By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
In start contrast to the Northview offense, which has some inexperience this season after being loaded with upperclassmen the last couple of seasons, the Knights defense is the benefactor of a wealth of seniors according to head coach George Gettle.
"Defensively we return, I think nine starters, and have 10 seniors, who will start," Gettle said. "Most of the kids have played for two or three years in key positions. We've invested a lot in them and they've invested a lot in themselves and the program. Early on our thought was that defensively, it would be a flip of last year where our offense was so far ahead and we felt offensively we could just pick up from day one and continue on."
Friday's scrimmage showed that the group still has some work to do in meshing as a cohesive unit, but Gettle saw a group that held themselves accountable when looking at film of the game and that's something that he liked.
"We had a lot of missed alignments. We had a lot of guys that reverted back to youth football where you just kind of run around and try to tackle the guy with the ball. They weren't making reads and using proper technique," Gettle said. "From that standpoint we were a little disappointed. I'm expecting defensively to be much better this week than last Friday. For us to be successful early on, this defense will have to lead the team. There's no reason why they can't. There's plenty of size, speed and experience over there with 10 seniors on that side of the ball."
It all starts up front for the Knights who put Bryant Pestoff (6'4, 270 lbs.), Aaron See (6'1, 235 lbs.), Kreig Wallen (6'0, 225 lbs.) and Coleman Craig (6'4, 200 lbs.) on the line of scrimmage.
The linebackers are another talented and experienced group that will be counted on to provide some big plays.
The secondary includes a pair of veterans in Tyler Wilson (5'9, 165 lbs.), who is a two-year starting senior and Damon Hyatt (5'10, 165 lbs.), who is a three-year starting senior. Patrick Durcholz (6'1, 170 lbs.) and Alex Jervis (5'10, 175 lbs.) round out the defensive backfield.
"There's a lot of experience and even with kids like Alex (Jervis), who is starting his first year, he's played for us for three years and knows what we are doing," Gettle said. "We're expecting big things and I think the kids were disappointed in their play (in the scrimmage). The kids walked out of the film room on Saturday knowing they could play better."
The Knights get their first test against an unfamiliar opponent as the team travels to Indianapolis Broad Ripple to take on the Rockets.
Broad Ripple is under first-year head coach Anthony Law, who looks to improve upon a 4-6 mark last season. The Rockets had won back-to-back Indianapolis Public School Athletic Conference titles before last season. However, the team returns quarterback Randy Morton, who rushed and threw for 1,000 yards last season. Running back Jamonte Hampton also returns following a 378-yard season last year. Law is also implementing a pro-style offense along with a 3-5-3 defense.
"It's hard to tell in a scrimmage, but they are more of a spread/gun team. Their quarterback is a 1,000-yard rusher, but he didn't rush a lot in the scrimmage. So we don't' really know how they attack since this is our first time playing them," Gettle said. "They did throw the ball a little bit down the field. Obviously they have good speed, some very athletic kids. Their linemen aren't very big and they don't seem to have a lot depth. So we've told our kids, 'Go up there and play Northview football, lets battle with them, try to get on top and just play the whole game.'" If there's any advantage we have, it should be our experience and depth as the game progresses. Most of their kids play both ways and there's just not a lot of kids standing on the other sideline."