Brandon Kunert, North Carroll, football

Q&A --

October 29, 2006|By BILL FREE

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound senior offensive tackle has been given a huge share of the credit for the Panthers' turnaround from last season, when the team averaged only five points a game and was 2-8. The Panthers are scoring 23 points a game and have already surpassed last year's win total with a 3-4 record.

How do you learn to live with very little recognition as an offensive lineman?

I know the whole team, all the linemen and everything, is working together, and we have a good running back, Jeremy Ritz, so all we have to do is make the blocks, and he does his thing. It doesn't matter who is scoring because if he keeps on scoring, we're coming out on top.

Does it take a special kind of person to be a team leader [Kunert is co-captain] as an offensive lineman?

You've got to be somebody that always wants to get your team up. It really doesn't take a special person, you just have a feeling just being there, knowing the team is like listening to you. You just want to see the best for your team.

Does it come naturally, the ability to lead team meetings?

Now, it does. When I'm talking to the team, it just comes out. At the start, it was not natural because I was never a co-captain or anything.

How has the offensive line contributed to the improvement of 18 more points a game?

The OL is doing our thing; we've been working hard all year. But we still have all great people around us. Mike Roberts, our wide receiver, is having a big year. Our quarterback, Stephan [Mitchell], is having a good year, and Jeremy [Ritz] again has been outstanding.

What's the best game you have played at North Carroll?

Two weeks ago, we beat South Carroll [27-7] on their homecoming, and that was probably one of my best games. Jeremy ran for four touchdowns. To beat them on their homecoming was a great feeling.

As a co-captain, what's the toughest thing you've had to do?

What to say to the team this season when we were down 30-0 at halftime against Thomas Johnson, when you look into their eyes and just tell they're down. I can't even remember what I said, I just blurted it out. We scored 20 points in the second half and lost, 37-20.

What's the difference between this year's team and others in the past?

The whole team attitude. We're a lot closer this year. The night before a game most of the team, if not the whole team, goes out to a team dinner.

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