Wolves to field a younger team this fall

  • Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dan Brown/Independent -- Brandon Simmons breaks free for a 50-yard touchdown run during Timberland’s annual spring intra-squad game.

The 2013 season will see a much different football team for the Timberland Wolves than its experienced state championship team of 2011.
With just eight seniors returning (compared to 17 in 2011) Coach Art Craig will field a much younger team than he’s been used to in recent years, dipping down into the sophomore and freshman classes, and maybe even a spare eighth grader or two, to fill out his roster in the coming season.
“We’re young, no question about it,” said Craig at the conclusion of the Wolves’ annual spring game on May 17, “But just because these guys are young doesn’t mean they’re lacking in talent.”
In the fall, Craig will turn to a junior at quarterback in Ryan Hood, but also have rising senior Matt Gabel and sophomore Daniel Robinson ready to take some snaps.
“We have three options starting with Ryan Hood at quarterback, but we can always turn to Gabel if we need to and then if we want to do anything direct snap we give Daniel Robinson the ball and see what he can do with it,” he said.
Gabel, who put an exclamation mark on the spring game with a 65-yard touchdown bomb to Shamell Williams, was the starting quarterback through the first five games last year and went 4-1.
“Other than the game against Berkeley, Matt had a good season at quarterback last year,” he said. “The biggest thing in situations like that, a bad game or a bad series, it’s how you come out that next series that counts.”
With arms like Hood and Gabel, who both pitched on Timberland’s baseball team, the Wolves may air it out more than they have in seasons past. Hood earned All Region honors as a sophomore pitcher for the Wolves this spring.
Craig’s biggest challenge going into the summer is getting everybody healthy. The injury bug has plagued the Wolves throughout 2013, carrying over from baseball season where many of the football players play, into spring practice.
“We have ten linemen and four of them are out with injuries,” Craig said. “We just need some time to get everybody healthy.
Timberland opens the 2013 season on Aug. 23 against Manning.

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