EPC’s strong roster numbers have the Wildcatz upbeat going into their season

High School Football

LANARK, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –Eastland-Pearl city is upbeat about its football program for this season and for the near future. The Wildcatz numbers are looking good on the varsity and the lower levels.

Many schools in Northwest and North Central Illinois have gone to 8-man football because of dwindling roster numbers. EPC is in good shape.

“We’re close to 50 this year,” said head coach Jared McNutt. “Next year we’re gaining a ton of freshmen again and the following year we’re going to gain another ton of freshmen, so our numbers are really, really up.”

The task at hand is to win games in the new-look one-divison NUIC. The Wildcatz are definitely set at quarterback with Kellen Henze returning. He passed for 724 yards and four touchdowns in the spring. He also rushed for 307 yards and four more touchdowns.

“It was my first year playing football in high school and the game started to slow down as the few games went on, so I think just being able to see everything, and it won’t be all going, flying over my head,” said Henze. “The game will slow down for me. I hopefully will be able to read everything a little bit easier.”

“Last year he was a little step slow as far as reads went,” said McNutt, “But he got better as the season went on, and now you can see that he had that year under his belt and he’s really picking up our offense.”

It’s an offense that’s not lacking for playmakers.

“Owen Rogers, Max McCullough, Jackson Sturtevant, Tyson Clark, Riley Schauer. There’s a lot of them,” said Henze.

“The offense is a little more sound this year,” agreed fullback/defensive end Riely Schauer. “We’re starting to come together better. Some of the key linemen this year will be Christian Fischer, Gavin Sigel, and Mason Brenner and Paul Sturtevant.”

“Up front we’ve got some big boys,” said Henze. “I think they’re going to really help us, give us time.”

“I think we have a lot of skill players who can contribute,” said McNutt. “We’ve got a two-deep that I’m really confident in. We’re going to be alright this year.”

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