Although they do return several key athletes from a season ago, 2020 will likely be a rebuilding year for Evergreen football. Or as fourth-year coach Aaron Schmidt might say, a year for growth.
“There is a lot of learning to be done for all the kids on this team,” Schmidt said. “Our season outcomes will depend on how well the kids improve throughout the course of the season. That job falls on both the duties of the players and the coaches as well.”
This offseason could be described as out of ordinary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, coach Schmidt has been impressed by his team’s desire to be coached up.
“This group of kids are very hardworking and receptive to coaching. Their ability to learn will allow them to be as successful as possible,” he said.
Returning for the Vikings are Jake Fuller, who was a first team All-NWOAL offensive guard and honorable mention All-Northwest District a season ago; Jacob Riggs, honorable mention all-league wide receiver; Landen Vance, honorable mention all-league defensive end; Payton Boucher, honorable mention all-league defensive back; Colin Smith (WR/DB); Cody Sheller (OL/DL); and Sam Worline (OL/DL).
They also have promising newcomers Brock Hudik (RB/DB), Tanner Pollard (QB/LB) and Ethan Loeffler (RB/LB).
The Vikings will need to replace seven letter winners, the same total they have returning.
Gone from 2019 are Nick Beemer, a first team all-league and honorable mention all-district linebacker; Will Smithmyer, second team all-league and honorable mention all-district offensive tackle; Jack Krispin, second team all-league running back; Jack Etue, honorable mention all-league quarterback; Levi Moore (OL/DL), honorable mention all-league; Brian Floyd (RB/LB); and Tyler Peppers (OL/DL).
“There has been a lot of turnover since the past season. Lots of new faces in prominent roles for this upcoming season,” said Schmidt on potential weaknesses of his team.
The Vikes hope to improve from their 2-4 NWOAL mark a year ago; however, in this league, that is no easy task.
“The NWOAL will once again be very competitive,” said Schmidt. “Archbold, Liberty Center and Wauseon will probably be towards the top in vying for the league title, but every week any team could beat any other one. There are a lot of good coaches in this league that will have their kids prepared every week to compete and knock off the favorite.”
Evergreen’s new schedule as a result of the pandemic has them hosting Delta in week one this Friday.