ALBION — Graduation took a big chunk out of the Central Noble football program, losing the heart of its offense in running backs Nick Rawles and Jesse Jacobs and two-year starting quarterback Nick Alwine, one of the best defensive linemen in northern Indiana in Levi Leffers and other solid guys in the trenches like Tanner Vandergrift, Nico Urso, Matthew Carey and Brandon Carnahan.
The Cougars will try the best they can to restock and retool to remain a contender in the Northeast Corner Conference Small School division.
“That’s the difficult thing when you have 14 seniors and they all were starters,” veteran Cougar coach Trevor Tipton said to KPC Media Group news partner WANE-TV (Ch. 15, Fort Wayne) during Northeast Indiana High School Football Media Day on July 26 at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center in Fort Wayne. “Our juniors that are now seniors did a lot of watching from the sidelines.
“Some of them were on the JV (junior varsity). Some of them had good mentors who taught them well. Now it’s their time to shine.”
Tipton will again adjust to his personnel on offense, led by new starting quarterback Jared Trowbridge. The junior was going to be the starter two years ago before Alwine transferred from East Noble.
“We have some raw kids, but we know what they are capable of doing,” Trowbridge said on Media Day. “They’re fun to be around.
“You have to want it. You have to put your soul into it and give it all you got.”
Trowbridge can throw the football pretty well and will have a couple big targets in athletic 6-foot-4 junior Sawyer Yoder and 6-5 senior football newcomer Chase Weber. Baseball has been Weber’s main sport at CN.
The new committee of running backs are juniors Jarrett Hawk and Noah Christopher with senior Tyler Lawson at wingback.
“We have some athletic kids and we want to get the most mileage out of them,” said Tipton, who is in his 22nd season leading the Cougars overall, including his second season in his latest head coaching stint.
Christopher and junior Clayton Kirkpatrick are a couple of the leaders on defense who saw a lot of action last season. Weber will play strong safety.
“We have a lot of seniors who are hungry and want to add and continue on the football tradition,” Tipton said.
The Cougars will have a tough start to the season. It will host one of the top teams in the NECC in West Noble on Aug. 23, then play a new bigger school opponent on the rise in Class 4A Columbia City on the road on Aug. 30.