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Hornets Can Be "A Really Good Football Team"

Hornets hope athleticism, swarming defense will carry the team into the post-season.

Coach Mike Glennie isn’t one to make bold predictions that end up as locker room material used by opposition. But he’s optimistic about Saline varsity football team.

“There are signs that we are just a couple steps away from being a really good football team. But we’re not there yet,” said Glennie. “Overall, I’d say we need to focus on the little things and get better every day.”

The Hornets had a strong season last year, finishing 6-3 before losing to Plymouth in the opening round of the MHSAA playoffs. Saline was 4-3 in the SEC Red Division, which put them a tie for third.

As always, the Hornets graduated key players including all-leaguers like Garret Gordon, Bret Wigal, Austin McBee, Alex Farmer and Mitch Ozadchuk.

But while numbers are down a little, Coach Glennie said there is no shortage of talent on this year’s team.

Dils Named Starting QB

On offense, the Hornets hand the keys to quarterback Reece Dils. The 5’10 junior quarterbacked the junior varsity team in his freshman and sophomore years.

“He’s a talented kid who throws the ball well and moves well in the picket. But of everything he brings to the table, first and foremost is his ability to make good decisions—to distribute the football in the way it needs to be done to give us a chance,” Glennie said. “He’s a good kid who works hard.”

Dils will have no shortage of targets.

“We’ve got five kids at wide-out and feel good about all of them,” said Glennie.

Senior Tim Hermann has been “doing good things” in camp and scrimmages. Joining him are Charles Slattery, Matt Monahan, Dylan Mulder and Christian Miranda. Talented tight end Derek Owings, a 6-4, 225-pound horse, will also see pigskin.

A Swarm of Hornets Will Run The Ball

Glennie hoped to have three fullbacks. Junior Caleb Ashby broke his leg in practice and will be out for a significant period of time. That means more work for senior Justin Barnes, the 6’0, 220-pound returner, and senior Ike Nwokeji, 6’0, 205-pound newcomer who possesses impressive speed and strength.

Glennie said the team has a “corral of halfbacks.”

“All are athletic. All run hard. All can catch the ball and block,” Glennie said. The corral includes Brandon Gordon, Hunter Leslie, Andrew Butcko and Matt Goeman.

If there’s been a concern, so far, it’s that injuries have made it hard to set a starting lineup, Glennie said.

Schukow, Davis Lead Offensive Line

That’s as true on offensive line as anywhere else.

What Glennie knows is that All-SEC right tackle Casey Schukow is back for his junior year, and that returning starter Matt Davis is at center.

“This is an area where we have a lot of youth and inexperience. But we’ve got some seniors who didn’t play much last year who have looked good, and we have guys coming up from JV competing hard,” Glennie said.

One of those seniors is 6’2, 290-pound Brennen Arnett.

“He’s a big kid who plays tackle who has been doing good things for us and looks to be earning a job,” Glennie said.

Injuries Leave Defensive Positions Up For Grabs

On defense, Glennie said that the auditions for jobs will continue early into the season. With so many kids playing both ways, he expects to use a lot of players on the defensive line.

“We have 16 kids who can play defensive line. They take such a pounding so we like to try and keep legs fresh,” Glennie said.

Schukow returns at nose guard. Nwokeji could line up at defense end.

The team would like to Owings at linebacker, but his strength and size could prove critical on the line

“He’ll bounce back and forth. He’s a big, talented kid who can help our team in many ways,” Glennie said.

Senior Joey Wooley returns as a starter at linebacker.

“The injury to Caleb Ashby shuffled things around a bit. I guess will find out Friday who else is starting,” Glennie said.

In the secondary, Ryan Brown, who started at corner as a sophomore, returns. Brandon Gordon is at safety. Hunter Leslie returns as starter at the Hornet sting position.

Special Teams Are Special

Glennie said special teams a major strength of the team.

“Our special teams will put us on a short field and give our defense good field position,” Glennie said.

Placekicker Dylan Mulder, a senior, was All-SEC last year. Punter Ryan Brown received All-SEC honorable mention as a sophomore last year. Taybor Pepper is considered one of the best long snappers in the region.

“I feel good about the kids we have,” Glennie said. “I think one of our best assets is our athleticism.”

Now, it’s about executing and improving. And to do that, players need to stay within themselves.

“It’s not about the individual making big plays. It’s about spokes in a wheel and everyone doing their part of the job,” Glennie said. “If we play swarming, physical football and we stick to doing our part, we should be in good shape.”

2011 Varsity Football Schedule 

Date

Time

Opponent

Conf.

Aug. 26

7 p.m.

Walled Lake Western

N

Sept. 2

7 p.m.

Ypsilanti

N

Sept. 9

7 p.m.

@ Ypsilanti Lincoln

N

Sept. 16

7 p.m.

@ Pioneer

C

Sept. 23

7 p.m.

Bedford

C

Sept. 30

7 p.m.

Monroe

C

Oct. 6

7 p.m.

@ Ann Arbor Huron

C

Oct. 14

7 p.m.

Skyline

C

Oct. 21

7 p.m.

@ Novi

N

2011 Saline Varsity Football Roster

Name

#

Offensive Position

Defensive Position

Height

Class

Zakrajsek, Joey

1

SE

DB

6'

11

Hammond, Gage

2

RB

DB

5' 9"

11

Leslie, Hunter

3

RB

H/S

5' 6"

12

Andreis, Michael

4

SE

DB

6' 1"

12

Ashby, Caleb

5

RB

LB

5' 11"

11

Magenta, Jordan

6

RB

H/S

5' 7"

12

Gordon, Brandon

7

RB

DB

5' 10"

11

Herrmann, Tim

8

SE

DB

5' 9"

12

Wooley, Joe

10

TE

LB

6' 2"

12

Dils, Reese

12

QB

DB

5' 10"

11

Brown, Ryan

13

QB

DB

6'

11

Arbour, Griffin

14

QB

DB

6' 2"

12

Goeman, Matt

16

RB

DB

5' 10"

11

Butcko, Andrew

17

RB

H/S

5' 8"

11

Slattery, Charles

18

SE

DB

5' 5"

11

Monahan, Matt

19

SE

DB

5' 11"

11

Mulder, Dylan

20

SE

H/S

6'

12

Miranda, Christian

21

SE

DB

5' 10"

11

Owings, Derek

23

TE

DE

6' 4"

12

Barbu, Matt

25

OL

LB

6' 1"

11

Nwokeii, Ike

26

RB

DL

6'

12

Strobbe, Joe

32

RB

H/S

6'

11

Barnes, Justin

34

RB

LB

6'

12

Kissane, Brian

43

TE

DL

6'

11

Kendig, Alex

44

OL

LB

5' 11"

11

Elekonich, Kaleb

51

OL

LB

5' 9"

11

Usein, Kadri

52

OL

DL

5' 10"

11

Swick, Jake

53

OL

LB

5' 11"

11

Lupascu, Jonny

54

OL

LB

5' 10"

11

Smutny, John

55

OL

LB

6'

10

Anthony, Jason

56

OL

DL

5' 11"

11

Smith, Craig

60

OL

DL

5' 10"

11

Stralnic, Joel

61

OL

DL

6' 3"

12

Miller, Will

62

OL

DL

6'

12

Leonard, Aaron

65

OL

DL

5' 10"

11

Davis, Matt

66

OL

DL

5' 10"

12

Elliot, Ben

68

G

DE

5' 8"

10

Kilgallon, Clayton

70

OL

DL

5' 9"

11

Farah, Jacob

71

OL

DL

5' 10"

12

Olson, Gavin

72

OL

LB

5' 7"

11

Sweeney, Alex

74

OL

DL

6' 9"

12

Schukow, Casey

75

OL

DL

6'

11

Cyburt, Alex

76

OL

DL

6'

11

Arnett, Brennen

79

OL

DL

6' 2"

12

Kohler, Evan

80

OL

DL

6'

11

Vidaurri, Jackson

81

SE

DB

6' 1"

11

Pepper, Taybor

84

 

DL

6' 4"

12

Keebler, Evan

88

TE

LB

6' 1"

11

 

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