SYRACUSE — There is plenty of optimism in the preseason football camp at Wawasee High School.

Fourth-year head coach Jon Reutebuch reports that the Warriors enjoyed a “very busy, but productive summer” as the team began the run-up to the 2022 season.

Wawasee, which went 1-9 overall and 1-6 in the Northern Lakes Conference in 2021, is preparing to open the new slate with two non-conference games — Aug. 19 at Tippecanoe Valley and Aug. 26 against West Noble — before the NLC opener Sept. 2 against Goshen.

What’s got Reutebuch excited?

“How crisply we move through things,” said Reutebuch. “Attendance was very good this summer. Kids learned a lot over the summer and retained a lot of that.

“The kids’ attitudes have been great.”

Wawasee attended a 7-on-7 competition at Ball State University and 11-on-11’s at Bremen High School and WHS as well as a team camp at Manchester University.

“The summer is about setting the foundation for kids being in-shape,” said Reutebuch. “You’re lifting, conditioning and working on agility.

“We look at June as a chance to get reps and opportunities and a chance to evaluate kids.”

As the calendar flips to July, there may be some position changes and the honing and repetition process continues and basics are emphasized.

“We can hit the ground running (on the first day of practice),” said Reutebuch. “That’s super important.”

Once again, the Warriors will employ multiple packages on offense depending on available personnel.

“We’re going to run the football,” said Reutebuch. “That’s a given. We need to establish the run so we can throw when we want to.”

Looking at the offensive depth chart as preseason camp was opening, senior Jaxon Brown and junior Mason Shoemaker were the leaders at quarterback.

Fullback always plays a key part in Reutebuch’s offense. Part of that mix includes senior Landen Alexander and junior Payton Sewell.

Tailbacks include senior Cameron Zimmerman and junior Brandon Kelly.

The wide receiver corps has senior Chase Dennis, juniors Hunter Tinkey and Derek Bontrager, senior Chase Dennis and sophomore Brayden Pike.

Among the tight ends are senior Cameron Reyes and junior Donovan Blair.

Senior Chance Flannery is the front-runner at center.

Senior Brendan Freeman and junior Hunter Kunish were leading the way as guards. Senior Nico Ramirez was one of the offensive tackles. Others in the offensive line picture were senior David Anderson and junior Landon Reynolds.

Senior Tim Bolt is expected to handle kicking and punting duties.

The long snapper looked to be Anderson or Sewell.

Wawasee plays a 4-2-5 defense.

“We’ve had that all four years,” said Reutebuch. “It gives us flexibility.”

Manning the anchor/strong side end is likely to be Blair or Ramirez with Flannery having a good shot at tackle, Freeman and junior Hunter Kunish at nose and Reyes and Zimmerman at rush end.

Inside linebackers are Anderson, Brown, Brandon Kelly and Sewell.

Linebackers and safeties are rotated upon need. Fox/outside linebackers are Alexander and Shoemaker with senior Brady Russell and junior Dawson Schmucker at bandit/safety.

Dennis, Tinkey and junior Lucas Linder looked to be a part of the cornerback crew. Bontrager is also a safety.

Bontrager, Dennis and Tinkey led kick/punt return candidates.

Wawasee’s roster counts 51 sophomores through seniors plus about 25 freshmen.

“The goal since I took over was over 50 (in grades 10-12) and 25 to 30 (freshmen),” said Reutebuch, who has 12 seniors in 2022 — twice as many as 2021. “Those are good numbers at our size school.”

Most of the Warriors’ varsity/junior varsity coaching staff returns. An addition is former Northfield and Whitko coach Josh Lohr.

“We’re probably in the best position I’ve been in since I started coaching as far as a full staff with experience and everything,” said Reutebuch.

The rest of the staff includes

Mark Osmialowski, Andrew Zaebst, Conner Glon, Clayton Cook, Nick Feldman, Scott Hatfield, Evan Gregory and Blake Haynie.

Wawasee is in an IHSAA Class 4A sectional grouping with Logansport, Northridge, NorthWood, Plymouth, South Bend Riley, South Bend Saint Joseph and South Bend Washington.