More speed and depth should lead to improvement at Winnebago

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WINNEBAGO, Ill.- (WTVO/WQRF) “In the middle. That describes Winnebago’s football team in recent years. The Indians have finished at .500 or within a game of .500 each of the last four seasons. This season they might be ready to surge upward.

Last season the Indians finished one game under .500 at 4-5. That ended their run of four straight playoff appearances.

“After missing the playoffs last year I think we’re pretty fired up,” said Winnebago lineman Logan Spencer. “We’ve been working hard all summer. I think this year might be a good year for us. We’re just going to put in that work. Put in that grind.”

“We’re for sure aiming to get back to the playoffs,” said lineman Sam Rummel. “Winnebago hasn’t gone two seasons without a playoff, so it’s always our goal to get back to that.”

Coach Mark Helm feels this team has the right mix to have a strong season.

“Our comaraderie is real good this year,” said head coach Mark Helm. “The kids are working hard. The attutudes have been great so far. That will carry a long ways. Then you add a little bit of talent to that, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Then Indians return five starters on both sides of the ball. Running their I-formation offense will be returning senior quarterback Zachary Johnson. He completed 60 percent of his passes last season.

“He makes the throw we want him to make,” said Helm. “He’s a good player. He’s a good athlete. I think he’s grown mentally over the last two seasons as far as knowing what to do and then doing it.”

The receiver position should be a strength on this team. 6’1 senior, three-year starter Cole Seger leads that group. 6’3 Ethan Ackerman and 6’3 tight end Cole Schrank will provide two big targets.

At running back the Indians lost one thousand yard rusher Jared Roberts to graduation. They’ll make up his lost production with a group of guys that includes Eric Scheis, Jacob Fowler and Micah Gearhart.

The lines should also be a strength for Bago. Senior Logan Spencer and 6’4 285 pound junior Sam Rummel provide a lot of size.

“We have a very experienced line. We have a lot of returning seniors on this line and they’re very smart kids.”

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