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McPherson College

The McPherson Bulldogs under second year coach Pete Sterbick are intent on the goal of returning the Bulldog program to the recent success they enjoyed in 2009 and 2010.  The memory of that success still burns in the memory of the McPherson faithful and the 2013 squad longs to return there.

A big key to that return to success will be the Bulldog defense.  Ranked #10 in the nation and #1 in the conference in 2012 the Bulldog defense surrendered only 268 yards per game.   Nine men off of that unit return for the 2013 campaign.   Additionally, coach Sterbick comments that “We have a chance to be improved on defense because of increased depth and player’s familiarity with our system.  We need to create more turnovers to be successful.”  Leading that effort will be 2012 second team all KCAC defensive end Chris Ellison, Red Oak TX, along with linebacker Jimmy Wilson, Oakland, CA, who also was a second team selection in ’12.  In all, the top seven tacklers from Mac’s 2012 defense are all returning.  It will be hard for any KCAC team to unseat the Bulldog defense from the top of the pile

Offensively, there are some challenges for the ‘Dogs to overcome.  Says Sterbick: “We replace six starters, including three offensive linemen.  We have good depth at running back and have more quality across the board than last year at wide receiver.  Replacing Julius Record (#1 in the NAIA in catches per game with 9.2) will be an early priority, as will be determining who the quarterback will be.   We have to decrease our turnovers to increase our wins.”  Returning to anchor the Bulldog offense will be senior tight end / punter Paul Roetering, Colorado Springs, CO, and junior running back Terrance Jones, Maize, KS.  Both Roetering and Jones earned 2nd team KCAC honors in 2012.  Additionally, WR’s Michael Ramos, Sachse, TX, Kenny Pope, Sunnyvale, CA, and David Anderson, Aurora, CO all return and are familiar with the McPherson offense.  Senior running back Havelok Pomele, San Jose, CA also returns in the backfield with Jones.

In any wide open, spread type offense, a new quarterback is a substantial hurdle to overcome, particularly when you are replacing a player the caliber of Jake Snodgrass.  Snodgrass graduated in 2012, notching a four year career for the Bulldogs that saw much success through those years.  24 year old Washington State transfer J.T. Levenseller was on campus for spring ball to compete for the QB position, along with junior Jordon Hoffman of McCordsville, IN., whom Sterbick says has made great strides during spring ball.   If one of these players steps up and is able to produce, the Bulldogs could very well be competing for the title come November.

As Coach Sterbick and the McPheron faithful look to improve on last year’s 4-5 record, the schedule seems to be in their favor, at least early in the year.  The Bulldogs open at home vs. a pretty strong Bacone team, and then are visited by the Graceland University Yellowjackets in the inaugural HAAC – KCAC matchup.  Both of those games should be winnable, and then they are matched up with Bethel and Southwestern to begin KCAC play.  The opportunity is there for the Bulldogs to have a good start.  Should they start off playing the way they did last year vs. Missouri Valley, they will find themselves sitting at 4-0 to start the season, and will have an entirely new outlook.