Football: With playmakers Platt, Franklin, Ball back, No. 10 Andrew figures to be a handful
As much as Andrew coach Jim Malec would prefer his team fly under the radar this season, that likely won’t be the case.
Few teams return a quarterback who produced more than 2,000 yards combined rushing and passing and a running back who totaled 1,052 yards.
Andrew can boast of both in quarterback Jacob Platt (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) and running back Jarvion Franklin (6-1, 220), the latter a Western Michigan recruit.
The numbers don’t lie. Platt is a major threat to move the chains by way of the run and pass. Franklin has the speed and power to run by and over would-be tacklers.
Throw in receiver Danny Ball (6-2, 180), who hauled in 26 passes for 325 yards, and a senior class that is 24-4 heading into its final season and it’s no wonder big things are expected from the Thunderbolts.
“We will need the combination of good health and continual improvement from all of the inexperienced juniors and seniors on both sides of the ball to achieve our goals of competing for a conference championship and qualifying for the state playoffs,” Malec said.
True. Three skill-position players do not form a team. But Franklin, Platt and Ball provide a very good start.
“Our whole team has been waiting for our senior year,” Franklin said. “We’ve been playing together for a while.
“We expect to leave it all out there on the field this year.”
The offensive line boasts a trio of 230-pound seniors in Jordan Hovel, Jon Brann and Brad Borgia.
“With Jarvion and our offensive line, we should be able to put up some points,” Platt said.
Defensively, there are holes to fill, with backs Kevin Jackson (5-9, 165) and Jerimie Richards (5-10, 175) the most prominent returning starters. The good news is the competition for starting position should bring out the best in the candidates.
The season begins Aug. 30 with a home date against Bremen.
“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” Franklin said. “We’re not looking ahead to anyone. Right now, we’re just focused on Bremen.”
Platt acknowledged the reality of entering their final season of high school elevated the intensity during offseason conditioning. However, the pressure to live up to expectations hasn’t overwhelmed the team.
“We’re not looking at it like a season of urgency,” Platt said. “We plan to go out there and have fun. The defense should be able to hold teams down, and special teams is a strength, too.
“I think we’re really well rounded. Even though we have mostly seniors, we’re still going to need contributions from some juniors. We’re going to give it all we have.”