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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts tagged "Northwestern football"
Posted: August 5th, 2014

Austin Miczo

Nate Tewell

Kyle Panko

Northwestern Wildcats
Coach: D.J. Hough (4th season, 21-13)
2013 overall record: 9-3
2013 region record: 6-1 (co-champion)
2013 playoff results: Defeated Grove City 28-7 in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals before losing to Hickory 52-14 in the semifinals.
Top players lost: Brandon Reiser, Brayden Wojtecki, Logan Stearns, Bailey Geisbrecht
Top returning players: Kyle Panko, Nate Tewell, Austin Miczo, Nate Camp, Christian Linn
Assistant coaches: Dave Randall, Ron Glus, Pat Camp
Outlook: Northwestern will need to rebuild its offense in camp this fall after losing most of its offensive line and Region 4 player of the year Brandon Reiser in the backfield. Reiser ran for 1,673 yards and 28 touchdowns, while the Wildcats graduated all-region linemen Brayden Wojtecki, Logan Stearns and Bailey Geisbrecht. Northwestern also lost quarterback Jay Clinger and playmaker Nate Noe to graduation, leaving some big holes to fill. The Wildcats will get their first chance to showcase junior quarterback Nate Tewell, who won the national Punt, Pass & Kick competition in the offseason. Tewell was the backup quarterback last season and was a big contributor on defense. Austin Miczo provides experience in the backfield after rushing for 388 yard and six touchdowns on 72 carries last fall. Kyle Panko is an all-region selection tight end, but he is moving into the backfield to complement Miczo this season. Panko had 12 catches for 156 yards and three touchdowns as a junior, but the change to running back gives the Wildcats an impressive set of backs for the Wing-T offense. Nate Camp and Christian Linn return on the offensive line, but Northwestern will need a surge from the lower levels to fill in some gaps and open up holes for the running backs.

The Wildcats will be young on defense with most of its starting lineup gutted by graduation. Wojtecki, Stearns and Geisbrecht were all-region selections on the defensive line, but all three are gone. Linn returns to lead an inexperienced defensive line, and Panko is back as an all-region linebacker. Tewell is an all-region safety and the three will be counted on to lead a brand-new defense. Panko led Northwestern with more than 100 tackles as a junior, but the next nine leading tacklers for the Wildcats are gone to graduation. Tewell had 35 tackles and Linn added 19, while Panko and Matt Cherry each had one sack. Tewell finished with four interceptions and Jarrett Bird had one as the Northwestern defense will need to grow up quickly this fall. Having inexperience in certain aspects can be OK for a defense, but with almost a whole new lineup, the Wildcats will need to amp up the competition in camp for playing time. One of Northwestern’s biggest strengths last year was its defense after allowing only 7.6 points per game in the regular season. The Wildcats held traditional power Grove City to seven points in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals before Hickory erupted for 52 points in the semifinals.

Northwestern has built up its program over the past few years, steadily improving each season since D.J. Hough took over. The Wildcats are 21-13 since 2011 with three playoff appearances and a growing confidence in the system. Northwestern has a playoff nemesis in Hickory, but the Wildcats’ program seems to keep reloading each fall. Northwestern will need a big effort from new players to get back to the postseason for the fourth straight year. Tewell could turn out to be one of the top quarterbacks in the area, while the backfield combination of Panko and Miczo should create excitement in Albion this fall. A big key for the Wildcats will be to rebuild the offensive and defensive lines as well as the secondary. Northwestern opens the season with three games at home against Conneaut, Girard and Mercyhurst Prep before road games at North East and Seneca. The Wildcats also get Fairview at home before ending the regular season at Fort LeBoeuf and Cambridge Springs. Northwestern is young and inexperienced, but the Wildcats could be an exciting team to watch this fall. The Wildcats have confidence in the system, which could translate into another big season in Region 4.

29 Conneaut 7
5 Girard* 7
12 Mercyhurst Prep* 7
19 at North East* 7
26 at Seneca* 7
3 Harbor Creek* 7
10 at Sharon 7
17 Fairview* 7
24 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7
31 at Cambridge Springs 7
*Region 4 game

Up next: Oil City

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: July 10th, 2014

This is first day of the Varsity Kickoff Countdown series on the Varsity blog. We’re counting down the days to the high school football season. It is 50 days until the opening night of football season on Friday, Aug. 29.

Number of the day: 50. That’s the number of touchdowns that recent Northwestern graduate Brandon Reiser scored during his career on his way to 302 career points. It’s also the number of touchdown passes that Cathedral Prep quarterback Damon Terry threw during his senior season in 2012. That’s a District 10 record.

Here’s a look at the opening weekend schedule for District 10 football:

Friday, Aug. 29
McDowell at Canton McKinley (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Cathedral Prep at Glenville (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Meadville at Fairview, 7 p.m.
Greenville at North East, 7 p.m.
Fort LeBoeuf at General McLane, 7 p.m.
Corry at Oil City, 7 p.m.
Mercer at Eisenhower, 7 p.m.
West Middlesex at Cambridge Springs, 7 p.m.
Hickory at Strong Vincent (Veterans Stadium), 7 p.m.
Saegertown at Mercyhurst Prep (Tullio Field), 7 p.m.
Iroquois at Harbor Creek, 7 p.m.
Union City at Seneca, 7 p.m.
East at Farrell, 7 p.m.
Wilmington at Grove City, 7 p.m.
Maplewood at Girard, 7 p.m.
Titusville at Franklin, 7 p.m.
DuBois at Mifflin County, 7 p.m.
Youngsville at Lakeview, 7 p.m.
Reynolds at Cochranton, 7 p.m.
Conneaut at Northwestern, 7 p.m.
Sharon at Jefferson (Ohio), 7 p.m.
St. Marys at Bradford, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 30
Slippery Rock at Perry, 1 p.m.
Sharpsville at Otto-Eldred, 1:30 p.m.
Warren at Central Tech (Veterans Stadium), 7 p.m.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: August 29th, 2013

Varsity edition, Aug. 30

The first edition of Varsity for the 2013-14 high school sports season will be in Friday’s Erie Times-News.

The 32-page Varsity features Northwestern senior running back Brandon Reiser on the cover. He rushed for 1,345 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2012 while helping the Wildcats claim a share of the Region 4 title.

This Varsity edition will give fans an overview of the District 10 football season, including stats and team information. In addition, it will be the only place where fans can find updated rosters for every D-10 team.

Make sure to pick up a Times-News Friday and catch up on D-10 football.

Remember, the Kickoff football preview remains on sale for $5 at all Country Fair locations in northwestern Pennsylvania. The 116-page magazine offers an expanded look at D-10 football, including feature stories, lists of all-time stats leaders, question-and-answer sessions with star players and plenty of action photos.

Also, next week’s Varsity will serve as a primer for the District 10 soccer, cross country and girls volleyball seasons. Look for it in the Sept. 6 edition of the Times-News.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: July 22nd, 2013

Northwestern's Brandon Reiser piled up 1,345 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior.

Running back Austin Miczo had a standout sophomore season, rushing for 846 yards and seven touchdowns.

Nate Tewell

D.J. Hough

Northwestern Wildcats

Coach: D.J. Hough (3rd season, 12-10)
2012 overall record: 7-4
2012 region record: 6-1 (co-champion)
2012 playoff results: Lost to Hickory 48-22 in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals.

Top players lost: Garrett Behringer, Tom Head, Kyle McKeen, Grant Panko, Chad Roberts

Top returning players: Brandon Reiser, Austin Miczo, Sam Yochim, Josiah Friend, Braydon Wojtecki, Dylan Bird, Nate Tewell

Assistant coaches: Ron Glus, Dave Randall, Pat Camp, Dave Merritt

Outlook: Northwestern has made big strides the past few years under coach D.J. Hough. The Wildcats have made it to the playoffs the past two seasons and even shared the region title last fall. Northwestern will need to find a few playmakers to keep that success going. The Wildcats return a terrific rushing attack in Brandon Reiser and Austin Miczo, but the graduation of Grant Panko, Kyle McKeen and others will be hard to overcome. McKeen was voted to the all-region first team at wide receiver and second team as a defensive back. He caught 17 passes for 419 yards and five touchdowns as a senior and was a threat to run and throw as well. Panko was a second-team punter and defensive back and ran for 199 yards and five touchdowns while throwing for 944 yards and 12 touchdowns. Mitch Wright also graduated after collecting 10 catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns last year. Another big concern will be rebuilding the offensive and defensive lines. Tom Head and Chad Roberts are all-region first-team offensive and defensive linemen gone to graduation. Garrett Behringer, a first-team linebacker, also graduated in the spring. He also had six catches for 91 yards and one touchdown as a senior.

The Wildcats will turn to returning starters Sam Yochim, Josiah Friend, Braydon Wojtecki, Dylan Bird, Nate Tewell, Reiser and Miczo. Reiser was a second-team all-region running back after rushing for 1,345 yards and 15 touchdowns on 221 carries, while Miczo ran for 846 yards and seven touchdowns on 140 carries. Miczo also caught 10 passes for 153 yards and one touchdown. Yochim, Friend and Wojtecki are back on the defensive line, while Bird will lead the defensive backfield and Tewell is a rising kicker. Friend is the team sack leader and a big part of the defense. Nate Noe is also back on offense after rushing for 215 yards and three touchdowns, while hauling in 11 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Northwestern will need several underclassmen to step up this year and Jay Clinger is in line to take over at quarterback. Clinger saw some playing time under center last year, completing 3-of-12 for 60 yards and one touchdown. The Wildcats have some work to do on the line and filling out the linebacker corps, but Northwestern looks like a team to beat in Region 4. The Wildcats play three of their first four games at home with a big road game at Girard in Week 3 and a huge showdown at Corry in Week 5. If Northwestern can get through the first half of the season without a region loss, the Region 4 race could come down to the Wildcats’ second-half road games at North East and Fairview.

30 Meadville 7
6 Seneca* 7
13 at Girard* 7
20 Harbor Creek* 7
27 at Corry* 7
4 Fort LeBoeuf* 7
11 at Greenville 7
18 at North East* 7
25 at Fairview* 7
1 Mercyhurst Prep 7
*Region 4 games

Tuesday: Oil City
–Tom Reisenweber
Posted: October 19th, 2012

Austin Miczo

The graduation losses of several running backs hasn’t slowed Northwestern down.

Austin Miczo is a big reason why the Wildcats’ rushing attack hasn’t suffered.

The 5-foot 10-inch, 165-pound sophomore has stepped up in a big way with 624 yards and five touchdowns on 90 carries this season. Among his solid performances was a 192-yard game, including one touchdown, in a 42-7 win over Greenville.

Northwestern is on its way to the District 10 Class AA playoffs for the second straight season and Miczo has been a big contributor to the Wildcats’ success.

Poll results:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: September 28th, 2012

Kyle McKeen

Versatility has been Kyle McKeen’s trademark for Northwestern. During the first half of his senior season and the throughout his junior year, McKeen has shown an array of all-around skills.

Last week’s game was a good example. McKeen, a wide receiver and defensive back, had three receptions, including touchdown catches of 13 and 14 yards while helping the Wildcats to a 48-7 victory. He also returned a punt 54 yards for a score in the game.

In Northwestern’s 26-19 victory over Girard Sept. 14, McKeen showed two other aspects of his game. He had a crucial interception in the end zone on the final play. Earlier in that game, he completed a 44-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Grant Panko. It was the second consecutive year that McKeen has thrown a TD pass to Panko.

Through four games, McKeen has eight receptions for 162 yards — a 20.3-yard average — and four touchdowns. His contributions have been a key reason why Northwestern is off to a 3-1 start.

Poll results:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: September 8th, 2012

It was the night of the sophomore running back in Region 4 Friday.

Three sophomores made impact performances in their teams’ winning efforts. Girard’s Kel Barnes led the way with 226 yards and two crucial touchdowns on 25 carries in the YellowJackets’ 24-7 win over rival Fairview.

Meanwhile, Northwestern’s Austin Miczo scored a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 66 yards in the Wildcats’ 35-6 win over Seneca. Another underclassman, junior Brandon Reiser, led Northwestern with 101 yards on the ground. Fellow junior Nate Noe had 54 yards, including a 43-yard first-quarter TD run.

Finally, Fort LeBoeuf sophomore Collin Fish scored a critical 2-yard TD and finished with 44 yards rushing in the Bison’s 17-14 win over Harbor Creek. Meanwhile, junior Cy Carroll led the Bison with 140 yards rushing.

Here’s a link to Friday’s District 10 statistics and state scores.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: July 24th, 2012

Northwestern Wildcats
Coach (season, record): D.J. Hough (2nd season, 5-6)
2011 overall record: 5-6
2011 region record (place): 3-3 (tied for third)
2011 playoff results: Lost to Hickory 33-12 in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Aaron Morley, Adam Alexander, Cody Parmerter
Top returning players: Chad Roberts, Garrett Behringer, Tom Head, Grant Panko, Kyle McKeen
Assistant coaches: Ron Glus, Dave Randall, Dave Merritt
Outlook: Northwestern made strides under first-year coach D.J. Hough last fall. The Wildcats made the playoffs and hung with District 10 champion Hickory for the first half. Northwestern will have to plug some holes in order to repeat that success. The Wildcats lost several key players to graduation, including all-region running back Aron Morley and all-region linemen Adam Alexander and Cody Parmerter. Morley, who was a first-team defensive lineman and second-team running back, ran for 1,053 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior. He also had 32 tackles and one sack. Alexander was a second-team offensive lineman and Parmerter a second-team defensive lineman.

Grant Panko is back to lead the offense after throwing for 466 yards and six touchdowns last fall. He also ran for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Also back is playmaker Kyle McKeen, a second-team wide receiver. He caught six passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns last year and his speed along with his arm can be confusing for defenses. McKeen can take pitches and run the ball and can step back throw it downfield. Garrett Behreinger is back to anchor the defense after being voted to the all-region second team at linebacker.

Northwestern has an interesting schedule this season. The Wildcats will take on a talented team on each level. Northwestern plays Class AAA Meadville, Class AA Greenville and Class A Mercyhurst Prep to go along with a solid region schedule. The Wildcats hit the road for three of their first four games but get most of their key games at home. Northwestern hosts Girard, Corry, North East and Fairview in Region 4 play. The Wildcats have to win on the road to boost their record but taking care of business at home would be a huge help.

31 at Meadville 7
7 at Seneca* 7
14 Girard* 7
21 at Harbor Creek* 7
28 Corry* 7
5 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7
12 Greenville 7
19 North East* 7
26 Fairview* 7
2 at Mercyhurst Prep 7
*Region 4 games

Wednesday: Oil City

– Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 29th, 2011

The Erie Times-News and are continuing District 10 football preview coverage this week, leading up to Friday’s season openers. Starting Sunday, the preview coverage included Region 6, McDowell and Region 4. The coverage will continue through Thursday. Included in each preview are complete rosters for each team.

Earlier, the Times-News published the 112-page Kickoff preseason guide and posted the online Summer Huddle series on the Varsity blog.

Check out the links to the Times-News team previews:
Sunday: McDowell preview
Sunday: Region 6
Monday: Region 4
Tuesday: Region 5
Wednesday: Region 2
Thursday: Region 3
Thursday: Region 1

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: July 27th, 2011

Northwestern Wildcats
Coach (season): D.J. Hough (1st season)
2010 overall record: 3-7
2010 region record (place): 1-5 (sixth)
2010 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs
Top players lost: Josh Paradise, Adam Ballard, Nick Noe
Top returning players: Steve Maskrey, Aaron Morely, Grant Panko
Assistant coaches: Ron Glus, Bob Behringer
Outlook: Northwestern will look for new direction this season with first-year coach D.J. Hough. Hough is a Northwestern graduate and was on the last team Erie County Class AA team to win a District 10 championship. The Wildcats have some holes to fill with the graduation of Josh Paradise, Adam Ballard and Nick Noe. Northerwestern returns standouts Steve Maskrey, Aaron Morely and Grant Panko at the skill positions, but the offensive and defensive lines will be new along with several starters on defense. The Wildcats begin the season with an interesting non-region game against Reynolds, but then they jump right into region play. Northwestern will take on rivals Fairview and Girard as well as powerhouse General McLane in the first month of the season. The Wildcats will likely need to sweep Seneca, Girard and Harbor Creek to get into the postseason.

2 Reynolds 7
9 at Fairview* 7
16 Seneca* 7
23 at Girard* 7
30 General McLane* 7
7 Greenville 7
14 at North East* 7
21 Harbor Creek* 7
28 at Central Tech 7
4 at Wilmington 7

Look for the Kickoff magazine at a Country Fair near you beginning Aug. 15. The 112-page magazine previews the upcoming District 10 football season, including top returning players, schedules, stats and more.

Thursday: Oil City

– Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 25th, 2010

Northwestern took some positive steps last season with a 4-6 record and a couple of close losses to solid teams. Coach Aaron Shaw has some experience returning in the backfield, but the line is a question mark. Shaw talks about the team’s challenges ahead:

Posted in: District 10, Football

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