Team photo from left:
Row 1: Austin Hefflinger, Cody Downs, Logan Hosley, Chance Himmelein, Schyler Scherff, Cole Gorski, Jordan Hendrix, Austin Rohleder, Jon Weihl
Row 2: Tyler Robertson, Logan Beardsley, Trent Soto, Trevor Toney, Zach Zuhlsdorf, Dameon Nigh, Riley Tercha, Donald Hardison, Lance Roehl, Zach Downs
Row 3: Alex Krabill, Michael Hoiles, Justin Giovanoli, Tyler West, Brennan Schall, Collin Kitchen, Robby Lutz, Dalton Walls, Caleb Premo
Row 4: Cody Vance, Cameron Fowler, Chad Robertson, Corbin Camp, Ryan Lashaway, Mason Gonzales, Colton Battin, Dillon Farley, Lane Gerschutz
Row 5: Coaches Tom Ferdig, Scott Bylow, Bryce Graven, head coach Matt Dzierwa, Charles Artino, Dan Davis, Tim Bialecki
ABOUT THE TEAM:
Coach: Matt Dzierwa, first year
Last season: 6-4, 5-2 NBC
Returning letter winners: 12
Returning starters: Offense 3, defense 4
Top players: Seniors Cody Downs, 6-1, 180, QB-DB; Cole Gorski, 5-11, 164, WR-DB; John Weihl, 5-9, 174, WR-LB; Austin Rohleder, 5-11, 179, RB-LB; Austin Hefflinger, 5-11, 176, TE-LB. Junior Dameon Nigh, 6-0, 293, OL-DL.
Outlook: Dzierwa, an assistant at Otsego for seven seasons under Erik Johnson, takes over with 40 players.
The former St. John's Jesuit head coach had a 25-18 record while guiding the Titans for four seasons (1998-2001).
The Knights must replace All-Ohio quarterback Ryan Smoyer and his top target, Nate Hackworth.
Downs, a running back who rushed for 402 yards (5.6 per carry) and nine scores, takes over behind center. Rohleder also is back after rushing for 355 on 52 carries (6.8 per tote).
Dzierwa said those two along with wideouts Gorski and Weihl should make the skill positions a team strength.
But depth at all positions, particularly the offensive line, is a possible trouble area.
“If we remain healthy, we have the potential to be a very good football team,” Dzierwa said.
Aug. 30-at Evergreen
Sep. 6-at Wayne Trace
Sep. 13-Bowling Green
Sep. 20-at Lake
Oct. 11-at Fostoria
Oct. 25-at Woodmore