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Harrison Raiders Look to Improve on 2016 Season

Sports

Harrison Raiders Look to Improve on 2016 Season

John Strohl

Raider football is looking to improve on the 2016 season in which the team shared the NCC title with crosstown rival McCutcheon and Kokomo.

In 2017, Harrison wants to win sectional, as well as retaining the NCC title.

Head coach Terry Peebles expects a much a better team this year compared to last season’s team due to the large senior class.

“We have 22 seniors so many of the kids that were successful last year are a year older with more experience,” said Peebles, who is entering his fourth year as Harrison's head coach.

With that experience comes leadership.

“We had seven players receive over 30 votes for captain this year so the senior group is doing a great job of leading as a whole,” said Peebles. “It is not one or two guys. It is a large group, which is very nice to see.”

One of those captains is senior tackle Drew Zeltwanger, who was named to last year’s junior All-State team.

“It is very humbling to me that my team considers me a leader, and with that comes a challenge and a responsibility to continue to lead even through difficult times,”  said Zeltwanger, who was also an honorable mention for the Class 5A All-State team.

The Raiders have been practicing all summer and are hoping it will all pay off this season.

“We’re working pretty hard. We’ve got a special senior group this year, and we know it, so we’re all pushing each other to be better,” said Zeltwanger.

Harrison opened up the season with a 22-7 loss to reigning 5A State Champion Westfield.

In week 2, the Raiders defeated Class 2A No. 10 Western Boone by a score of 17-12, as Harrison’s defense only allowed three points.

Senior linebacker Butch Knox lead the team with 15 tackles with two of them being a tackle for a loss. Knox was a member of the junior All-State team and an honorable mention for the 5A All-State team.

Through these first two games the team is healthy, but the passing game is struggling.

“We are completing less than 50 percent of our passes after the first two games,” said Peebles. “If we don’t get that up into the mid-60s, we likely will have some problems when playing defensive teams that stack the defensive line of scrimmage.”

Harrison has been rolling with senior Jonathan LaGuire and junior Andrew Jensen as quarterbacks this season, with LaGuire seeing most of the snaps.

“Our QBs, Andrew Jensen and Jonathan LaGuire, have only been part-time in the past.” said Peebles, who currently holds an 18-15 record with the Raiders. “Both of them have the ability to be really good players. When one of them becomes more reliable in the passing game, I think that is when this team will really excel and play well.”

LaGuire will most likely start this week’s game against the Logansport Berries, but expect Jensen to see some time under center.

LaGuire has played running back most of his football career but transformed into a quarterback last season, splitting the snaps with Jackson Vanderweilen.

Harrison has throttled the Berries in their past three meetings by a combined score of 119-27.