The EPC Wildcatz last reached the playoffs in 2018, but coach Jared McNutt is ready to turn the tide. He knew last season would be a rough one with a plethora of young talent. Now that young talent is going to be expected to carry the flag for the Catz. The fresh/soph squad picked up 6 wins last season, and with quite a bit of talent already up on varsity, the expectation is the mixture of that talent will combine for more wins in 2023.
Coach McNutt is looking to his depth at the skill positions to move the ball between the tackles and on the edge. You will see EPC line up the in the single wing I formation and go with a spread look with a hybrid TE lining up off the ball.
On defense, McNutt is looking to utilize his size up front to help plug the run holes to stop the run. He is expecting a lot out of the skills he has at LB, as well.
Leading the way on offense will be senior Brady Sweitzer, who will be utilized at RB and WR. Last season, Sweitzer rushed for 174 yards and 1 TD and caught 30 passes for 379 yards with another TD. In the backfield you will see junior RB Jaxsyn Kempel, who ran for 330 yards and 4 TD's for the Catz last season. Sophomore Will Birchen will also be in the backfield at the fullback position. Some other players that McNutt will be utilizing in the backfield are SO Draven Zier and JR Jared Runkle.
At the receiver position will be senior Ethan Petta, who picked up 312 yards through the air with a TD last season. At TE will be SR Jayden Downs, who was used more in the run game as a blocking end, but he did have 1 reception for 27 yards. Another player to watch will be SO Zy Haverland at TE.
On the line the Catz will look at JR Jacob Runkle and SO Brody Voegeli to help lead in the trenches. If the Catz can get good line play up front, they will be a team to watch as the season progresses.
Defensively, Birchen will be the guy leading the defense as he returns after leading the team in tackles last year as a freshman with 108. Joining him at linebacker will be Kempel and Jared Runkle. The DB's will be led by Sweitzer, who had 49 tackles a season ago. Petta will return, and the addition of Zier will provide more speed to the Catz on D. Up front, they will be led by Downs, who racked up 27 tackles last season. Jacob Runkle and Voegeli will also be up front to give them a good size advantage.
Coach McNutt, like many other coaches, expects Lena-Winslow to be the team to chase, but also feels Du-Pec will be right in the mix with the Panthers. Another team to watch for in his opinion are the Fulton Steamers.
You won't see EPC in the state rankings to begin the year, but they could put together a season where they go from 3-6 to the playoffs for the first time in 4 seasons.
Playoff History 17-18
2014 5-0 Class 2A State Champion