The Paper photo by Lori Poteet 
The Charger football team kicks off their season Aug. 19 against Benton Central.
The Paper photo by Lori Poteet
The Charger football team kicks off their season Aug. 19 against Benton Central.

LINDEN – No football team in the Sagamore Conference may have more of a different look this season than North Montgomery. The Chargers, who finished 8-4 overall and 5-2 in the Conference, graduated nearly 85 percent of their offense, and three of their five leading tacklers.

However, third year Charger coach Josh Thompson, who’s 14-8 overall, says not to be worried. “We bring back almost our entire offensive line, and a solid nucleus from our JV squad.”

Anchoring the line will be last year starters, Cole Slavens, Gregory Pietsch, Sam Lovold, Kevin Pierce, and Isaac Fruits, who are all seniors. The only newcomer is junior Bryce Adams, who will take over at center.

Junior Collin Knecht will take over the quarterback position and will look to build off of the experience he gained last season.

“Collin’s a good size kid, he’s smart and makes good decisions with the football,” Thompson said of his first-year starter. “We feel that it’s just a matter of him getting his timing down for our offense to click.”

Senior leadership will not be a problem for North, as they have 17 out this season, including two guys coming back to the program in Caleb Randolph and Bryce Frederick.

Defensively, they return two of their top tacklers in Tanner Webster and Nate Emmert. Webster averaged seven tackles per game including two sacks and two forced fumbles. Emmert averaged just under five per game. They, along with Fruits, will look to lead the defense.

“I think Slavens and Gregory Pietsch will play significant minutes on both sides of the ball too,” Thompson said of his seniors. “However, we’ll also need some younger guys to step up and reduce that learning curve to be successful.”

The Chargers open their season at home on Friday, Aug. 19, by hosting Benton Central. Owen Valley replaces Brebeuf Jesuit on the schedule and will play at Charger Field on Aug. 26. They’ll open County and Sagamore Conference play on Sept. 2 in the Civil War at Southmont.