APPLETON (WLUK) -- So far this season Appleton North's offense has not measured up to last year's performance.
After averaging 37 points per game last year, North is averaging 19 ppg. this season and because of it the Lightning has had to rely on its defense in its 2-1 start.
"I think we have to do a great job every week, helping our offense out, give them as many chances as we can and I think that's the recipe for winning games this season," senior linebacker Nathan Smoll said.
The big reason the offense has not matched last year's numbers as of yet is the loss of quarterback Carter Robinson to graduation (walk-on at Utah) and running back Patrick Watson moving out of state.
In Week 2 Appleton North lost to Franklin 31-7 as the offense had struggles and while the Lightning didn't enjoy the result of that game it believes that experience will pay off in the long run.
"We know the quality that program is, but we thought it was important for us to see where we want to go and see that type of competition," said coach Rob Salm, whose team hosts Neenah on Friday in the Game Time Game of the Week. "I think we took a lot away from that and that is really the goal. To be the best, you want to play against good competition so we learned a lot of a valuable lessons that week."
"Think we're a resilient group that still needs to grow," Smoll said. "I think we saw in the Franklin game we have room for improvement but we can really stick in there with some higher level teams."
North returned just five starters this season, but Salm said the team has talent. It just needs experience. The players, though, are not using inexperience as an excuse.
"One of our main things this year is no BCDs," senior lineman Andy Bork said. "So no blame, complain, defend and that just means even if we're young, even if were maybe not good on numbers, it;'s not an excuse, we have to go out there and do our and it should always be the same expectation as the year before."
The Lightning's best usually is pretty good.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay