SHERWOOD — It's business as usual for the Sherwood High School football team.
That means physical play, a strong running attack, a swarming, hard-hitting defense and, of course, plenty of high hopes.
Once again, the Bowmen have them all.
"I think we have a lot of expectations this year," Sherwood head coach Greg Lawrence said. "The practices are going great, and they're all picking it up well. The guys have some real high expectations this year."
The Bowmen graduated some strong players (David Morris, Luka Nixon and Josh Bowcut, who all signed with Division I colleges) from last year's squad, which finished second in the Three Rivers League, at 6-1, while going 7-4 on the season and reaching the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
But, as usually is the case at Sherwood, there are plenty of players ready to step up and fill those spots.
"We're excited for the season," Lawrence said. "Our kids know that they have to come ready to play every week."
Sure, operating out of the Wing-T attack, the Bowmen will look to run the ball with dominance again this season. But, they also are looking to do something else.
"We're looking to throw more," Lawrence said. "Instead of 90-10 with the run, it might be 70-30."
Running or throwing, Sherwood knows it can rely on its offensive line.
"The strength in our offense is in our offensive line," Lawrence said. "We have more experience, and we're two deep at every spot. Any of those guys can play."
Leading the way for the Bowmen offensive line is senior tackle Nic Garrison (6-foot, 280 pounds), who was a first-team All-Three Rivers League pick a year ago. Senior Griffen Stevens (6-0, 235), junior Jakob McCreery (6-3, 290), senior Matt Seitz (5-11, 205) and junior Sebastian Heymann (6-0, 270).
At guard, the Bowmen have another first-team all-league returnee in senior Jayden Cuthbertson (6-0, 245). Junior Jackson Barton (6-0, 225) is another returning starter at guard, and an honorable mention all-league pick in 2016. Sophomore Nick Severson (6-1, 260) and senior Mitchell Leach (6-0, 225) will both see play at guard.
Senior Spencer Shadbolt (6-2, 250) and junior Carter Atkins (6-0 210) will both see action at center.
Senior Zane Sands (6-4, 230) and senior Sterling Goldstein (6-4, 245) will both see plenty of time at tight end, with junior Charlie Bulfinch (6-4, 200) and junior Isaac Day (6-2, 175) also playing there. Sands was an honorable-mention all-league pick last year.
Senior Zach Jenkins (5-11, 185) leads a deep group of running backs for the Bowmen. Last year, when he was an honorable-mention all-league pick, Jenkins rushed for 293 yards and three touchdowns on 60 carries.
"He's good," Lawrence said.
Junior Ryan Scroggin (5-11, 165), senior Kian Coleman-Lopez (5-11, 180), senior Rustin Williams (5-11, 200), junior Kaden Rhinehart (5-10, 180), junior Jacob Reuter (6-0, 170), senior Takumi Kammerzell (5-9, 175) and senior Ethan Elmore (5-9, 170) could all see action at running back.
"We're Running Back U., here," Lawrence said.
Senior Carsen Christensen (5-11, 225) leads the Bowmen group of fullbacks.
"He runs hard, and low to the ground," Lawrence said.
Junior Ben Baxter (5-11, 175), junior Ian Stormont (5-7, 185), junior Noah Beeks (5-8, 175) and sophomore Logan Carr (5-10, 210) could all season action at fullback.
At receiver, Sherwood will have senior Jaret Scott (6-1, 180) and junior Michael Klapp (6-4, 175).
"They have skills," Lawrence said.
Senior Wyatt Zettlemoyer (6-1, 185) takes over at quarterback for the Bowmen.
"He can throw a ball with ease," Lawrence said.
Junior Seth Bernhardt (6-0, 175) and junior Cade Chidester (5-10, 165) are the backup quarterbacks.
As strong as Sherwood's been on defense in the past, this year's squad could be even better.
"We're very excited about our defense," Sherwood defensive coordinator Wes Montgomery said. "I think we're bigger, stronger, faster."
Garrison will anchor the Bowmen's defensive line.
"He's going to do amazing things this year," Montgomery said. "We can't block him."
Goldstein, Atkins, Cuthbertson, Barton, McCreery and Stevens will also all play on the defensive line.
Williams will play at Sherwood's Hawk outside linebacker position.
"He emerged last year," Montgomery said. "He'll be fantastic this year.
Jenkins, a first-team all-league pick on defense last year, returns at the Rover outside linebacker spot.
Senior Jack Carno (5-9, 180) and Rhinehart will also play at outside linebacker.
Christensen looks to be Sherwood's top inside linebacker. Severson and Carr will also play there. Sands will also see action at linebacker.
Baxter will play where ever the Bowmen need him on defense — outside linebacker, inside linebacker, safety.
Kamerzell and Elmore will play at cornerback, with Beeks and Klapp also seeing action there. Reuter will be at safety, with junior Colin Anderson (5-8, 140) and Bernhardt also playing there.
"The kids have never worked harder," Montgomery said.
Zettlemoyer will do the punting, and sophomore Kaden Steindorf (5-10, 165) and Beeks will handle the place-kicking.