By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
East Newton is entering Year Two of the Broc Wolfe era. And, much like his players acclimating to new Friday night roles, Wolfe also learned a lot from last season.
“Just the overall experience being a head coach; learning how to control certain situations in practices and games,” said Wolfe. “Also learning more about the opposing coaches and teams in our conference and things that we can work on and fix to be a more competitive team in the future.”
Wolfe and the Patriots return eight starters from last year’s team and hope to hit the ground running in the revamped Big 8.
Leading the way will be Brett Pendergraft, a returning senior that was named All-Big 8 as a running back and defensive back.
“He’s a big-time playmaker on both sides of the ball,” said Wolfe. “I am most importantly expecting Brett to be a much better leader for us on and off the field.”
Pendergraft will be key in a new system East Newton will be unveiling this season.
“We are entering with a new offensive system this year after looking at the kids we have and what I believe will fit the best for them,” said Wolfe. “I do believe the kids will be more comfortable in it and so far, it seems to be that way as they have been picking things up very quickly.”
The new scheme will likely see Hunter Liveoak and Sebastian Stewart get more touches offensively.
Liveoak is one of several players that will make a name defensively.
Junior Jeremiah Stewart will resume his defensive back duties and classmate Sam Stewart was the team’s leading tackler a year ago. Senior Jacob Allman is also a defensive anchor from his linebacker spot.
Wolfe is also excited about the development of Carson Gortney, Jake Mathis and Jackson Schriever. Gortney and Mathis will both see defensive reps and Schriever could also be a perimeter threat offensively.
East Newton opens the 2018 season on Aug. 24 at Hollister. The Patriots home-opener will be on Aug. 31 against Aurora.