Experience key for Swanton football

By Drew Stambaugh - dstambaugh@aimmediamidwest.com

The 2020 Swanton football team.

The 2020 Swanton football team.

Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

Swanton’s returning letter winners in 2020.

Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

2020 Roster

2Josh Vance12WR/DB
3Trent Weigel12QB/DB
4Jon Byczynski12WR/DB
5Brendan Dziengelewski11WR/DB
6Devon Crouse12RB/DB/P
7Nate Vance10QB/LB
8Kaden Curtis10QB/DB
9Jake Robinson10WR/DB
10Brennon Mersing9WR/DB
11Ethan Hensley10WR/DB/K
12Kyler Stevens9QB/DB
15Cole Mitchey10WR/DB/K
16Luke Arnold9WR/DB
17Lathan Pawlowicz11WR/DL
18Kayden Davis10WR/LB
19Kaden Keivens12WR/DB
21Ian Saunders12RB/LB
22Caleb Boose9RB/LB
23Blake Foster10WR/DL
25Kamon Molina10RB/LB
27Caleb Ostrander10WR/LB
28Xander Wiemken10WR/DB
33Hunter Gowing11RB/LB
35Mason Koback11WR/DB/K
38Blaize Garncarz10RB/DL
44Juan Arriola12FB/DL
50John Barnhart11OL/LB
51Jordan Badenhop10OL/DL
52Connor Cass12OL/LB
55Bryce Marvin11OL/DL
56Austyn Gossett11OL/DL
57Eric Bettinger12OL/LB
58Kaden Nofziger9OL/DL
60Johna Rico9OL/DL
61Ben Wilson10OL/DL
62Seth Sweet11OL/DL
64Luke Coon10OL/DL
65Michael Cohn10OL/DL
66Andrew Smigelski10OL/DL
67Toby Solarek9OL/LB
68Brady Arnold9OL/DL
70Sam Ellis9OL/DL
71Jacob Campbell12OL/DL
73Josh Townes12OL/DL
75Adrian Turner10OL/DL
76Aaron Thomas11OL/DL
78Drayton Rieger9OL/DL

Swanton will look to rebound from a 2-8 season with several starters returning on both sides of the ball.

Multiple skill position players return for the Bulldogs, who will again be running a spread offense under second-year head coach Denton Saunders.

“We are bringing back a lot of starters on both sides of the ball and 5 players who received all league honors,” said Saunders. “Overall we are returning 12 players on offense who started multiple games and 11 players on defense who started multiple games for us.”

Although Andrew Thornton, who started the 2019 season at quarterback is not playing, senior Trent Weigel returns to be the Swanton signal caller. He started multiple games following an injury to Thornton.

Weigel also played defensive back where he was named honorable mention all-league.

At wide receiver, Josh Vance leads the returnees after being named second team All-NWOAL last season as a junior. Sophomore Cole Mitchey is also back after seeing some time at wide receiver as a freshman. A likely third starter at wide out is senior Jon Byczynski.

Riley Hensley’s production will have to be replaced at both wide receiver and kicker, where he was first team all-league and second team all-district.

At running back, three-year letter winner Tyler Gowing (honorable mention all-league) graduated, but Devon Crouse and Ian Saunders return. Crouse was also a second team all-league defensive back and the punter, while Saunders was honorable mention all-league at linebacker.

Lathan Pawlowicz returns at tight end and will be joined by Hunter Gowing.

Injuries took a toll on the Bulldogs last season and they will hope for better luck on that front this year.

“We had some injuries to 5 key positions last year and for two weeks we had all our team captains injured at the same time. I was always extremely proud of all my players,” said Saunders. “Despite the low numbers and devastating injuries they always came ready to work at practice and played their hearts out every Friday night. Even though it may not have reflected it on the scoreboard, I believe my team got better every week last year.”

A hurdle that is faced by everyone this year is the impact of COVID-19.

“The biggest downfall is not being able to have our entire team at workout sessions at the same time,” Saunders said. “During the summer it is important for teams to come together and develop a toughness and edge in the weight room. Because of COVID-19 we have to do that with smaller groups.”

Team depth and line play could be weaknesses for Swanton this season.

“If a player or two gets injured I am not sure we will have the quality depth to fill their spot. We also need to improve our play on the offensive and defensive lines,” he said.

They do return some experience on the lines. Letter winners back include Connor Cass (honorable mention all-league DL), Bryce Marvin, Austyn Gossett, Eric Bettinger (honorable mention all-league OL), Andrew Smigelski, Josh Townes, and Aaron Thomas.

The defensive line will have to find a way to fill the hole left by Brendan Keith, who was first team all-league and second team all-district.

The Bulldogs will run a 4-2-5 defense with Thomas, Marvin, Townes and Pawlowicz likely to start on the line. Likely starters at defensive back are Josh Vance, Kadin Keivens, Mitchey, Crouse and Weigel.

At linebacker, second team all-league performer Xavier Wiemken will need to be replaced, along with Tyler Gowing. Saunders, Cass — who was also honorable mention all-league, but at DL — and Nate Vance will see time.

As for the league race, coach Saunders said Archbold has a lot of great talent coming back and is his pick to win the league again.

“Liberty Center, Wauseon and PH all made the playoff last year as well and will be looking to knock off Archbold,” he said. “Bryan is always big and tough. Evergreen and Delta will be much improved as well this year and be looking to jump into the top half of the league (same as us).”

With schedule changes due to COVID-19 Swanton will not open the season with Rossford, but will host Patrick Henry on Friday for an NWOAL contest.

The 2020 Swanton football team.
https://www.fcnews.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2020/08/web1_Swanton-team.jpgThe 2020 Swanton football team. Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

Swanton’s returning letter winners in 2020.
https://www.fcnews.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2020/08/web1_Swanton-letterwinners.jpgSwanton’s returning letter winners in 2020. Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

By Drew Stambaugh


2020 Roster
No. Name Grade Position
2 Josh Vance 12 WR/DB
3 Trent Weigel 12 QB/DB
4 Jon Byczynski 12 WR/DB
5 Brendan Dziengelewski 11 WR/DB
6 Devon Crouse 12 RB/DB/P
7 Nate Vance 10 QB/LB
8 Kaden Curtis 10 QB/DB
9 Jake Robinson 10 WR/DB
10 Brennon Mersing 9 WR/DB
11 Ethan Hensley 10 WR/DB/K
12 Kyler Stevens 9 QB/DB
15 Cole Mitchey 10 WR/DB/K
16 Luke Arnold 9 WR/DB
17 Lathan Pawlowicz 11 WR/DL
18 Kayden Davis 10 WR/LB
19 Kaden Keivens 12 WR/DB
21 Ian Saunders 12 RB/LB
22 Caleb Boose 9 RB/LB
23 Blake Foster 10 WR/DL
25 Kamon Molina 10 RB/LB
27 Caleb Ostrander 10 WR/LB
28 Xander Wiemken 10 WR/DB
33 Hunter Gowing 11 RB/LB
35 Mason Koback 11 WR/DB/K
38 Blaize Garncarz 10 RB/DL
44 Juan Arriola 12 FB/DL
50 John Barnhart 11 OL/LB
51 Jordan Badenhop 10 OL/DL
52 Connor Cass 12 OL/LB
55 Bryce Marvin 11 OL/DL
56 Austyn Gossett 11 OL/DL
57 Eric Bettinger 12 OL/LB
58 Kaden Nofziger 9 OL/DL
60 Johna Rico 9 OL/DL
61 Ben Wilson 10 OL/DL
62 Seth Sweet 11 OL/DL
64 Luke Coon 10 OL/DL
65 Michael Cohn 10 OL/DL
66 Andrew Smigelski 10 OL/DL
67 Toby Solarek 9 OL/LB
68 Brady Arnold 9 OL/DL
70 Sam Ellis 9 OL/DL
71 Jacob Campbell 12 OL/DL
73 Josh Townes 12 OL/DL
75 Adrian Turner 10 OL/DL
76 Aaron Thomas 11 OL/DL
78 Drayton Rieger 9 OL/DL