, I see us making it far in the conference. The consistency in receiving will need some improvement but I feel good about this season.”
Lilly received 126 yards and averaged 18 yards per game with three touchdowns last season.
“Every area is somewhere to improve on but our defense is a key area,” Krich said. “We definitely need to heavily improve on stopping the ball in each play, whether it is in rushing or passing, but the team is getting better each day.”
Last season, the Leopard defense totaled for 556 tackles, 17 sacks, seven interceptions, six recovered fumbles and two blocked kicks.
“The players are relatively young with a long way to go with things that we are still trying to figure out because it’s a learning process and we’re taking steps into the right direction, but I’m still pretty confident in my team.” Krich said.
The Leopards open their season on the road Sept. 21 against the Whitworth Pirates in Spokane, Wash.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.