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Chieftains looking for strong final run in the MAL

August 31, 2013
By Tony Maluso - Sports Writer ( , The Advertiser-Tribune

BASCOM - Six of the past 10 years, Hopewell-Loudon has claimed a Midland Athletic League championship. As the league enters its final year and the Chieftains prepare to say goodbye to longtime rivals, a seventh - and final - title holds that much more meaning.

"I think that's a pretty important goal for our seniors, knowing that this is the last go-around in the MAL," Hopewell-Loudon coach Jeremy Nutter said. "Obviously it's a little bittersweet. We won't have some of our rivalries that have been so good to us over the years. If it's got to end, it'd be nice to end it on a championship, for sure."

The Chieftains will move into the Blanchard Valley Conference in 2014. They were able to keep Calvert on their schedule as a non-conference game, but this year will be the last time for the foreseeable future they face-off against traditional rivals.

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"What a great league this has been for us the last 23 years. I grew up playing in it, coached in it at Seneca East, coached in it here," Nutter said. "Familiar faces, familiar rivalries. It's good, solid football in this league. It will be a shame not to have Carey on the schedule or Mohawk or Seneca East. We were fortunate, though, to keep Calvert on the schedule week 1 in 2014."

Improving on last year's 3-4 league mark might be tough considering the Chieftains have to replace Mark Bouillon, last year's MAL leader in rushing (114.8 ypg) and scoring (18 TDs, 110 points).

To replace that production, the Chieftains will be doing a lot of running west. Not directionally. But behind left tackle Weston Hill, who Nutter says "might be one of the best offensive linemen I've ever coached."

Fact Box

Hopewell-Loudon Chieftains
2012: 4-6, 3-4 Midland Athletic League
Head coach: Jeremy Nutter.
Assistant coaches: Dave Long, Andy Amlin, Matt Rader, Joe Hudok, Andrew Brose.
3Trent Ardner5-10140QB/DB9
4Trenton Burns5-10140WR/DB11
5Austin Tooker6-2170QB/OLB10
6Derek Runion5-10170QB/DB11
7Ben Bodart6-0160WR/DB12
8Eli Tooker5-10160WR/DB12
9Tyler Rohe6-0150WR/DB11
10Jackson Sebetto5-10140WR/DB10
11Dillon Williams5-9140WR/DB10
12Hunter Sadler5-8140WR/DB10
17Jordan Stewart6-1155WR/DB12
19Dylan Hammond5-7125WR/DB9
20Cody Malone5-10200RB/ILB12
22Logan Tyree6-3190TE/DE10
25Braden Park5-9145WR/DB11
29Rex Miller6-1160WR/DB11
30Anson Tran5-9160RB/DL10
32Matt Huth5-10160RB/ILB11
33Ryan Lommerse6-3190WR/OLB11
34Noah Breidenbach5-11165RB/OLB10
35Ben Hulse5-9140WR/ILB9
51Wesley Armon5-8215OL/DL12
52Christian Potteiger5-10220OL/DL11
53Noah Babcock5-9200OL/DL9
54Elijah Bustillos6-0200OL/DL10
57Tristan Molotla5-8160OL/ILB9
58LRay Burns6-2220OL/DL10
64Jason Keller5-10295OL/DL11
70Weston Hill6-4275OL/DL12
71Adam Foos5-11220OL/DL12
74Adam Bour5-10235OL/DL11
75Grant Gosche6-0170OL/DL11
85Brennen Kieffer6-1160WR/DE11
88Zach Clouse5-10175WR/OLB12
2013 Schedule
Aug. 30at Leipsic
Sept. 20at North Baltimore
Sept. 27at Lakota
Oct. 18at Seneca East
Oct. 25CAREY

Cody Malone was H-L's second leading rusher a year ago (79 carries, 555 yards) and moves into the primary ball carrying role. But Nutter says there are others ready to step up and run with the ball.

"We have two more pretty solid running backs," he said. "Matt Huth's a junior, and a sophomore that's really stuck out to me is Noah Breidenbach. He's done a nice job so far in camp carrying the ball. He's quick on his cuts. He reads things properly. I think all three will get some touches."

Last year's Chieftains featured a solid ground attack, while in years prior, due to the personnel, they liked to throw the ball. This year Nutter says the team should be able to strike an ideal balance.

"We're probably as balanced as we've ever been at my time here," he said. "Two years ago we were probably more pass heavy and last year we gave it to Mark a lot. This year I think we can get that ideal 50-50 split, take what the defense gives us and be able to do both."

The quarterback job is still up in the air. Junior Derek Runion is competing with sophomore Austin Tooker for the job. Don't expect the two to split time though. Nutter says by the time the first ball is kicked off, one of them will win the job.

"Throughout camp it's been a pretty good battle," he said. "Right now Derek probably has the edge on the younger guy just in terms of experience. That will be a race right down to the wire I'm sure. We'll go with the guy that gives us the best chance to win.

"I suppose I believe in the old saying 'if you got two quarterbacks, you really have none.' I think someone's going to win this job and that's going to be the guy we're going to go with. ... The guy that wins it will be the guy we stick with."

Jordan Stewart (37 rec., 503 yards, 4 TDs) returns as the No. 1 receiver with Ryan Lommerse, Eli Tooker and Zach Clouse also splitting out. Logan Tyree is a 6-3 tight end, giving the Chieftains another big target to throw to.

"Really I don't think teams will be able to focus on one or even two wide receivers," Nutter said. "I think we'll be able to spread it around when we do throw it."

Up front, Hill will be joined by fellow seniors Adam Foos and Wesley Armon at the guard spots. Christian Potteiger will be the center and LRay Burns will be the other tackle. Adam Borer and Eli Bustillos will also rotate in when needed.

Nutter describes his defense as "Athletic in the second and third rows. We have hopefully seven or eight bodies we can put up in the front that can really rotate through and stay fresh."

Malone and Huth will be the inside linebackers with Breidenbach, Lommerse and Clouse rotating at the outside spots.

The secondary will feature returning starter Ben Bodart at corner and Eli Tooker at the other side, with Stewart returning at free saftey.

Hill again anchors the defensive line as Nutter says he "will obviously be on the field as much as we can keep him out there." The rest of the line will feature a rotation of Foos, Armon, Tyree, Borer, Burns and Anson Tran.

The success of this year's Chieftains will likely depend on the senior class. And so far, Nutter is pleased with what he's seen out of the group.

"I can't ask for any more than what they've given us so far," he said. "We got eight guys and every single one is going to contribute for us. There's not a single one of them that won't play a critical role on Friday nights. When you got a group like that, and it's a smaller group, but eight guys that are definitely going to play and know they're all going to contribute, they pull together tighter and they know what's at stake here. There are expectations here and they understand that and are willing to work toward that. And they know when we take the field Friday night, our community expects hard work and hustle, and that's exactly what they'll get out of our seniors."



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