Despite finishing the season 5-5 (4-5 in conference) last year, a strong 4-2 finish has Northglenn football ready to get back to action this fall. Under 7th-year head coach Matt Dean, the Norsemen …
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Despite finishing the season 5-5 (4-5 in conference) last year, a strong 4-2 finish has Northglenn football ready to get back to action this fall. Under 7th-year head coach Matt Dean, the Norsemen look to record the second winning season of his tenure behind his veterans and mix of youngsters.
“We have to have those veteran guys step up, take those leadership roles and perform,” Dean said last week in a phone interview. “It’s also going to take good performances from those young guys. We have to focus on the macro things, not the micro things, and focus on how the team is doing as a whole. If we can focus on playing for each other and not ourselves, we will be alright.”
Through a spread offensive attack, the Norse still have a quarterback battle going heading to the season opener. Junior D’Angelo Montoya and senior Colin Morton have been battling it out all summer, but when asked about where things stand between the two, Dean said, “Montoya has the leg up.” With last year’s starter, Devin Scudder graduated, it would be either quarterbacks first time at the position on the varsity level.
Lining up in backfield next to the QB, it’s looking like a running back by committee scenario, according to Dean. The top two on the list are Nathan Alvidrez (junior) and senior Lamar Opila. The two will be assigned to help relieve pressure on the quarterback position, whoever is on the field. Outside, the threats of seniors Zach Morton (twin of Colin), Blake Swatzell and C. Morton play will be crucial as well to the performance of the offense.
“The difference from last year is that we probably had 3-4 guys on offense that really carried the load. But this year, there is going to be at least double the amount of contributors,” Dean said.
As a lot of schools do, Northglenn also will have plenty of athletes playing both ways. Expected to garner attention and lead the defense for the Norsemen is senior Josh Gade and his 6’4”, 260-pound frame. Losing leaders Bennet Beamer and JJ Gomez to graduation, Gade’s importance will be amplified for a defense that will be trying to fill some holes.
Others expected to contribute on this side are senior Johnny Akot (secondary), Opila (secondary), Swatzell (secondary), C. Morton (secondary), Z. Morton (linebacker) and Alvidrez (linebacker). Dean also expects sophomores and juniors throughout the roster to fight for playing time, starting with preseason camp Aug. 12.
As the heat continues to simmer down as we hit mid-August in the Denver-metro area, an essential opening game rivalry will be in the fold for Northglenn. Traveling to Thornton in a cross-town rivalry game Aug. 30 at 7 p.m., Dean and the Norsemen will be ready to compete in a game that means so much to both schools.
“I’m super excited,” Dean said about facing Thornton in the team’s first contest. “I really think these guys can come in and make a name for themselves. Having Thornton first is a gift because a lot of times it’s hard to look at the first game more than a scrimmage. This is the trophy game, so there is no time to relax. We are going straight into a rivalry game, so it challenges us as coaches to get these guys ready.”
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