Northland Pines Roster May Be Small, but It's Also ExperiencedSubmitted: 08/14/2014

Nolan Blair

EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines football team practiced this week as they continue to try to build upon last year's 6-4 record.

They will have to make due with only 18 players on their varsity squad this year. The Eagles are looking to take advantage of their maturity, especially in the backfield

"Of the 13 seniors we have, eight of them are running backs and quarterbacks," said Eric Swanson, the Eagles' head coach. "That right there allows us to utilize them."

The Eagles have moved to a more balanced attack on offense to become more of a challenge to defend.

"We used to be centered around one or two running backs that could run the ball up the gut really well," said Bailey Ramesh, a wide receiver for Northland Pines.

"Now we got three or four receivers that can catch the ball as well mixing in with our running offense, so that makes us a more well-rounded team."

Swanson says the new offense has also allowed the team to use more of the field.

"Coming with the spread offense or variations of that, we're able to spread the field a little bit more, allowing our playmakers to have opportunities for big plays."

Playing in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference, which includes four teams from Michigan, the Eagles have to travel long distances to play their games.

"We try to get to a school two hours before a game," said Swanson. "It gives the kids a chance to stretch out a little bit, just allows us to get our minds straight and get used to our surroundings."

Northland Pines will open up against Wittenberg-Birnamwood on the August 22.

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