Patriots aim to rebound off winless 2016

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BENNINGTON — After an 0-9 campaign in 2016 and a new head coach in the fold, there's only one way for the Mount Anthony football team to go.

Up.

First-year head coach Chad Gordon has 10 seniors for the Fighting Patriots.

"We're looking good, the guys have bought in. We looked good in the scrimmage, did what we're supposed to do. I'm happy with what I'm seeing," Gordon said.

Gordon said they've kept the same offense that MAU has run in the past, but with a few differences

"We're running the same offense, coach [Jim] Fischer and I put our own wrinkles," Gordon said. "We kept what we liked and changed a couple things that would fit our needs for this team."

Will Fischer moves from the receiver spot to quarterback.

"Like other teams, you want to put the ball in the hands of your best athlete," Gordon said. "His football IQ is through the roof, he's our hardest worker and one of the smartest football guys. He knows the offense, doesn't panic, he's calm and collected. He's the guy you want to have the ball in a pressure situation."

In the backfield, Carson Morgan and Caden Watson come in as fullbacks with Mickey Bernard at tailback.

"Mickey also knows the offense well and Carson is quicker and taller then he was a year ago," Gordon said.

On the outside, Cole Bushee, Aaron Mattison and Austin Gordon will be Fischer's main targets, along with freshman Gavin Johnson.

"I wouldn't put a freshman in that wasn't ready," Gordon said.

The line will have the most experience, with Brodie O'Dell, Blake Carey and Jake Harkins all seniors with multiple years of starting on the varsity. Also, Ty Evans is a junior coming back from last season. Chris Mayer will fill in as a tackle.

They're will be a rotation on the defensive line as well, including Tristen Shays, but some will play both ways. Shane Wood returns at linebacker.

"He's going to be giving people some problems with his speed, he's a ball hawk. This year, we've had multiple guys to the ball this year, the effort is there," Gordon said. "We've been preaching to be aggressive, get to the ball, you never know what happens."

It's the first year of the Division II schedule, Mount Anthony starts with one of the trendy picks to win D-II in Fair Haven.

"We're looking forward to it," Gordon said. "It's a tall task. They have a lot of speed and a good quarterback. I expect them to throw the ball and test our defense."


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