GARY — It was the kind of season that would make a man scratch his head.

Roosevelt lineman Demond Hodge is playing for his third head coach at Roosevelt and last year, with his first and second coaches being fired, couldn’t have been any crazier. Hodge’s first ex-coach was Eric Yarborough, who was fired just before the season began. He was replaced by Hodge’s second ex-coach, Jeff Karras, who would be fired one week before sectionals after leading the Panthers to their first three-game win streak since 2005.

“Last year was pretty rough,” Hodge said. “It hurt because you get attached to a person but we couldn’t give up, we had to keep on fighting. Karras had us winning and we were beginning to become a family. Hopefully we can continue that this year.”

And then, the center/defensive lineman corrected himself.

“We will,” he said.

Which is why Hodge is looked upon as one of the leaders of the Panthers this season. Despite the revolving door of coaches and other players deciding not to come out this season, Hodge stayed.

And already, he’s been rewarded. He says Ball State is more than interested in his services next season.

But first, there is a senior year to take care of, a final season, which Hodge says has potential to be a good one inspite of heavy graduation losses.

“We have guys here who are working hard and have great talent and are willing to push themselves,” Hodge said. “It’s not about numbers, it’s about pushing yourself and going 100 miles per hour.”

Ah, but the numbers thing could be a problem. At Roosevelt training camp, there were no more than 11 players who took part in an early pratcice, although the Roosevelt coaches expected numbers to improve after the start of school.

First-year coach Ronald White said he’d like to have a few more Demond Hodge-types.

“The main thing I’m concerned about is filling up positions,” Hodge said. “That’s all we need because we have people here who are willing to go hard all the way. They don’t complain and I’m grateful for that. These guys are athletic and work hard and are willing to push themselves.”

And how will that translate on the field?

“I think we can win a majority of our games,” he said. “Hopfeully we can win sectionals.”