(Nouvel captains: left to right, Garrett Roe, Murphy Wilson, Josh Fallon, and Ryan Henris)
At Nouvel Catholic Central the mindset is the same every year- "STATE CHAMPIONSHIP", and this year's team is no different! Nouvel is coming off of two straight State Championships and are focused on getting their third straight. This year's Panthers will be led by a strong senior class that knows exactly what it takes to be successful. "We have great senior leadership and it starts with our four captains- Josh Fallon, Murphy Wilson, Ryan Henris, and Garrett Roe. They are very competitive and leadership oriented." says Coach Boyd.
OFFENSE: only a few starters return but everyone took a fair share of snaps last year. Nouvel will rely on a balance attack and that will keep defenses guessing. Quarterback, Henris, makes good decisions and might be even better outside the pocket.
DEFENSE: these guys are stingy and I mean stingy. I don't see them giving up a ton of points, or even yards for that matter. The run defense will be the strength because the linebacker core is outstanding. The secondary is experienced and disciplined.
SCHEDULE: "We take game as we can get them, this year we are playing 3 teams from the Detroit Catholic League. We're not in their league but we're in their rotation of games," says Boyd. Those three games will be a big test for Nouvel, as they play Divine Child, Detroit U of D, and Gabriel Richard.
The Panthers will also see two teams from Canada this year. "We have an advantage because they will play our rules," adds Coach Boyd. Nouvel will also take the field against Flint Hamady and Muskegon Heights, both teams will feature solid run games this year as Hamady returns their whole O-line and Heights has a speedy back in D-1 prospect Bobby White.
The date that everyone has marked on their calender is September 5th against Traverse City St. Francis. Last year St. Francis rolled over Nouvel, and the Panthers are looking for revenge this year. To make the game more meaning full both teams are the favorites to win the State Championship in their respected divisions.
PREDICTION: State Championship While the regular season will be a tough battle it will only get the Panthers ready for another run towards Ford Field. As good as Nouvel is, I don't think they will finish undefeated. I see them going 7-2 in the season and then just overwhelming there playoff opponents on their way to a 3-Peat.
Josh Fallon, LB/TE- 6-4/215 with a forty time of 4.7 plus an attitude of "hit anything that comes around" and you have a D-1 prospect. Fallon will be the heart beat of the defense. Boyd and company have done a fantastic job of developing linebackers and Fallon will be the next great one. Fallon has the ability to play in the big 10.
Sam Herbert, WR- 6-2 with great cutting ability, runs solid routes and does a good job of reading defenses. Confidence has really improved and is ready to be the "go to" guy for the Panther's passing attack.
Ryan Henris, QB- took a good share of reps at QB last year but now it's his job. Henris is small is stature (5-9/155) but is tough as nails as has superb leadership qualities.
Jon Ludka, S/utility- Ludka played outside LB last year and will now switch to safety giving the Panthers a player that can come up and help with the run game. Ludka will bounce around and be used in a variety of ways offensively.
Kevin Robinson, TB- was injured for a part of the season but was running the ball well before he went out, this year he will be expected to carry the load at tailback. Has a mixture of speed and power with a frame of 5-11/220 pounds.
Murphy Wilson, LB/TE- the 6-3/190 pound head hunter will secure the other LB spot, giving Nouvel two very good LB's that can play both the run and pass. Wilson has no problem getting sideline to sideline.
HELLO, MY NAME IS.... the Panthers have a deep junior class that will slowly get shuffled in but they will be depended on greatly. "It is very important that our juniors contribute and produce, and they are more than capable." states Coach Boyd. Two of those juniors are the backfield tandem of Andrew Lobsiger (FB) and Ryan Miller (TB), both will be relied on to chip in heavily.
Lineman Shawn Kamm is a load at 6-6/280 pounds and will help out with the offensive line. Other juniors that will be relied on are AJ Seamon, Reid McConnell, Alex Giallonardo, Andrew Wehner, and Sean Ellicott.