Hebron Academy football coach Eric Harrison said he has plenty of good athletes entering his second season at the helm of the Lumberjacks. Whether or not he has plenty of good football players is another story.

“A school like Hebron, and lot of the Evergreen League schools, it’s really about being able to develop guys who are good athletes, to kind of teach them the game of football,” Harrison said.

The area where that development is needed most is in the trenches for the Lumberjacks.

Harrison he is thin at experience along the defensive front, and the offensive line will be made up of still-developing athletes. Local players Quinn Woods (Minot) and Ryan Kappelmann (Auburn) are both juniors who will be key players on the line. Woods was named a captain by his peers for this year, and Harrison thinks Kappelmann could turn into a good defensive lineman despite taking up the sport just last year.

Mike Tuzzo is the lone senior captain for Hebron. Harrison called him the “heart of our defense” last year as a linebacker, and he will also be counted on as one of the lead running backs this year. Tuzzo got some reps running the ball last year, but will now see an increased role on offense with the graduation of Evergreen League Player of the Year Marquise Scott, who is now at Bates.

Post-grad Marcus McBean will join Tuzzo at running back.

Who might join them in the backfield is another question mark for the Lumberjacks. Ben English, from nearby Poland, is a returner at quarterback, but he will get competition from post-grad Ryan Sullivan at the position.

“It could become a job where it’s split between the two of them. It could become a position where one of them ends up playing receiver,” Harrison said. “We’ll kind of see how it goes in camp.”

The coaching staff has yet to see Sullivan play in person, but really like what they’ve seen on film. Harrison also said returning player Liam George has a strong arm.

Whoever is throwing the ball will have more options to throw to than the Lumberjacks had last year, according to Harrison. Teemu Hukannen, Lionel Lucas and Alex Renauld are all capable receivers.

The Lumberjacks are equally wealthy at the skill positions on defense. Harrison said he likes the speed his linebacking corps and secondary bring.

Hebron went 5-3 in Harrison’s first season, and he said they were a tough loss to Tabor Academy away from going 6-2 and possibly earning a bowl bid. He said he thinks his team could be just as good this year, with coaching continuity a bid advantage in his second season.

“It’s a league where teams change a lot every year, so it’s really hard to predict what different teams are going to look like,” Harrison said. “So all I can really focus on is the first game of the season, and that’s Holderness. We lost to Holderness lost year and want to win that one.”

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