“We are happy to have this group again. We have had a lot of kids who started out as juniors last year and learned some tough lessons, ”said Oliphant. “We feel like we can get better this year because of these lessons.”
The 18 returning starters are evenly distributed, nine on the offensive and nine on the defensive. The Wildcats’ biggest hit is the backfield after losing their top four rushers to completion.
Will Gordon, Zach Ladowski, Joseph Young and Kris Petroski totaled 1,804 yards and 17 touchdowns on 294 carries in 2019, well over half of the team’s production in all of these categories.
However, quarterback Anthony Limon, the fifth best player in 2019, is returning to lead a crime based on toughness and physicality to win games in 2021.
“We want everyone we play to know they’ve been in a street fight for 48 minutes,” said Oliphant. “We’ll try to hold on to (the ball) for as long as possible and leave these serious crimes in the I-Meck on the sidelines.”
Even when these aforementioned high performance crimes by Oliphant are on the field, they have to deal with a wildcat defense with a lot of experience.
Every single defensive player who registered 20 or more tackles for the “Blackshirt” defense of Lake Norman in the 2019 season is returning, including linebacker Tanner Schmidt and Safety Will Kobuszeski, players with 91 and 86 tackles respectively.