SENECA – While the Seneca football team will have a new leader walking the sidelines this fall, not much will change as far as schemes go for the Fighting Irish.
First-year head coach Terry Maxwell has grabbed the reigns from Ted O’Boyle, who stepped down after nine seasons and a pair of playoff appearances to take the position of assistant athletic director.
The Irish were 2-3 in a shortened spring season, including a heart-stopping win over Iroquois West in the season finale.
Maxwell, who had been the offensive and defensive lines coach, as well as special teams coach under O’Boyle during those nine years, said before Wednesday’s defense-focused camp day that not much will change on either side of the football.
“We’ll still be a Power-T team, and my defensive philosophies aren’t much different than Ted’s,” said Maxwell, who has two starters returning on both offense and defense. “We are a young team, but have about 50 kids, and the junior varsity team was 5-0 this spring.
“This is our fifth day of camp, and everything has been going real well except for the fact we only received about half of our helmets back from recondition. We have a 7 on 7 at Dwight on Thursday and go over to Reed-Custer for another one next week, which will also have a linemen challenge. We see a lot of spread teams, so our defense will get to see some of the looks they are going to see when the games start.
“While we are a run-first team on offense, it will give us a chance to work on play-action plays and a little bit of Gun-T, which a lot of teams are starting to run out of this formation.”
During Wednesday’s upbeat workout, Seneca ran through a number of defensive drills from line-play technique to pass coverage.
Senior returning starting and outside linebacker Carter Ellis feels that even with a younger team the previous senior class set the bar.
“I’m really excited for this season,” Ellis said. “The seniors last year were great leaders and showed us how to work hard and what it takes to be a varsity football player. We have a bit of a young team, so it’s now our job as seniors to pass that work ethic along.
“There are a lot of unknowns, but the younger kids are really showing what they’ve got, and it will be awesome to see them show that when the games start.”
Senior Brian Hooker, who is working to be the starting tight end, feels it’s a positive that the team will be running the same things, for the most part, that it ran this past spring.
“We know there is going to be a lot of repetition in practices while working on the offense, but we know that is how it has to be,” said Hooker, who Maxwell says has been one of the hardest workers in the weight room this summer. “All 11 guys need to know their assignments on each and every play, and there can’t be any mess-ups. I’m looking forward to the fall, starting the games and seeing what we can do.”
Sophomore Nathan Grant returns after starting all five games as a freshman for Seneca and feels this team has the potential for some really good things.
“I feel this offense is the right fit for our team,” Grant said. “We have a lot of speed and quickness, plus I really feel we are pretty consistent in what we do. I had to step up last year as a freshman, and I plan on doing that even more this year, being even more of a leader.
“During camp days the energy has been fantastic, and the attendance in the weight room has been as well. I feel we are all doing a great job of pushing each other, and we are getting better every day.”