Friday, August 14, 2009

Football season preview: Lake Norman

The Lake Norman football program is in better shape than it has ever been. After winning five games combined from 2005 to 2007, the Wildcats won seven games a year ago including a 17-7 win over archrival Mooresville.

“We feel like we have the best team that we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Lake Norman football coach Scott Sherrill said. “Honestly, I don’t know exactly what to expect (in the IMAC) in conference. But, we think we are building something here.”

The Wildcat offense, which returns nine starters, will rely heavily on the its offensive line which returns all five senior starters and could be one of the top units in the state. Kane Sherrill (6-3, 275), Coach Sherrill’s son, is team’s best lineman with interest from several Division I schools including Wofford, Elon and Delaware. Avery Ekrin (6-6, 300), Chandler Caldwell (6-2, 290), Tyler Thrasher and Chris Timmons round a group that should pave the way for senior tailback James Cloud, who rushed for over 900 yards last seaon and David Ray.

Lake Norman should also be able to air it out when needed as they return senior quarterback Chris Blanton is back as well as two talented wideouts in Jacquez Vanderburg and Austin Eisenhofer.

“We feel like with our experience, we will be able to take a lot of chances and put up a lot of points,” Sherrill said. “When you put points on the board, you always can put a lot of pressure (on the other team).”

The Wildcat defense should be just as good with eight starters back led by all-NPC defensive lineman Dirqual Ellis. Ellis, who also score seven touchdowns as the team’s fullback on offense, should be dominant on both sides of the ball.

The back seven will be much the same as last with three starting linebackers returning including Connor Donahue, Dillon Wemyss and Nick Stange. The secondary will also be strong with Ray, Brad Chamberlin and Rob McGee back to lead the way.

-- Jay Edwards