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Carlson offense gearing up for big 2014 PHOTOS

  • Action photos by Samantha Elliott

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Offense wins games and with expectations for a big offensive line this season, the Marauders except a successful season of winning games.

“We’ve got several guys in the running for a lot of playing time up front,” Carlson Coach Kent Sikora said. “Our offensive line should be a strength for us.”

Up front are two returning three-year starters in the form of Louis Lario (6-2, 252), Kris Grodi (6-3, 285) and Chris OConnell (6-1, 270) back from a knee injury and Michael Sanders (6-1, 260) is also returning.

Also up front making a push for playing time are Jasper Mercure (6-1, 210), Ben Ott (5-10, 200), Riley Patzsch (6-2, 215), Tyler Howard (5-10, 185), Sam Bilot (6-2, 220), Chad Smith (6-1, 220), Brendon Skopczynski (6-2, 240) and Aidan Higgins (6-1, 195).

In the backfield, the Marauders return both fullbacks from last season; Doug Bunea (5-11, 210) and Zac Moore (6-0, 215).

Max Underwood (6-0, 185) also returns, along with Andy Mydloski (6-0, 190) and both are expected to help out as well.

Returning to the tailback position are what Sikora calls the two best backs in the league.

Marvin Franklin (6-0, 165) and Joe Enwerejobi (5-10, 182) are both back on the field and the team will rely heavily on each throughout the 2014 season.

“Those are two guys we’re counting on very heavily,” Sikora said. “Both of them are leaders and we’re counting on that.”

Two others Sikora expects to run well with the ball are Darren Watkins (5-9, 185) and Marcus Ecie (5-10, 150).

CJ Nagle (6-2, 190), Alex Johnson (6-1, 170) and Eric Webb (6-3, 190) are all buying for time in the tight end position.

Sikora feels his squad is deep at the wide receiver position and believes a lot of guys will step up.

Zach Kohn (6-4, 181) returns to his wide receiver position and at outside receiver are Thaddeus Enwerejobi (6-0, 155), Ethan Estrada (5-11, 185) and Nagle.

Nick Slusarczyk (5-10, 150) and Anthony (5-11, 165) and Marcus (5-11, 165) Stallworth will also spend time in the position.

At inside and slot, Alex Franco (5-9, 155), Zakk Skog (5-9, 170) and Ryan Kroll (5-9, 155) will take care of business.

The Marauders have two options for quarterback heading into the season.

Patrick Holder (6-0, 170), who played in several games last season is vying for a spot against Nate Holmgren (5-10, 165) who was quarterback of the JV squad.

“We’re letting it play out through our scrimmage and we’ll name a starter and that’s gonna be the guy,” Sikora said. “We’d like to have one guy take control of the position; whoever can move our offense the best.”

On the defensive side of things, the Marauders have a rotation of several players.

Lario, OConnell, Grodi, Mercure, Sanders, Patzsch, Bilot and Andrew Butkin (6-3, 270) will all be helping to hold down the defense.

Boone and Moore both return as starting linebackers and Underwood can be a starter at inside linebacker as well as well as Mydloski and Howard.

At outside linebacker, Franco, Johnson, Nagle and Eric Webb (6-3, 190) are pushing for time.

Kohn and Estrada both return as safeties and Skog, Holmgren, Holder and Slusarczyk can also work in there.

At corner are the Stwallworth and Enwerejobe brothers, along with Franklin and Kroll and Kroll has also been strong at slot.

For the 2014 outing, Sikora and his Marauders are focusing on team chemistry and toughness.

“Mental toughness and physical toughness has been something that we’ve been working on,” Sikora said. “As far as expectations for us, if we stay healthy, we’d like to be a team that makes some noise in the league race and makes some noise in the playoff picture.”

Like most teams, Carlson is focused no further than the first team on the schedule; in this case Kennedy.

“That’s the first game on our schedule and that’s how we take them,” Sikora said. “For us, every game is a league game so every game is important.”

Senior leadership will also be big for the Marauders this season.

“Our seniors have decided they didn’t want captains to be elected, par say,” Sikora said. “They kind of want to take the team leadership responsibility as a group.

“It’s nice to see that group take ownership of the team and I think that’s gonna help us.”

Despite what 2014 will bring, the Marauders are ready to hit the ground running.

“We’re excited to get going,” Sikora said. “All the work that we’ve put in all offseason and throughout the summer … now the doubles are over and its’ payoff time.”

Last Updated: 8/26/2014 7:30:31 PM EST