Brandywine put up a school-record 489 points on its way to a 7-3 season last year.

It’s the defensive side of the ball that the Bobcats need to address if they plan on making a deep postseason run this seasonm. Brandywine gave up a school-record 310 points last season, 86 of which came from Delton Kellogg in an 86-50 loss in its Division 6 pre-district game.

“We have to get better, defensively,” head coach Mike Nate said. “It comes down to intensity level. Defense is about heart and attitude. We have to play harder on that side of the ball.

“We want to be the hammer and not the nail on defense.”

The Bobcats return star running back Jordan Abrams. The senior has rushed for over 3,000 yards during his career and is just 25 yards away from breaking Marty Ward’s school record. Quarterback Gabe Gouin will direct the team this season, with senior wideout Shane Brown returning as last year’s leading receiver.

Connor Janowiak (RB/LB) and Brock Prenkert (WR/LB) return as the team’s leading tacklers from a year ago. Ty Mickiewicz and Cam Barrier are two returning two-way starters and brothers Reese and Ben McKee return as linemen.

The Bobcats will be without the services of running back Robert Gordon, who transferred to Griffith (Ind.). Despite the loss, the Bobcats don’t expect to have problems scoring points this season.

“We feel comfortable there (at running back),” Nate said. “It was a blow but we have enough quality players to make up for it. Gabe can pass and run. His arm is improving. Other people need to step up.

“We need to play more team ball. You’ll see a good mix of run and pass.”

Steven Kendall (LB), Chase Hersman (OL), Jacob Wolfinger (OL), Tomas Roman (OL), and Jake Luczkowski (DB) come back as key contributors. Hunter Heath (DB), Michael Palmer (WR/DB), Jalen Briggs (WR), and Bryce Taberski (K) are some of the new faces fans should be excited about.

“We’ve got a good nucleus of returning players and some new guys to fit in,” Nate said. “We’ve got 25 on varsity and 25 on JV, which is nice for a Class C school.”

Brandywine opens the season Thursday against Coloma. The Bobcats are playing an independent schedule this year that includes six Class B schools. Even so, the goal remains the same.

“The schedule is tougher but that’s okay,” Nate said. “We have our eyes on returning for the playoffs and taking a step farther than last year. It won’t be easy to improve on that but we’re going to try.

“Coloma will be a tough opener for both sides as a matchup of two returning playoff teams. We’ll be tested right away.”

Contact: mharden@thehp.com, 932-0371, @HPMaxwellHarden