Last season was a transition year for Norwayne. After a playoff
appearance in 2008, the Bobcats fell back in the standings a bit with a
5-5 record. A young team combined with new coaches and a new system resulted in a
learning experience. Things should go smoother this time around.
2009 Record: 5-5
*Players To Watch – QB/DB Adam Wallace (6-3, 185, jr.), RB/DB Tyler Zimmerly (5-9, 190, jr.), WR/DB Zac Vance (5-10, 165, sr.), LB/FB Taylor Kassa (5-10, 215, sr.), K/P Cody Hartong (5-10, 160, sr.), OL/DL Ryan Wiles (6-3, 265, sr.)
*Outllook – Last season was a transition year for Norwayne. After a playoff appearance in 2008, the Bobcats fell back in the standings a bit with a 5-5 record.
A young team combined with new coaches and a new system resulted in a learning experience.
“Last year was a season of learning, youth, firsts, and growth,” head coach Joe Harbour said. “It was my first year at Norwyane as well as my first year as a head coach. Three out of my six assistants were also in their first year at Norwayne and two were in their first year of varsity coaching. We were in our first year of running a very different system than what my very successful predecessor ran.”
Youth played a big role in Norwayne’s 2009 season as a relatively small number of players were upperclassmen.
“We had some great seniors and juniors who were key contributors and provided great leadership but we only had a combined total of 15 upper classmen,” Harbour said. “Several of these were either first year players or in their first year back after having not played in previous seasons. In addition to the 15 juniors and seniors we also had 15 sophomores as well as a handful of freshman contributing on the varsity. All this made for quite a bit of on the job learning.”
Despite the aforementioned hurdles, however, Norwayne was able to field a very competitive team that gave opponents everything they could handle.
“We ended up with a 5-5 record, but other than the very first contest we were in every single game until the end,” Harbour said. “If you exclude the season opener which had to be postponed and made up on Saturday afternoon, we either had fourth quarter leads, fourth quarter red zone scoring opportunities to take the lead, or both in each of our other four losses. We very easily could have been 9-1, but in the end, we were what we were: a 5-5 team as we never managed to consistently seize opportunities and make the critical plays.”
The Bobcats might come a lot closer to that 9-1 mark this year than the 5-5 mark. Fifteen overall starters return for this year’s team.
“We are looking to build off the 2009 season that saw us struggle at times with the inherent problems of being young team and come up short in some very close losses,” Harbour said. “Despite the loss of some solid 2009 seniors, we return almost all of our skill players in 2010. Graduation losses will hit us on the O-line the hardest where we lost three out of five starters and the first two backups as well.
“If we can build a solid line, mature, and utilize the experience a lot of our returners got last year as young players we could be poised for a very successful season. We have a lot of talent and a lot of potential as we head into 2010.”
*Schedule – Things won’t come easy for Norwayne as the Bobcats face a schedule full of challenging opponents. Said Harbour: “We will compete in the very tough and very competitive Wayne County Athletic League where once again the difference between the top and bottom is very slim as it normally is every year. Each and every league game is going to be a challenge just like they were last year. Hopefully we learned and matured enough after four close tough league losses last year to win the close ones this year and compete for the league title and a playoff position.
“Our three non-league games are also against very strong teams which will battle test us early and prepare us for our run at the WCAL crown and a playoff berth.”
8/27 at Wellington
9/3 Cuyahoga Falls Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy
9/10 Collins Western Reserve
9/17 West Salem Northwestern
9/24 at Rittman
10/1 at Apple Creek Waynedale
10/8 Doylestown Chippewa
10/15 at Dalton
10/29 at Jeromesville Hillsdale