Bobcats return with experience

Brethren’s James Connolly takes a handoff during practice on Monday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

BRETHREN — Experience can go a long way on the first day of practice, whether it’s from a returning quarterback, a veteran front line, or a seasoned rushing corps.

In Brethren on Monday, the Bobcats checked off all of the above.

“We know we’re going to have to seal up some things, but I’ll tell you, we’ve got a really good group of returning upper classmen,” said Brethren coach Alvin Rischel while presiding over the first official day of the fall season. “There’s great leadership there, and I think they’re going to help us out a lot in the early going.”

A season ago, Rischel became the third head coach in as many years at Brethren, and with a 2-7 record, helped lead the program to its first multiple-win season in the last four. On Monday, the Bobcats seemed determined to pick up where they left off.

“I think there’s an excitement here that we haven’t had in the past, so we’re looking forward to it,” Rischel said. “Right now we’re just evaluating our talent, finding out where our strengths and weaknesses are.”

Familiarity with the offense and each other made the process that much easier.

“To see 20 guys out already is a bonus, and most of these guys are coming back, so we’ve run a lot of this,” said senior quarterback Lucas Richardson. “Today, it’s about repetition. It’s really a refresher.”

The Bobcats focused on offense Monday, with defense on the itinerary today. While part of practice was split into stations of linemen and the backfield, Rischel also acknowledged the balance between returners and fresh faces.

“A lot of this early on is review for most of them, but they’ll help a lot of the younger guys get up to speed,” he said. “The good thing, offensively, is we’re returning eight of our 11 starters from last year. Defensively, we’re around six to eight returning.

“So, sure, they’ll be some spots to fill, but the core of both groups are guys coming back.”

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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