After a disappointing end to the 2017 season, Delta coach Jeff Wolford was expecting his team to be looked down upon by their peers. That was evident earlier this month when they were picked to finish last in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League by the rest of the league coaches.
But, what Wolford was unsure of was how his team would respond going to the season. The result was positive.
“These kids aren’t quitting. They are trying,” said Wolford. “I just hope people understand that they are still a work in progress. We’re still young. But my seniors have been working hard and doing good things.”
Offensively for the Panthers, they will be led by their stable of backs.
“I have two fullbacks that are phenomenal,” explained the coach. “I’ve got Kai Fox who’s a sophomore. Kai Fox is impressive. He’s gonna go both ways, or share time at fullback with JD Osborn. They both have some shake and bake and they both can run you over. I’m not kidding you, my running backs are gonna be phenomenal. The way they’re working, how they’ve been lifting, how they look.
“I have a good mix of what I call “thunder and lightning.” So we’re gonna be able to pound the ball. We’re gonna be able to block. It’s just gonna be much improved.”
Delta will run a straight Wing T this year, utilizing some aspects that have helped them in the past.
They have nine honorable mention All-NWOAL athletes returning. Those are Max Hoffman, Tristan Saeger, Logan Echler, Osborn, Nathan Kohlhofer, Hunter Tresnan-Reighard, Jose Arroyo, Dalton Richard and Noah Druschel.
Many of those will make an impact on the defensive side of the ball. Players that have stood out are Kohlhofer, Arroyo, Richard and Osborn. Fox will be the quarterback of the defense at middle linebacker.
“I think my d-line is gonna really help this year,” said Wolford. “That will help my linebackers make things better. Will it translate into wins, I don’t know. But we will be more competitive.”
The early portion of the season will likely be key for the Panthers. Should they have success in the non-league, it could catapult them to more wins once league play starts.
Wolford is hopeful his team can give a fight, and perhaps win, at home against McComb in week one. They host Rogers in week two, and travel to Tinora in week three, before hosting Patrick Henry to begin NWOAL action.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010