BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — The recent seasons for Maumee football have been lacking in wins and many highlights on the field, but Panthers coach Cam Coutcher can see and feel that tide beginning to shift.
Maumee closed out last week with a scrimmage against Genoa, and Coutcher walked away impressed with his team.
“I thought we were really competitive,” Coutcher said. “We’ve just got to get tougher up front.
“We are so excited to start the season. I think our guys understand that we’re so close. We’re right there. We just need to clean some things up.”
The Panthers have won one game since the start of the 2019 season, but through offseason work-outs and scrimmages against Wauseon and Genoa, there are signs of better things to come this season.
“I like where we’re at right now,” Coutcher said. “We’re growing every day.”
The hopes for this season begin under center, where Maumee will start senior Kyle Arndt. He began the 2021 season as the starter, but an injury in Week 6 at Napoleon ended his season early.
If Friday against Genoa was any indication, Arndt is coming back with something to prove. Coutcher said they would get together once or twice weekly during the offseason to watch film. Arndt’s offseason included throwing all spring and arm-strengthening exercises.
“This is his fourth year running the offense,” Coutcher said. “He’s put a lot of work in in the offseason.
“He’s a leader. He hasn’t missed a workout or Turf Monster in maybe three years. He’s the leader of our team and he does it all through example.
“His actions back up his words, too. He’s an awesome kid to coach. I have a lot of fun with him.”
Arndt, who also stars on the basketball court for Maumee, showed a potent ability to get outside of the pocket and scramble for large gains against Genoa. It’s an element of the offense that will keep opponents on their toes.
“We’ve worked on pocket awareness every day in practice and he’s gotten really good at it,” Coutcher said. “If he sees a seam, he knows he can go. Teams are going to have to prepare for that part of his game, maybe taking someone out of the passing game to watch him.”
The Panthers will start the season with two straight road games, at Clay and Bryan, before returning to Kazmaier Stadium for a date against future Northern Buckeye Conference foe Eastwood on Friday, September 2.
After that, Maumee starts its final season as a member of the Northern Lakes League. Coutcher said he hasn’t given much thought to the finality of the season.
“I don’t really think about it,” Coutcher said. “I’m more focused on one thing at a time. We’re really focused on Clay right now.
“I know Coach (Ken) Walczak said, “This will be the last time I might ever coach against Perrysburg. It’s the last time we might ever do this or this.’ There are a lot of lasts, but I think we’re looking forward to a new chapter and new challenges for Maumee athletics.
“We’ll grind the season out, give it our best. Hopefully through all the work we’ve done, we can have a good showing every week and compete.”