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Posted on Thu. Aug. 22, 2013 - 12:01 am EDT

First look: East Noble Knights

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Coach: Luke Amstutz (7-3 in second year)

Last year: 7-3; lost to Concord in 4A sectional

2013 schedule

Aug. 23 at Northrop, 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 Warsaw, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 Homestead, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at DeKalb, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 Carroll, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Norwell, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Columbia City, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 New Haven, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 Bellmont, 7 p.m.

Key game of the season for the Knights:

Sept. 30 vs. Carroll

Usually, East Noble's showdown game that determines the Northeast Hoosier Conference frontrunner is the Homestead game. But with Homestead retooling, the Carroll game could, in fact, be the biggest of the NHC all season.

Key players returning: Brandon Mable, Sr., RB/DB; Grey Fox, Sr., WR; Connor Holcomb, Sr., C; Walker Boyles, Sr., LB; Nathan Wible, Sr., DB; Jacob Brown, Sr., LB/FB; Bryce Wolfe, Jr., QB; Bret Sible, Sr., QB/WR; Mannie Ritchie, So., QB.

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East Noble's 2012 season ended with a very sour taste, thanks to a 38-35 loss in the sectional to Concord. But it also served as motivation.

With significant contributors returning on both sides of the ball, the Knights hope this season can lead to bigger heights, especially when the playoffs come.

“For the kids coming back, we're going to count on those guys to have big years,” coach Luke Amstutz said.

One question mark for the Knights is at quarterback, where Nic Weimer's graduation leads a void. Junior Bryce Wolfe steps in as the likely starter, but his style could be different.

East Noble has two strong offensive producers in receiver Grey Fox and running back Brandon Mable. Fox hauled in 1,117 yards receiving last season, and Mable rushed for 736 yards.

The Knights return nine players who had significant defensive experience a year ago. Linebacker Walker Boyles returns, as do Mable and defensive back Nathan Wible.

Intriguing aspect of the Knights

East Noble has finished with seven wins in each of the last four seasons.

East Noble fans will cheer if…

The offense makes a smooth transition with a new quarterback and continues its production.

East Noble fans will boo if…

The Knights don't advance past the first game of the sectional again.

Luke Amstutz: “It's important to build a system flexible enough that you don't' have to trash it every year. You want a system that works so you can realign some people and not make too many drastic changes.”

rhayes@news-sentinel.com


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