Coach: Ken James, 27th year
Last season: 9-2, 7-0 TAAC
Returning letter winners: 20
Returning starters: Offense 10, defense 7
Top players: Seniors Nick Whitmore, 6-0, 240, FB-LB; Justin Rohrs, 6-2, 256, C-DT; Nick Russell, 5-11, 163, QB; David Bogart, 6-3, 227, OT-DE; John Segura, 6-1, 239, G-DE; Evan Perkins, 5-9, 173, RB-LB; Stephen Fuller, 5-10, 145, RB-CB.
Outlook: The Rangers have dominated play in the TAAC since becoming a member in 2001. They have posted a 58-4 conference record in 11 seasons and produced seven outright titles. In four seasons, Northwood's lone TAAC loss cost it the conference title. Coming off a 7-0 run in the TAAC last year, the Rangers are a solid threat to duplicate that feat this year with starters back at 17 of 22 positions, including three players (Whitmore, Bogart and Russell) who are fourth-year starters. Five others (Segura, Rohrs, Perkins, Dustin Fullenlove, and Mike Tonti) are third-year starters. Whitmore was the TAAC defensive player of the year in 2011, and Russell (1,227 passing yards, 702 rushing), Segura, Rohrs, Bogart and Perkins were each All-TAAC players.
Experience, depth and team speed will all be pluses, while James' main concern is inexperience in the secondary in a pass-heavy conference.
"We have a large senior class [18 total] that has experienced much success," said James, who is 142-127 with the Rangers, including 82-26 since 2001. "Our big challenge will be battling complacency and focusing on the task at hand as we move through the season."
2012 NORTHWOOD SCHEDULE
Aug. 31-at Lake
Sep. 14-at Edon
Sep. 28-at Hilltop
Oct. 12-Toledo Christian at Perrysburg
Oct. 19-Ottawa Hills
Oct. 26-Cardinal Stritch at Clay