With 20 returning lettermen, the Newcomerstown High School football team enters the 2012 campaign with the goal of recording the program's first winning season since 2002.
Despite only graduating six players from the 2011 squad that posted a 3-7 overall record and a 1-5 mark in the Inter-Valley Conference, fifth-year head coach Eric Brock said the team still remains young.
"We only have seven seniors, and overall, we are still very young," Brock said. "We have to grow and develop into the team we have the potential to be."
Newcomerstown employs a spread offense and a 4-2 defensive scheme.
Brock recently answered questions about this year's squad and its upcoming season for WKYC's usatodayhss.com Web site.
WKYC's usatodayhss.com: What is your team's motto for the season?
Newcomerstown football coach Eric Brock : "Rise as One."
WKYC: What is the biggest question/uncertainty you have about your team that you hope to have answered by the start of conference play?
Brock: Can we take the next step and be a competitive team in the IVC?
WKYC: What must happen for your team to be able to accomplish its goals this season?
Brock: We must stay healthy and continue to grow as a team.
WKYC: Who are your team's projected leaders this season? What do you expect each to bring to the team?
Brock: We have some great kids. Chandler Shryock will lead us with his work ethic. Mitchell Meeks will be the heart of our defense. Austin Trzop, Coy Johns and David Marburger will also be great leaders on this team.
WKYC: Which newcomer(s) on your team has the greatest chance to become a household name by the end of the season? Why?
Brock: Austin King and Cody Hall are two talented juniors that we hope can be big playmakers for us this year.
WKYC: What do you expect to be your team's greatest strength this season?
Brock: Our kids have a tight bond, and they really respect each other and want to be good. We may surprise some people this year. Our goal is to win and that's what we will work to do each and every week.
For more Northeast Ohio high school sports news, scores, photos and videos, visit usatodayhss.com/Cleveland.