Bowler/Gresham returns top threats for 2017 season

Cats hopeful after winless campaign
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Leader photo by Chris Caporale Bowler/Gresham linebacker Landon Kroening chases down a tackle in a drill during practice earlier this week. Kroening is one of 11 members on the team this fall under second-year head coach Eric Peebles.

Coming off a winless season in head coach Eric Peebles’ first year at the helm, the Bowler/Gresham Cats are looking to turn around their fortunes.

The team’s top offensive weapon, Nathan Montez and top defensive player, Ezra Spencer, are looking to lead a young team that features six freshmen and sophomores on the 11-person team.

“Any time you can get two guys like that back for a second year, that helps the whole team because just the attitude and experience they bring every day at practice, that kind of pushes everybody,” Peebles said.

Montez is just one of two seniors on the roster, joined by lineman Preston Teuchert. Teuchert is the only returning offensive lineman for the Cats, and he is a leader in changing the dynamic of the offensive line, which was a weakness a season ago in an 0-8 year and 0-6 in the Great-8 North.

He will be joined by newcomers to the position Jaydon Boswell, Jacob Bratz and Isley Welch.

“(Peebles) wants more out of our line because that was kind of our flaw last year,” Montez said. “We didn’t have a strong line. So he’s trying to push them and get more out of them.”

With such a toung team, it’s the older athletes and leaders who are trying to help change the mentality from the middle school program to those stepping right into playing varsity minutes.

“I think it’s more of them not being afraid of going to hit people,” Montez said.

Freshman Logan Thiex will take over quarterback duties for the team, which uses Montez and Spencer both as running backs. Noah Bestul returns to the team and will be a tight end, while London Kroening is currently the team’s only wide receiver.

Bowler/Gresham was part of the conference realignment, which kept the majority of the Great-8 North together. The new conference, the MONLPC-8, contains the same teams with the addition of Gillett and Wausaukee.

Green Bay NEW Lutheran and Seavstopol will remain among the top contenders in the conference, but the team is confident in its ability to go out and not only compete in more games, but get back into the win column.

“Last year, toward the end of the season, we were growing, just with being more efficient on offense,” Peebles said. “Scoring points was a big thing for us and being in football games.

“We were doing that on and off last year, whereas this year, I think we can consistently be in games, pushing other teams and fighting for a win.”