By Ben Murphy
The Harrison football team finished 2-7 in 2011, though the Hornets are hoping that 2012 translates into their first winning season since 2000.
Returning to the team that topped Jack Pine Conference foes Beaverton and Gladwin last year are seniors Brooks Leonard (running back, defensive back), Jacob Stuhr (quarterback, defensive back), Cody Rodgers (running back, defensive back), Jacob Summers (offensive, defensive lines), Randy Johnson (tight end, defensive end), Ryan Hubbard (offensive line, linebacker), Luke Bishop (offensive, defensive lines), Dylan LaPorte (center, defensive tackle), David Price (offensive, defensive lines) and junior Nathan Lipovsky (offensive, defensive lines).
New to the team is senior Kyle Fritzinger (running back, defensive back), juniors Ryan Johnson (running back, linebacker), Justin Yager (quarterback, defensive back), Matt Haskell (running back, defensive line), Simon Reynolds (tight end, defensive back), Bryce Osborne (offensive, defensive lines), Josh Kiger (offensive, defensive lines), John LaTulip (offensive, defensive lines), Derrick Davis (offensive, defensive lines), sophomores Bret Coughlin (tight end, defensive end) and Clay Dennis (tight end, defensive line).
“Our quarterback is Jacob Stuhr,” fifth year head coach Mike Petrongelli said. “Good leader and very smart. Throws and runs well. Gives a lot of different looks on offense.”
Walraven was the team’s leading rusher last year as a junior, having several big games, including a three touchdown 163 yard performance in the Hornets 27-26 win over Gladwin.
“(We) have good, quick backs,” Petrongelli said, adding that Rodgers and Johnson will also see significant carries this year. “(We) need to build a line in front of them. The line (is) built around LaPorte, Lipovsky, Summers and Hubbard.”
The Hornets gave up an average of 31 points per game last year, something the coach hopes can change this year as well.
“Lipovsky and Johnson are good linebackers,” Petrogelli said. “Defensive line (is) built around LaPorte and Summers. Secondary (is) sound with Rodgers, Walraven, Stuhr and Leonard.”
As for team goals, the coach is keeping things simple for now.
“Be the best team we can be every game night,” Petrongelli said.
The Hornets opened their season by hosting Lake City yesterday, and host Evart next Thursday. Lake City topped the Hornets 31-0 in last year’s opener while Evart edged the Hornets 34-33 last year.