Football Preview: Walled Lake Northern Knights

Last season’s record: 5-4

By: C & G Sports Staff | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 9, 2018

League: Lakes Valley Conference
Returning starters: 11
First game: 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at South Lyon High

Offensive keys: 
Coach Joe Boulus is making sure that his team is able to run its offense effectively. 

The prospect of a successful offense should be bolstered by the return of All-League quarterback Brenden Shelby along with running back Nyle Eglert. 

“Offensively, we will be fast-paced with multiple options and a strong passing game,” Boulus said. 

Boulus additionally pointed out that the offense will be helped with contributions from wide receivers Andre Price, Thomas Polan and Chris Milner. The offensive line is anchored by Kyle Arnoldi and Grant Smith.

“The key this year offensively is being able to run the ball, which in turn will set up our passing game,” said Boulus.  

Defensive keys: 
Even though Northern has five starters returning on the defensive side of the ball, Boulus pointed out that the back seven of the defense has only two starters returning.

Boulus understands that this means the defense will need contributions from unproven players. 

“The young players who are coming up in our program must be, and will be, ready to contribute by game one,” Boulus said.

According to Boulus, the defense will rely on multiple fronts and coverages.

Key players include safety Chad Burton, cornerback Zach Hargis and linebacker Joey Tetreaurt. 

Coach’s outlook: 
The Knights have won at least five games in six of the last seven years. That includes four playoff appearances.

“We are looking to be a playoff team and hoping for a long run,” Boulus said. 


Schedule:
at South Lyon High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Aug. 23
After making the playoffs two straight years before missing last season, Northern is looking to get back into the postseason. The first step begins with South Lyon. The Knights are 3-2 all-time against the Lions, including a 34-15 victory last year.

at DeWitt High (10-2) — 7 p.m. Aug. 30
This is the first meeting between the schools. DeWitt made it to the regional round of the playoffs last year before falling to the eventual Division 3 state champion, Muskegon High.

vs. Milford High (2-7) — 7 p.m. Sept. 7
In last year’s contest, the Knights were able to defeat Milford 38-16, running their record to 2-0 against the Mavericks.

vs. South Lyon East (4-5) — 7 p.m. Sept. 14
Northern leads the series against South Lyon East 2-1. In last season’s matchup, East won 42-35 in Week 4.

at Walled Lake Western (8-2) — 7 p.m. Sept. 21
In a close contest last season, Western defeated Northern 24-21. That put the Warriors at 14-2 in the rivalry series.  

vs. Waterford Kettering (2-7) — 7 p.m. Sept. 28
Kettering hasn’t finished with a winning record since the 2014 season. Coincidentally, that was the last season it was able to defeat the Knights. Northern leads the series 9-2.

at Walled Lake Central (5-5) — 7 p.m. Oct. 5
Despite finishing with the same regular-season record as Northern, Central was able to earn a playoff berth last season while Northern was kept out. The Knights improved their record in the rivalry to 5-9 last season after beating the Vikings 26-24.  

vs. Waterford Mott (9-2) — 7 p.m. Oct. 12
Mott has made the playoffs in four consecutive seasons. The Corsairs defeated the Knights last season 47-37. In 10 meetings, each program has won five times.

at White Lake Lakeland (7-3) — 7 p.m. Oct. 19
Northern leads Lakeland 8-6 in the series, but fell 30-22 last year. A win would have qualified the Knights for the postseason.