By Joanna Chadwick
Northwest football has long been one of the top area football teams, making the playoffs all 10 seasons under coach Weston Schartz. But Northwest only won four playoff games in that time.
Schartz has returned to coach at West and Northwest hired Heights defensive coordinator Steve Martin to take over. He’s in a unique position because this isn’t a rebuilding job. Northwest has talent.
How do you think Northwest will do this season? Will Northwest be stronger than last year? What do you think are Northwest’s strengths?
“When I was looking (for a coaching job), I told (Heights coach Rick) Wheeler that I’d leave for the right job. I believe this is it,” Martin said. “You look at the current roster, and you think you can hit the ground running.”
Offensively, Northwest plans to move to a spread, no-huddle offense, which will be very different that the two-back offense under Schartz, which focused on running traps.
Deron Thompson will be a key in the backfield. He’s got flat-out speed and is recovered, Martin said, from his hamstring injuries that plagued him in the spring during track. Christian Sanders and Karol Williams will also be key in the backfield.
Alex and Kyle Lee, twin offensive linemen, will anchor a line that has four starters back.
At quarterback, Chris Hughes and Erin Gaither will battle for the position. Gaither is coming off a torn labrum suffered during wrestling and is finally cleared to play at full strength.
On defense, the strength will be at linebacker with Dakota Dilsaver. Anthony Cotton has switched from safety to the DL.
“I’m real excited,” Martin said. “It just depends on how things go. I think we could have a special year, but we’ll have to avoid injuries. If key people go down, we don’t have depth.”