Boone Grove Wolves
Inside the Wolves
Last season: 7-4
Returning starters: 11 (5 offense, 6 defense)
Returning offensive leader
Alan Espino, Sr., RB. 33 carries, 171 yards, TD; 5 catches, 68 yards, TD.
Returning defensive leader
Garrett Glisk, Sr., DL 48 TLK, 34 solos, 9 sacks.
Zach Keilman, OL/DL, Sr. The 250-pound Keilman, who also serves as the Wolves' long snapper, leads a veteran line. "First he is smart, he picks up different defenses and helps the other linemen," coach Tony Tinkel said. "He has worked on his strength since his freshman year. Zachary is a very coachable kid, he will do his best to do whatever you ask of him."
He's got next
Aaron Ellis, Sr., QB. Dean Hill was Boone's quarterback for four years, not to mention a kicker and defensive back. It won't be easy to replace his dynamic play-making ability under center, but Ellis, who transferred from Valpo last year, could smooth the transition. "He's a good athlete," Tinkel said. "He's been a leader. It's a matter of building confidence." At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Ellis certainly looks the role.
The Times' breakdown
It's a crucial year in the evolution of the young program. Its foundation class graduated, can Boone sustain success? Tinkel thinks so. "The seniors have accepted the role," he said. "They want to keep building on what we've done. They know it's up to them." Keilman and Glisk anchor big, senior-heavy lines on both sides of the ball. The Wolves may not be as dynamic offensively, but defenses are going to have to stop a road grader ground attack that features 200-pound Bryce Lange and 232-pound Devan Borns to go with Alan Espino, Matt Wiggins and Evan Stewart. That should help Ellis settle in at QB. Tackle Glisk (6-3, 245), end Niko Kilburg (6-4, 195) and linebackers Espino, Wiggins and Austin Nelson secure a defense that will have to cover for some youth in the secondary. Soccer players Tony Skoda and Andrew Oms will handle the kicking game.
— Jim Peters