The Addison Panthers have been running the ball down defenses’ throats for years.
There will certainly be more of that this season.
“That’s who we are, that’s who we’re going to be, year in and year out,” coach Joshua Lindeman said. “The guys know it. Most of the time, unless you ask the quarterback, if we’re going to run a play on third-and-long, they want a run play called. We’re going to play Addison football, it’s just going to be different guys.”
While the Panthers did lose a lot of players from the 2021 team to graduation, the younger players are starting to step up and becoming a part of that Addison culture, which is something the new group of seniors likes to see.
“It always happens every year,” Nathan Sines said. “Especially now that I’m the older kid, seeing those guys that were below me step up is nice to see. Them filling shoes, us seniors filling shoes, it’s nice to see them embrace that, including this summer all the work they have to do.”
One of those guys this year will be Spencer Brown, a junior running back who sees the keys to the rushing attack being the guys lined up in front of him.
“It’s a good feeling to be able to run the ball as an offense because anyone can really do it,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter who can carry the ball, it’s all on the line.”
Brown said the character of the rushing attack will be to pound the ball ahead, occasionally breaking off bigger gains for scores.
In Addison’s running back corps, there are guys capable of both.
“We’ve got guys with speed. We’ve got guys that can pound the ball,” Dylan Sawdey said. “It depends on more than the guy carrying the ball. It’s how good our fakes are, everyone on the back end, really everyone.”
That is especially true of a pair of sophomores who could step in and contribute early in Byron Creech and Joe Clark ready to step in, who Brown pointed out as two guys who really impressed him during offseason work in the weight room.
“Joe is a punch-you-in-the-mouth hard football player. Loves to be aggressive,” Brown said. “Byron’s more of a finesse guy, loves to get outside and run as fast as he can.”
There is also a younger group on the offensive line, with Jay Griewahn and Cam Miller potentially making an impact as sophomores.
“I feel like they have a lot of potential coming up,” Gabe Pepper said. “For example Cam, he’s a really big dude and can move great for his size. He’s going to be a great offensive tackle for us.”
On defense, the Panthers are going to have a new look with a lot of losses to graduation, but like on offense the new group will be playing the familiar style of football.
“We’re a really aggressive team,” Sawdey said. “We like to fly around and make plays. We haven’t seen any full contact yet, but in seven-on-sevens we’ve seen we’ve got some ball hawks in the secondary and the linebackers are really aggressive. It’s good to see.”
Although there is a younger cast in place this fall, Lindeman said the expectations are the same. Addison comes in as the defending Cascades Conference champion.
“It’s a little bit different when you’re the team that everybody’s chasing,” Lindeman said. “You’re going to get the best of everybody night in and night out. You’re going to make a lot of teams’ seasons if you don’t show up and play hard. Hopefully within our culture, having won three in a row, that’s the expectation. Other senior classes have taken that and run with it. Hopefully this group of seniors does the same thing.”
Throughout the summer work, Lindeman has seen a group that is continuing to do the things that have made Addison football thrive in recent years.
“We work hard. We play blue-collar football,” he said. “They’re a bunch of blue-collar guys, so they’ve continued to embrace and go about every day within the culture we’ve created.”
Addison won a conference title and a first-round playoff game in 2021, but then ran into eventual Division 8 state champion Hudson. But the Panthers have an idea of how they can take that next step.
“That next step is a lot of what we’ve been building up to, especially with more and more playoff wins and playoff experience,” Sines said. “We need that every single rep, we need to go hard, we need to be focused. Even if it’s cold and rainy in November or the hot days during two-a-days, that’s when we need to focus and go our hardest.”
Aug 25, LeRoy-Pine River
Sept 1, at Manchester
Sept 9, Hanover-Horton
Sept. 16, at the Michigan Center
Sept 23, East Jackson
Sept. 30, Union City
Oct 7, at Grass Lake
Oct 14, Napoleon
Oct 21, Crossover