7-4 overall, 5-2 Central Michigan Athletic Conference (3rd)
Aug. 26 Maple Valley, 7 p.m. (W 20-8)
Sept. 1 Saranac, 7 p.m. (W 21-14)
Sept. 9 at Bath, 7 p.m. (W 35-7)
Sept. 16 at Fulton, 7 p.m. (W 34-20)
Sept. 23 Laingsburg, 7 p.m. (W 28-0)
Sept. 30 at Potterville, 7 p.m. (W 49-8)
Oct. 7 at Dansville, 7 p.m. (L 21-19)
Oct. 14 Pewamo-Westphalia, 7 p.m. (L 34-7)
Oct. 21 at Merrill, 7 p.m. (W 29-7)
Playing experience: Alma College
Head coaching experience: Fowler 2013-present
Career record: 38-23
Full-time job: Athletic director/teacher
Assistant coaches: John Spicer, Taylor Hansen, Jason Pohl, Paul Minns, Al Goerge, Ken Bradley
The Eagles get back starting tailback Scott Pemberton, who helped revitalize the backfield last year after Fowler lost a 1,000-yard rusher in Austin Cook in 2014. Pemberton will run behind an offensive line that is full of seniors. Ernst believes running back depth is one of his team’s strengths heading into the season, as there are six tailbacks listed on the roster.
OLD FACES, NEW PLACES
Fowler’s offensive line in 2016 will consist of five seniors, but only two are returning starters. Left tackle Jared Speers and right guard Zach Snyder are the two lineman returning to the starting lineup — as well as two of the four returners on offense. With depth at the tailback position being a factor for the Eagles, continuity up front can help Ernst’s team build off last year’s success.
FINDING A DEFENSIVE IDENTITY
With just four returner starters on defense, Fowler will look to find a new identity. Ernst sees speed/quickness as his defense’s greatest strength, and linebackers Dallas Watts and Pemberton are the headliners. Logan Feldpausch is the only returning player in the secondary for a team that allowed 20 or more points four times last year. Defensive lineman Brandon Platte will step into a starting role and looks to be a key piece, along with Speers, on the defensive line.
TOUGH AT THE TOP
The CMAC showed its strength last season, as four teams in the conference finished with a winning record. Pewamo-Westphalia went unbeaten in the league and Dansville went 6-1, and both teams return key players. The Eagles lost more than half of their starters from a year ago, but have a favorable schedule to start the season. Fowler could go unbeaten going into the final three weeks of the season when it faces P-W and the Aggies back to back.
2 Dallas Watts TE/LB sr.
4 Eric Kohagen RB/SS jr.
5 Nolan Wieber FL/DB sr.
6 Jeremy Pung TE/DE sr.
8 Scott Pemberton RB/LB jr.
9 Brand Thelen RB/DB jr.
10 Gunnar Platte QB/DB sr.
11 Tony Hufnagel FL/DB jr.
13 Justin Myers RB/DT sr.
20 Logan Feldpausch RB/DB sr.
24 Marcus Braun RB/DB sr.
27 Mason Pline TE/S jr.
31 Hunter Armbrustmacher TE/S jr.
50 Jared Wohlfert OL/DL sr.
55 Zach Snyder OL/LB sr.
56 Austin McCarty OL/DL sr.
58 Noah Hamilton OL/LB jr.
59 Jared Speers OL/DL sr.
62 Jace Feldpausch OL/LB sr.
67 Tyler Rademacher OL/DE jr.
76 Brandon Platte OL/DL sr.
78 Dante Kramer OL/DL jr.
88 Cody Elliot TE/DE sr.
RETURNING STARTERS (4 on offense, 4 on defense)
Jared Speers OL
Zach Snyder OL
Dallas Watts TE
Scott Pemberton RB
Jared Speers DL
Scott Pemberton LB
Dallas Watts LB
Logan Feldpausch CB
Austin McCarty OL
Brandon Platte DL
Jeremy Pung TE