Erik Baker has been the head coach of the Mohawk Warriors for six years. Over those six seasons he has compiled an overall record of 50-16. An impressive accomplishment in the highly competitive Midland Athletic League, but what is more impressive is that during these six years his Mohawk teams have qualified for the state playoffs each time.
Needless to say Baker and his 2007 Mohawk team fully expect to make their annual trip to the postseason. This year, however, unlike the past six they would like to progress beyond the first round.
The strength of this year’s team, particularly on offense, is running back, Brock Carrigan. Carrigan (5-10, 210, Sr.) is a bull on the playing field who rushed for well over a 1,000 yards last season while lighting up the scoreboard for 17 touchdowns. With the ability to bench press 370 pounds, he does not tire easily and opposing teams can expect Carrigan to do the bulk of the running for the Warriors.
Assisting Carrigan in the run and boot style offense utilized by the Warriors will be halfbacks Tyler Hogan (Sr.) and Kurt Fredritz (Sr.). Because of the nature of the Mohawk offense, both will receive their share of carries but their providing blocking support for Carrigan will be equally important.
Leading the offense at quarterback is senior David Stein (6-3, 215). Stein has been an important part of the Mohawk team for the past three years as the kicker. This year is his first under center.
Although the Mohawk offensive attack is run oriented, Stein will have an outstanding passing option in wide receiver Connor Jump (6-0, 170). Jump is an excellent athlete, having earned the 2006-07 MAL player of the year honor in basketball. His presence should force opposing defenses to pay attention to him and thereby relieve some of the pressure around the ball.
A good running game requires a strong offensive line and Baker has a solid anchor to build around in senior tackle Adam Hohman (6-2, 230). Like Jump, Hohman is also an excellent athlete and his skills should provide the Mohawk running backs with an outstanding lead blocker.
Defensively, the Warriors return seven starters. The defense will be strong up the middle as two seniors, Marcus Newhorter (6-2, 210) and Landon Frakart (6-1, 195) are stationed there as linebackers. Behind them are three solid defensive backs, Carrigan, Jump and junior Keith Ziegler.
“We must make the plays,” Baker said. “We have lots of speed but we have to make the tackles.”
With his track record, Baker certainly expects to make the playoffs again but his first concern is the league competition. With teams like Hopewell-Loudon, Carey and Seneca East it will not be easy and when you add in the improved program at Tiffin Calvert and the always dangerous Fremont St. Joseph’s you have the ingredients for a tough regular season.
Do not bet against another Mohawk playoff appearance but it will not be an easy road.