Kroner's football tour '14: PBL
PAXTON — Thirteen of the 16 seniors on the Paxton-Buckley-Loda football roster are returning lettermen.
That’s not a true reflection of the Panthers’ experience entering the season.
“A lot of them played in different positions, and now they are in different roles,” coach Jeff Graham said.
Quarterback Brock Swanstrom is a converted tight end. Center Jake Stevenson rotated at tackle last fall. Guard Conrad Powell had playing time at center. Running backs Tim Kehrer and Tyson Snyder weren’t full-time ball carriers as juniors.
Graham said Swanstrom is ready for his role.
“We are really impressed with his leadership on and off the field,” Graham said. “He has stepped up as a leader. He has been very impressive.”
A PBL strength could be the offensive line. Joining Powell and the 285-pound Stevenson are full-time regulars Jordan Anderson (guard), Hunter Johnson (tackle) and Kyler Foellner (tackle).
“They have rotated in since they were sophomores,” Graham said. “They take pride in what they’re doing.”
Stevenson (junior) is the lone non-senior on the offensive front.
Anderson is a three-year starter who bench- presses 360 pounds and squats 565.
“His commitment to work on things we ask of him and all our linemen is great,” Graham said. “Simply put, he models a great work ethic and technique for all of our linemen.”
Another change on offense finds assistant coach Brock Niebuhr calling the plays while Graham shifts his focus to defense as the defensive coordinator. He replaces Doug McCoy, who resigned.
Graham and Niebuhr “talk about every aspect of the game,” Graham said.
The offensive attack, he said, “will be pretty balanced,” with Paul Bigham and Matt Poll among the others who will be counted upon in the backfield.
There’s depth at the receiving positions, where Dalton Coplea (who is also a quarterback), Jordan Kietzman, Wyatt Kingery, Josiah Martin and Hunter Weber will be targets.
“It’s important for us to stay focused,” Graham said. “We want to improve every week.”
Senior Jonah Wilson is in his fourth year as the team’s place-kicker.
PBL opens the season Aug. 29 at St. Joseph-Ogden.
Coach: Jeff Graham, eighth year
2013 record: 4-5
2014 roster size: 73
Home opener: Sept. 5, vs. Bismarck-Henning, 7 p.m.