Zack Miller

Zack Miller is one of Bremen's top receivers.

BREMEN - With so many new players stepping into the starting lineup this year, the coaching staff for the Bremen football team knew there would be some growing pains.

Even in the season-opening 27-7 loss, there were some good things to build on, especially on one side of the ball.

“I was really happy with how the defense played,” said Lions head coach Jordan Leeper. “We gave up two scores in the second half basically because our defense was worn down (from being on the field so much.) It was a good effort. We gave up a kick return (for a TD) and we gave up an interception that led to a short field and a touchdown. I thought our kids came out and played hard and executed the defensive game plan. We were hoping our offense would be a little farther along. The defense did a good job, now it’s time for the offense to step up.”

The next opportunity to show that offensive growth will be the Northern Indiana Conference South Division opener this Friday when the Lions travel to South Bend to face Riley.

The Wildcats defeated Class 4a New Haven, 28-27, in overtime last week.

“They are a well-coached team,” Leeper said of this week’s adversary. “We’ve had some great games the last couple of years with them. They are going to be physical, they are going to be aggressive and they are going to be fast. Their kids come to hit and our kids need to be ready for that. We expect to be better this week.

“Last Friday night, we weren’t too upset about (how the offense played), but after watching the film on Saturday we were in the dumps a little bit because we missed a lot of assignments. Laville did a great job with their linebackers and avoiding blocks. We could have done a better job blocking. Overall, I’d probably give us a D. Realistically, that was about as bad as our offense could play. It wasn’t just us though. Laville is good and has a lot of good players returning, a lot of senior leadership and juniors that played a lot last year.

“We need to be more disciplined. Getting our assignments, doing the right thing in the moment. We can do it in practice. We show glimpses of it, but the consistency of being a competitive team is important. You have to do it the right way every single time. You are going to make mistakes, but you have to work for that 100 percent accuracy. If you are not working for that you will fall behind. Our biggest thing this week is to compete, but do it with discipline.”

Running back Brady Ginter did a commendable job in his first varsity start and backfield mate Bryce Wogomon ran hard as well to gain some tough yards for the Lions.

Tight end Sam Huffman and receiver Hunter Bennitt both made terrific catches on passes from sophomore QB Ethan Nunemaker, who was making his first varsity start.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Jackson Field.

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