Whiteford Bobcats 2023 Team Preview

By Frank Vajcner

In their first year with Todd Thieken at the helm, the Whiteford Bobcats ran the table en route to their second state championship.

They will look to run it back with some new faces, along with plenty of leftovers.

Head Coach: Todd Thieken (second year, 14-0)

Staff: Ben Avis, TJ Thieken, Dale Bernhard, Ray Paige, John Nagle, Jason Vida, Tom

Eitniear, Tony Dupree, Nate Bauman, Phil Bauman

Offense: Despite losing a record-setter and four-year starter in Shea Ruddy, there is plenty of experience back for the Bobcats. The offensive backfield returns three seniors in RBs Hunter DeBarr and Jake Iott, and FB Drew “Diesel” Knaggs. DeBarr and Iott both rushed for over 1000 yards last season. 

Iott’s twin brother, Jack, is the lone returning starter on the offensive line. He will be counted on to mentor newcomers Chase Lee, RJ Cornett, and Nolan Walker.

Hunter DeBarr

At QB, senior Ryin Ruddy took reps in practice, but he may also play his normal spot at TE. If that is the case, freshman Tre Eitniear will get the nod. If that name sounds familiar, his older brother, Tommy, led the Bobcats to a state championship in 2017.

Besides Ruddy, the TE group also includes Kolby Masserant and Mason DeBarr.

Defense: Nine starters return on this side of the ball, led by Jake Iott at LB. Iott holds the school record for tackles in a season with 202. Drew Knaggs will move from LB to the defensive line. The rest of the line will include Mason DeBarr, Trent Olrich, and Cornett. Brandon Knaggs (Drew’s brother), will join Iott at linebacker. The secondary returns plenty of experience with Hunter DeBarr, Ruddy, and the Masserant brothers Stephon and Kolby. Liam Waterford will also see plenty of action in the defensive backfield.

Jake Iott

Coach’s Outlook: This group has tremendous potential with the number of returning starters from last year’s team and some very solid newcomers to our starting groups. We must make sure that we don’t get caught up in how good people say we can be and make sure that our focus each day is to get better in every phase of the game. I am excited to see how this team develops and new leaders emerge.

FNV Outlook: No football team in Monroe County has ever gone back-to-back as a state champion. This could (key word “could”) be the year that it happens. The Bobcats have a pair of early tests against LCAA schools Blissfield and Ida, along with a Week 7 visit from blue blood Reading to test their mettle.

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