DB/WR Nathan Siebenaller (5-10, 145, Sr.), DB/WR Lukas Schalk (5-8, 151, Sr.), LB Travis Wise (5-10, 158, Sr.), LB/RB Adam Brickner (5-10, 163, Sr.), LB/OL Robbie Oldnaker (5-11, 236, Sr.)
2006 Record: 11-2
In 2006, the Hopewell-Loudon Chieftains were explosive as any team in Division VI. The Chieftains put up over 40 points a game in route to a 9-1 regular season and a fifth straight playoff appearance before losing a heartbreaker in the regional championship 29-28 to Norwalk St. Paul. Now in 2007, it will be a younger, hungrier Chieftain team trying to continue the tradition of success.
With the huge offensive numbers the Chieftains put up last season, what may have been overlooked was a very strong and stingy defense. Throughout their run to the regional championship, the defense only allowed 12.6 points per game. Returning this year will be a solid core that head coach Brian Colatruglio admits will have to be the ones to pace Hopewell-Loudon this year.
“Our back seven is going to be our strength this year,” Colatruglio said. “We might not be quite as explosive as we have been on offense, but our defense will lead us. We are going to hang our hat on defense this year.”
Hopewell-Loudon will return six starters on the defensive side of the ball. The secondary will feature two-year letter winners, Nathan Siebenaller (5’10 145 Sr.), and Lukas Schalk (5’8 151 Sr.). All three starting linebackers will be back for the Chieftains including Travis Wise (5’10 158lb Sr.), Adam Brickner (5’10 163 Sr.), and Robbie Oldnaker (5’11 236 Sr.).
While the defense looks to be solid once again, the offense will be mostly young and inexperienced. Only four starters return, two are wide receivers, Siebenaller and Schalk, and two linemen, Oldnaker and Anthony Reinhart (5’10 218 Sr.). One of the tougher holes to fill, will be that of quarterback Andrew Brose, a 2,000 yard passer who was the centerpiece of the Chieftains’ four-wide, aerial attack from a year ago. This year without Brose, Colatruglio says the team will have a lot more versatility.
“Last year we were four-wide shotgun most of the time,” Colatruglio said. “We have the ability to go into a lot of personnel groups, a lot of different formations. We can get in the I and run the ball. We can bring in two tight ends, and we can still spread it out and throw.”
Replacing Brose will not be a one-man job for the Chieftains. Colatruglio has two quarterbacks that will each get their chance, and each has different strengths they bring to the table.
“We have one QB who is a really gifted runner,” stated Colatruglio. “We also have another one that is a good pocket passer. Their strengths are complete opposite of each other and will keep a good balance to our offense this year.”
In order to keep with the versatility, a good running game is also something Colatruglio is looking for. After rushing for over 2,000 yards as a team the past two seasons, the job this year will lie mostly in the hands of Adam Brickner.
“Adam is a very talented back,” Colatruglio said. “He rushed for three or four hundred yards last year as a back-up and put it in the end zone a couple times, so we are looking for big things out of him this year.”
With talent and experience existing at most of the skill positions, the key ingredient to the success of this years team will be the progress made by the offensive and defensive lines. Colatruglio will be relying on kids stepping up from the JV levels to fill key holes on both sides of the ball. The learning curve for these kids will be short due to a challenging non-conference schedule to open up the season.
Hopewell-Loudon will open up the season with two back-to-back tough games, Week One against Bloomdale Elmwood and Week Two against Kansas Lakota.
“These games are always big as we play good teams and our kids understand the importance of winning these games not only to get off to a good start, but for playoff points,” Colatruglio said. “Our JV kids are going to have to grow up quick. We’re going to find out a lot about some kids who’ve never played before and how much progress we can make.”
Hopewell-Loudon has a big tradition to follow as the Chieftains have gone 35-4 combined over the past three seasons. However, Colatruglio believes the tradition will carry on to this year’s team.
“Success breads success. The younger guys see where we’ve gone and how close we’ve been,” Colatruglio said. “They understand the work it takes to get there and now they expect to win.”
Although the playoffs are always an ultimate goal, the key to getting there starts with success in the Midland Athletic League.
“Every school in our conference is less then 20 minutes away and every league game is pretty darn important to these kids,” Colatruglio said. “If we go out and win our league, everything else will take care of itself.”
Hopewell-Loudon has moved into Region 21 this year, but with the winning tradition Colatruglio has built, the Chieftains will be a perennial contender who you can expect to see playing late into November.
Hopewell-Loudon 2007 Schedule
|8/24/2007||@ Bloomdale Elmwood||5|
|8/31/2007||@ Kansas Lakota||5|
|9/14/2007||Fremont St. Joseph||6|
|9/21/2007||@ Attica Seneca East||6|
|10/12/2007||@ North Baltimore||6|
|10/20/2007||@ Fostoria St. Wendelin||6|