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By Mark Requet
The North Shelby Raiders were considered a young team last season, but with the success on the field last year, the team is hoping it leads to another successful season this year.
“We are excited at the prospect of another strong season this year with a playoff run at the end,” stated Head Coach David Stuckey. “We return lots of experience from a team that won eight games last season. We have beefed up our schedule to better prepare us for the postseason.”
The Raiders open the season with the state runner up Bishop LeBlond High School from St. Joseph on Friday, August 25, 2023.
North Shelby have been working hard in the offseason. They have 12 returning lettermen, with eight of them being returning starters.
“They have been super committed in the weight room and committed to being in great condition for the season,” added Coach Stuckey.
NS will run a shotgun power run offense.
Key returning players on offense are senior runningback Amos Fredrickson (6’ 190) who was an all-conference performer last season and accumulated over 2,000 yards of offense; senior offensive lineman Austin Wilson (5’8, 240), who started all season at left guard and will be moving over to center for this season; senior wide receiver Gabe Orr (5’11, 170) who started all season and played a huge role in the comeback over Braymer last year; and junior offensive lineman Sam Schwanke (6’3, 250) who started all year on offense, was an all-conference performer, and had a huge offseason.
On defense, the Raiders will play a 3-1 defense.
Key returners on defense include Fredrickson at linebacker, Wilson as a defensive lineman, Orr as a defensive back, and Schwanke as a defensive lineman.
Other key players include senior defensive/offensive lineman Riley Greening (5’9”, 200) a two-year starter and two way all conference performer who coach stated works every day in the weight room to get stronger; and junior defensive lineman/tight end Oren Vanskike (6’4”, 250) an all-conference performer that has worked extremely hard on his footwork and explosive ability.
Top newcomers this season include senior defensive back Sam Launius (5’10, 150) who moves into a starting role with good speed and has had a great year in the weight room according to Coach Stuckey; senior tight end/defensive lineman Aden Johnston (6’3, 170), a lanky strong player that has worked hard in the offseason; junior quarterback/defensive back Jade Daniel (6’3, 175) who moves into the starting quarterback role with the team expecting big results after starting at defensive back last season; sophomore runningback/defensive back Cole Browning (5’9, 160) who played all over the field last year on both sides of the ball; and sophomore tight end/linebacker TJ Belt (5’10, 180) who has moved into a starting defensive role after having a great camp during the summer.
Coach Stuckey stated the offensive line returns all of its starters from the previous year, and it will be a big strength for the Raiders this season. He added the defense will be much faster this season.
North Shelby will host Bishop LeBlond, Braymer with Breckenridge, Knox County, Orrick, and Southwest (Livingston County) with Hale and Tina-Avalon. The Raiders will travel to Paris with Madison and Faithwalk, Schuyler County, Keytesville with Brunswick and Northwestern (Mendon), and St. Paul Lutheran (Concordia).
The Raiders were 8-3 overall last season and finished with a 4-0 record in the Central River Conference.