Ryan Kolenbrander set to be leader for Baldwin football

BALDWIN — Ryan Kolenbrander is among the candidates working at quarterback for Baldwin this week, and the Panther junior is ready for any challenges that will come his way.

Practices started Monday. A scrimmage is set for Aug. 17 at Lawrence. The opener is Aug. 25 at home with Grand Traverse.

Kolenbrander is in his third varsity season at Baldwin. He has been at various positions including quarterback.

“Its going pretty good,” said Kolenbrander who, like his teammates, is getting used to the pistol offense. “It’s a tighter formation.”

The offense is expected to feature a good amount of running and passing from the quarterback. Kolenbrander considers his passing and running talents to be about even. He and freshman HB Nichols are two of the leading prospects at quarterback.

“My concentration on the game,” is what Kolenbrander indicated would be among his strengths. He was also active during the summer

The first day of practices was on Monday, with Kolenbrander and his teammates preparing to get ready for the season kickoff.

“I think we’re going to be good,” he said. “I think we need to get into the groove, then we’ll be all right.”

Meanwhile, Blake Dockery has proven to be a talented football player in his first three seasons at Baldwin, and is hoping to keep it that way as a senior.

He’s spent a lot of time on basketball during the summer, but Dockery, a wide receiver, is now focusing on football. But a summer of sports has kept him in good shape.

He and his teammates are looking forward to the 8-player format.

Among the main focuses for the Panthers on offense is having Dockery getting his hands on the football. He likes being a receiver and handling the ball. He also has confidence in his hands.

“If I go up, I’ve got it,” he said.

The quarterback competition is among three players but Dockery has confidence being able to connect with whoever is passing the ball. But the Panthers are also expected to try moving the ball on the ground a lot.

Dockery will be focusing on “lock down” as a defensive back.

“We’re looking pretty good for our first practice,” Dockery said.

Baldwin was 1-8 last season with 11-player football with most of the opponents being larger schools.

They’re back to playing mostly Class D schools in 8-player football. Dockery is confident the Panthers can have success with the 8-player format.

Ryan Kolenbrander (left) makes the handoff at a Baldwin practice.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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