FORT WAYNE – North Side will count on transfers to help offset two big holes left by the graduation of quarterback C.J. Jackson and running back/linebacker Anthony Linnear.
Jackson and Linnear were pivotal in the Redskins’ revival the last two years, but their departures will be eased by the additions of senior D’Marcus Moon (Bishop Dwenger), Tabor Jordan (New Haven) and Michael Lovett (Wayne).
“It is hard to replace them experience-wise,” North Side coach Ryan Hall said of Jackson and Linnear. “Both of them had been starting since they were sophomores, so there is a lot of football that has been played since they started here. It is hard to replace them. We were fortunate to get a couple of transfers in. With our skill guys this year, we are deeper than we have ever been. We are more athletic than we have ever been, and that will be key for us.”
Moon should step into Linnear’s role, while Jordan and Lovett will battle to be the starting quarterback. Senior Tyvon Kelley will also get a lot of work at running back in a deep backfield.
“We are going to playing D’Marcus more on defense than on offense, which is going to surprise a lot of people because they are used to him being a running back,” Hall said. “When he needs a breather, it is going to be on offense. He is going to start at linebacker and running back, but we have some other capable backs. Both (Tabor and Lovett) are athletic and can run the offense. I don’t think they will be as good as C.J. right away just because of C.J.’s experience, but they can run the offense.”
Tabor could also line up as a slot receiver when he isn’t playing quarterback.
“We are excited to get Mike from Wayne, Moon from Dwenger and T.J. (Jordan) from New Haven,” senior receiver Zack McKinstry said. “They bring a lot of talent to the table.
“I feel like we are going to be good on offense this year, and the defense will be good because coach Hall is the best defensive coach in the area.”
The defense will be led by All-SAC defensive end W.R. Sanders.
“It is huge to have W.R. returning,” Hall said. “He helps our linebackers because you have to double team W.R., and if you do that, it allows our linebackers to roam free.”
The Redskins were 8-3 in 2011 and 9-3 in 2012.
“When our guys are stepping onto the field, they are expecting to win,” Hall said. “Before it was maybe we will win. We did a lot of work over the summer, playing in the Homestead 7-on-7 league, and I don’t know if we lost any games even though we didn’t keep score. That just shows that they wanted to win, and they are competitors.”