Tigers to field veteran squad
By LARRY LEEDS, Sports Editor
The Howard Tigers open the gridiron season on Friday as they host two-time and defending Class 9A champion Canistota.|
It does not get any easier for the Tigers after Friday night as they face several top-ranked 9-man football teams again in 2012.
"A tough schedule like ours can be like a two-blade sword," said Howard Coach Pat Ruml. "It will prepare you for the playoffs, but if you go .500, you will be on the road in the playoffs."
Besides facing Canistota, the Tigers will play highly-touted Chester and Hanson, along with Class AA champion Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan.
The Tigers have a wealth of experience coming back in 2012. Fourteen letterwinners return to the gridiron for Ruml:
-- Seniors Nathan Dawson, offensive lineman; Evan Donahue, fullback/linebacker; Hunter Eggert, linebacker; James Jungwirth, tight end; Landon Laible, quarterback; Steve Larsen, tight end/defensive end; Cole Potter, running back/linebacker; Andrew Schwader, offensive lineman/defensive end; Ben Walter, nose guard; Cal Wiese, linebacker; and Keegan Wekmeister, offensive lineman.
-- Junior Nick Pardy, linebacker/offensive lineman.
-- Sophomores Jordan Kuhle, linebacker; and Luke Loudenberg, fullback/safety.
Howard has 13 seniors on the 2012 team.
"Some of these seniors have been starting since they were sophomores," Ruml said. "They know there is no next year. When the eight regular-season games are done, the season could be over for them."
According to Ruml, the players reported to fall camp stronger this year. Several of them have been lifting weights since April.
"The experience in big games will be one of the strengths for the Tigers," Ruml said. "We are also quicker and have a good group of wide receivers and an experienced quarterback."
Ruml's major concern is staying healthy and injury-free.
Assisting Ruml this season are Troy Loudenburg, Chad Podhradsky and Jason Maier.
"Canistota will be good again," Ruml said. The Hawks return highly-touted quarterback Cody Bunger and running back Alex Robertson. "Their junior varsity team was very good last season and there will be no dropoff."
According to Ruml, Canistota beat Howard 48-0 last year.
"We need to take care of the ball better. Last year we had too many turnovers," he said. "It will be a great game as we are much improved."
Howard has a couple of players with some bumps and bruises but they will be playing on Friday night, according to Ruml.
The remainder of the Tigers' schedule is as follows: Sept. 7 at Chester, Sept. 14 at Parker, Sept. 21 Freeman, Sept. 28 at Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan (Emery), Oct. 5 Hanson, Oct. 12 Baltic, Oct. 18 at Mt. Vernon.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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