NEWPORT — Newport High School football coach John Proper liked what he saw during scrimmage sessions the past two Saturdays.
“I’m very pleased so far. We couldn’t have done any better,” the first-year coach said as he reviewed the outlook for the Tigers that starts with a 1:30 p.m. home game Saturday against Lebanon.
Proper got an opportunity to scout both Lebanon and Monadnock, two of the tougher teams on Newport’s schedule, at the scrimmage sessions Saturday at Fall Mountain in Langdon.
As for the Tigers, Proper said he was pleased, especially since they took on a new offense. “It’s more of a pro formation,” he stated.
The outside linemen and backs are on the small side while the interior line has plenty of size, according to Proper.
The initial turnout numbered 45 players including 15 juniors and 12 freshmen. The Tigers will also field a junior varsity team but will not have a freshman squad.
Last season the 1-8 Tigers lost some players at quarterback and running back including Joey Akerman and JT Blaine.
This season Jagger Lovely will handle the tailback duties with Josh Sharron at fullback. On defense, the Tigers will have Marius Edwards and Blake McKenney at linebacker positions.” They have excellent speed and a nose for finding the football,” Proper noted.
At the Hanover jamboree two weeks ago, Proper said it was literally the second day of full contact and the kids were phenomenal, making very few mistakes. They executed well both offensively and defensively,” he added.
In that Jamboree Newport participated in 60 plays with 10 on offense and 10 on defense in each contest against Hanover, Newfound and Mascoma. “We didn’t give up a touchdown to their offensive units, The Tigers defensive unit gave up single touchdowns to both Mascoma and Fall Mountain.
“The kids left the Jamboree on a high note. The attitude has changed from last year and the confidence level is high.
In the scrimmage sessions last Saturday the Tigers were beaten by Mascoma before improving against Fall Mountain.
Proper served as an assistant junior varsity coach in the past and was in the tower for the varsity games last season.
Assistant coaches on the Newport staff include Jeremy Willey, head defensive coach and line; Kevin Pollari, head junior varsity coach; PJ Lovely, running backs and defensive backs coach and Bobby Bates, quarterback and defensive backs coach.
“Many of our players are familiar with us as coaches. We have coached some of the kids since T-ball,” Proper revealed.
So, how will the Tigers do this year? “We’ll be very competitive and making the playoff s is a very realistic goal,” Proper said.