Photo by Ryan Kerwin, JTV Sports
Lumen Christi Titans
Last season’s record: 8-4
Returning starters: 2 on offense, 3 on defense
First Game: Aug. 26 vs. Grand Rapids West Catholic 7 p.m.
While there are just two starters back in the mix for the Titans this fall — Bo Bell and Zach Erwin — head coach Herb Brogan remains confident it’s a group of younger players who can do some serious damage finding the end zone.
“I think we have some real good skill kids that can make a difference,” Brogan said. “We’re young across the board, but we have some playmakers.”
Bell is the key.
After a brilliant junior season, he’ll be the go-to guy in the Titans run-first offense.
“We expect a ton out of him,” Brogan said frankly.
Zach Erwin, a three-year starter at tackle, returns to anchor the line.
“We’re young, but we have a lot of depth,” Brogan added. “I think, if we can scratch and claw and fight our way into the playoffs, we’re going to be a good team.”
While the Titans gave up a modest 20 points per game a year ago, some of the better teams, and toughest losses, is where that average went way up.
In losses to Coldwater (26), Jackson (35) and Clinton (49), in the playoffs, Lumen never had an answer to get a stop when needed most.
“The main thing for our defense is we have to be more physical,” Brogan said. “We are bigger up front than we were. People ran the ball too easily on us last year. We have to control the line of scrimmage even better. … We’re also going to have to defend the pass. We face some teams all year who are going to try and throw on us.”
The three starters back in the fray should help the Titans and their desire to be tougher.
Alex Lasky and Grant Smith are back at linebacker, while Bobby Willis returns in the defensive backfield.
“Part of it is the personality of the kids,” Brogan said when asked how a team can decide to be more physical. “To a degree, you get what you’ve got. But I think the work we did in the offseason, getting bigger an stronger and getting faster, helps.”
“Obviously, we want to make the playoffs,” Brogan said about the season. “I think at the end of the year we are going to be a good football team. But we have a strong league, and we open the season with West Catholic. The schedule is going to be difficult to where we may need to steal one we shouldn’t to put ourselves in the position we want.”
Something to think about:
Lumen is 4-3 all time against West Catholic, and are set to face the Falcons at the start of a season for the second year in a row.
It’s also the second year in a row the Falcons begin the fall as defending state champs.
West Catholic fell to Lumen 22-21 a year ago in Week 1, and then went 12-1 the rest of the way en route to a third Division 5 title in a row.
For good measure, the Falcons have played in four state finals in the past four years.