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2H THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

A life guided by service

Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein breaks free for a big gain in the second quarter against Oklahoma last season. “What I really want is for the Lord to be glorified by whatever he allows me to do,” Klein said. “As long as I do that, I will be happy.”

Much like his personal life, K-State’s Collin Klein got into football to help others ■ ■ ■

BY KELLIS ROBINETT The Wichita Eagle

MANHATTAN — While attending church one Sunday morning earlier this summer, Collin Klein heard about an ailing woman who was living her final days in a nursing home. Her family needed help. They could no longer stay by her side 24 hours a day, and were asking for volunteers to keep her company when they couldn’t. Klein wanted to help, but doing so would be hard with his jam-packed schedule. Not only was Kansas State’s senior quarterback leading voluntary workouts, adjusting his throwing motion and studying video, he had a wedding to plan and a new home to move into. It was the most hectic time of his life. So he signed up for as many shifts as he could. “He was there keeping watch,” said Bob Flack, senior pastor at Manhattan’s Grace Baptist Church. “He made time for them.” Those who know Klein best say he has been doing this sort of thing for years. His father, Doug, likes to tell stories about him surprising neighbors in Loveland, Colo. when he was 10 by shoveling snow off their driveways on winter mornings so they could get to work on time. Back then he squeezed good deeds into a busy schedule that included school, basketball practice, church, and music lessons on the piano, violin and mandolin. He is a little older now and has more responsibilities — other than a week-long trip to Cancun for his honeymoon, he hardly relaxed this summer — but his values haven’t changed. Free time means community service. “Trying to give back with what I’ve been given is very important to me,” Klein said. “I am always trying to help anybody big or small. Anything I can do, I love to take the opportunity to do it. At some points I even feel selfish doing it, because I think it helps me out more than any amount that I’m helping them.” This is the side of Klein his teammates wish everyone could see. It reveals much more about him than what you find on game days — a 6-foot-5, 226-pound quarterback with the toughness and determination to get up after any hit. Klein is more than that. To truly understand him, teammates say you have to watch him in the locker room, at church or in the community. Do that, they say, and you will see what makes him a special quarterback. His selflessness, his faith, his leadership, his work ethic … it’s all there. “He’s the kind of guy you can look up to in every area of life,” sophomore receiver Tyler Lockett said.

Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle

K-State coach Bill Snyder talks with quarterback Collin Klein during the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas on Jan. 6 at Cowboys Stadium. ■ ■ ■ If everyone saw that side of Klein, maybe he wouldn’t face so many questions heading into his most important season. OK, so Klein doesn’t exactly have doubters anymore. He’s on pace to become one of the best quarterbacks to ever play at K-State. Everyone agrees he is a great college football player. Still, he is underrated considering he amassed more than 3,000 yards of offense and accounted for 40 touchdowns on a 10-win team last season. Fifteen years ago, those numbers would have put him the middle of a Heisman Trophy race. Today, few, if any, view Klein as a NFL quarterback. And he made the Big 12’s allconference team last year as an allpurpose player. Not quarterback. Klein doesn’t have a beautiful throwing motion, and K-State’s offense is not designed around flashy plays. The Wildcats win by minimizing mistakes — a reason there are plenty of skeptics who don’t think he can repeat his breakthrough season. If he doesn’t improve as a passer — he ran the ball more times than he threw it last year and had a 57-percent completion rate — some are predicting K-State to take a step back. His teammates know this, but are confident in him all the same. They long ago nicknamed him “Honey Badger,” because much like the sillylooking animal that became famous for picking a fight with a rattlesnake on YouTube, Klein never backs down. “He’s everything you want in a quarterback and more,” junior safety Ty Zimmerman said. “His work ethic is like no other. He shows up early, he stays late throwing balls and doing extra work in the film room. He is so tough and fearless and goes about each play like it’s his last.”

Try to envision Klein on the basketball court, cutting through the lane for a high-flying dunk. Seems strange, doesn’t it? But it’s what Klein’s father always pictured him doing in college. “He is a heck of a basketball player,” Doug Klein said. When he first got into athletics, Collin Klein took to basketball. He began before the age of 10, and was so good that he joined a traveling team as a teenager. Klein didn’t start football until he was old enough for high school and his father volunteered as an assistant coach. Though he spent his days with his mother and brother in home school, he had no trouble fitting in with traditional students when he showed up for practice. He played quarterback and became a team leader right away. He was considered one of Colorado’s top prospects by the time he was a senior – in two sports. He had scholarship offers from Northern Colorado and Colorado State for basketball, and was beginning to hear from national schools as well. But K-State liked what it saw from Klein as a quarterback. Klein had to choose. Continue playing the sport he grew up with, or switch to football after four fun years. It was a tough decision, but college football offered something basketball never could: the chance to help more than 100 teammates. “He just loved the game and loved being a part of a big team,” Doug Klein said. “He has always gone out of his way to help others no matter what needed to be done or what he was doing. Football was a great fit for him.” When Klein arrived at K-State, he didn’t know what to expect. He took a redshirt his first year and spent his freshman season at receiver. He was the backup quarterback behind Carson Coffman as a sophomore. Winning the starting job and becoming a nationally known player was never a given. But he didn’t think about any of that. Klein simply focused on becoming a leader. “My biggest thing from Day 1 is that I truly wanted my teammates to know that I cared,” Klein said. “I care about them more than on-field performance and still do. I want to help all of my teammates as much as I possibly can.” He is about to begin his third season as a team captain. ■ ■ ■ In a small college town like Manhattan, there are plenty of people who pray for Klein. Everyone wants to see K-State’s quarterback stay healthy and play well on Saturdays.

But that isn’t why the members of Grace Baptist Church pray for him. They pray for him because they know him. “He has a lot of fans here,” Flack said. “Collin is a model of Christian character.” Klein is a regular at Grace, and heads there every weekend, often with his family. He worships in the morning and eats lunch with a church group in the afternoon. They enjoy his company. Klein is a devout Christian who tries his best never to curse and always to live his life in God’s image. He has three main priorities: God, family and football, in that order. He asks God to guide him in everything he does. He credits him for touchdowns and wins on the football field, and openly thanks him for bringing him together with his new wife, former K-State basketball player Shalin Spani. Klein and Spani have known each other for years, but they only recently became more than friends. The story behind their vows is elaborate and Klein isn’t comfortable sharing it with everyone. Simple version: God let them know they were destined for each other. When they came to that realization, things moved quickly. Klein proposed after a few dates. “They have such a special story,” Doug Klein said. “We’re so happy for them. The two are inseparable already. It’s like they have been together their entire life.” K-State coach Bill Snyder is supportive, too, even though he knows marriage is one more thing Klein will have to juggle. “If you do it right, you can accomplish a lot in a 24-hour time frame, and he does it right,” Snyder said. “He cares and makes it important to him. He puts in the effort. Marriage shouldn’t change that.” How could it if his faith guided him there? His faith has helped him on the gridiron for years. Where others see bad calls, injuries or dropped passes as unfortunate events, he sees obstacles put in his way by God as a test. Not only does he embrace them, he welcomes them. Despite taking so many hits that he couldn’t practice in between several games last year, he never complained. He emerged from a victory at Miami covered with blood and bruises, but also with a gigantic smile. Even though he was in pain, he knew he had passed God’s test. “I’m not a really good football person, but I can see why he is a leader on the football field,” Flack said. “He is a young man of integrity who has the ability to bounce back from hardship and maintain his focus. That’s the way he wants to live life. He knows it will be tough, but he welcomes adversity. That’s the

kind of person anyone can follow.” ■ ■ ■ The hard part is over. Two-a-day practices are coming to an end, marriage is beginning to feel normal and the football season is about to start. Life isn’t so hectic for Klein anymore. He has managed his schedule and put in the hard work. Now he needs to take all he has learned into games. Klein says he should improve in all areas. But the biggest difference should come as a passer. He adjusted his throwing mechanics over the summer, and thinks he is ready to prove he can make consistent, pinpoint throws. He may need to in order to keep himself healthy and his offense balanced. “That is going to be a big emphasis for us and he put a lot of time into it this summer,” offensive coordinator Dana Dimel said. “He’s just been developing his throwing game each and every year. Hopefully this is the year he can step up and show everyone the person we know he is.” Klein’s father watched his son throughout the summer, and is confident he is close to a breakthrough. He has always thought Klein could throw for big yardage in an offense that allowed it. But K-State values its running game, and it has taken Klein a while to become comfortable as a passer. He is much more comfortable now, though. He gained loads of confidence after throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns in K-State’s spring game. “He’s looking real good,” senior receiver Chris Harper said. “He is getting it out way quicker. He’s even surprising me. He’s got a lot more zip on it and he’s a lot more confident.” It wasn’t easy for Klein to get here. It took years of hard work. The majority of that work may be over, but it won’t mean much if K-State doesn’t win big this season. Klein understands the pressure, and realizes a lot of people are relying on him. But he isn’t worried. His personal goals haven’t changed since he got to K-State. Above all else, he still wants to help others. He is never too busy. “What I really want is for the Lord to be glorified by whatever he allows me to do,” Klein said. “As long as I do that, I will be happy. “Is winning fun? Of course, we all want to win and gain yards, but being able to glorify the Lord with all that he has given me through football is more important.” Check Kellis Robinett’s K-State blog at blogs.kansas.com/kstated. Reach him at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com.


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SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 3H

Wildcats hope front line becomes stingy ■ Replacing interior defensive linemen becomes priority. BY TONY ADAME The Wichita Eagle

MANHATTAN — There is nothing flashy about the three defensive linemen Kansas State will try to build around this season. Not their size, not their stats and certainly not their personalities. But, to a man, they’re each proven commodities – players who have shown they can perform at an elite level in the Big 12. Adam Davis started every game at defensive end last year and registered 34 tackles, including four sacks. Defensive tackle Vai Lutui started 11 games and also had 34 tackles in his first season after transferring from Mount San Antonio (Calif.) College. And Meshak Williams, who didn’t start a game? The Hutchinson Community College product was named an honorable-mention All-Big 12 defensive end with 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks – the most sacks for a Wildcat in three seasons. Are they underrated? Maybe a little. Will they be overlooked? For better or worse, that’s impossible. “All the guys have done an outstanding job … they’re all up to snuff and have worked extremely hard,” K-State defensive line coach Mo Lattimore said. “Strength, speed, quickness, toughness, aggressiveness … all the things you need for a good defensive lineman, I see in these guys.” The three returners led the K-State defensive line this summer living, working out and going to summer school in Manhattan, where they said they bonded – and thrived – under strength and conditioning coach Chris Dawson. “We worked like crazy, and a lot of that came from knowing we have weak spots and wanting to prove we can be as good as we were last year,” said Davis, who also played at Hutchinson. “We were out here in the heat, trying to push ourselves, mentally and

Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle

Kansas State defensive end Meshak Williams (42) closes in for a sack on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III last season in Manhattan.

Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) is tackled by Kansas State defensive end Adam Davis (97) during their 2011 game in Manhattan, won by K-State. physically, to be able to go without subs if we have to.” The holes to fill on the defensive front – ranked 37th in the nation last season in

Seniors Javonta Boyd, a Butler Community College transfer, and John Sua seem rushing defense – are most likely candidates to replace apparent on the interior, where second-team All-Big 12 the duo, although both played tackle Ray Kibble is gone, as is sparingly in 2011. “There’s a lot of pressure on Raphael Guidry.

MISSOURI STATE

MIAMI 11 a.m. Sept. 8 at Manhattan Series: K-State, 1-0 This is the Hurricanes’ second visit to the Sunflower State, fresh off their 1978 victory at Kansas 38-6.

NORTH TEXAS 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at Manhattan Series: K-State, 5-1 Mean Green is picked eighth in the Sun Belt Conference and will have already visited LSU by the time they hit Manhattan.

OKLAHOMA 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at Norman, Okla. Series: OU, 71-17-4 Sooners are averaging 52.7 points against K-State in last three meetings. Hard to see them putting up that many in this matchup. We think.

KANSAS Oct. 6 at Manhattan Series: KU, 65-39-5 Bill Snyder owned Glen Mason (somewhat), Terry Allen, Mark Mangino and Turner Gill. Welcome to Aggieville, Charlie Weis.

IOWA STATE Oct. 13 at Ames, Iowa Series: ISU, 49-42-4 Last four meetings, all KState wins, have been decided by eight points or less.

WEST VIRGINIA Oct. 20 at Morgantown Series: Tied 1-1 K-State traveled to Morgantown in 1930 (lost 23-7) and 1931 (won 19-0). Eighty-one years later, it’s a conference game.

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Tavon Austin and West Virginia are No. 11 to begin the Big 12 season.

TEXAS TECH Oct. 27 at Manhattan Series: Tech, 8-4 Not that the streak figures to continue, but it should be noted that the Red Raiders have won two straight in Manhattan (2004, 35-25, and 2008, 58-28).

OKLAHOMA STATE Nov. 3 at Manhattan Series: OSU, 36-22 One of college football’s best 2011 games gets a rematch in Manhattan. This one will also have some significant bowl implications.

TCU Nov. 10 at Fort Worth Series: TCU, 3-2 Horned Frogs won three straight from Stan Parrish’s bunch in the mid-1980s, but it’s the first meeting since. TCU coach Gary Patterson was a strong safety and outside linebacker for KSU in 1980 and 1981.

BAYLOR Nov. 17 at Waco, Texas Series: K-State, 7-2 Snyder is 5-1 against the Bears, the only loss a 47-42 thriller at Waco in 2010.

TEXAS Dec. 1 at Manhattan Series: K-State, 7-5 Some serious bowl positioning could be on the line. Remember that K-State is 4-1 against the Longhorns in Manhattan, the only loss in 2002 when a game-tying field goal was missed in the final minutes.

me as a starter coming back, but I know how I can perform and help this team up front,” said Lutui (6-foot-2, 301 pounds). “I had the whole offseason to work on my quickness and my strength

Reach Tony Adame at 316-268-6284 or tadame@wichitaeagle.com.

KELLIS ROBINETT BREAKS DOWN THE WILDCATS

A LOOK AT K-STATE’S SCHEDULE 6 p.m. Saturday at Manhattan Series: K-State, 2-0 Hard to imagine K-State needing a late touchdown to win its opener this time around.

Kansas State defensive tackle Vai Lutui (92) pressures Missouri quarterback James Franklin (1) deep in his own end zone during their 2011 game.

with Coach Dawson, my quickness more than anything so I can help out on the pass rush a little more. I need to be stout up there.” Williams (6-3, 245) replaces Jordan Voelker in the starting lineup and could have the biggest upside of the trio. He’s nominated for the Ted Hendricks Award that goes to the nation’s top defensive end, but his 28 total tackles – even if 10 of them were for loss – left something to be desired. “I have to perform. I have to double everything from last year, and that’s not just stats,” Williams said. “I need to work harder if I want to take that role from Jordan as the fulltime starter. “I feel like I could be a dominant rush end if I put my mind to it … but to be a dominant end you have to practice hard every day, never take a day off.”

There are two ways to look at Kansas State’s last football season. 1. It was the beginning of a trend. 2. It was a fluke. Based on where the Wildcats are landing in various preseason polls — The Sporting News picked them sixth, USA Today 21st and Phil Steele 37th — there are plenty of people in each camp. Some see 17 starters returning, including potential Heisman Trophy contender Collin Klein and all-conference linebacker Arthur Brown. With so much experience coming back, it’s only natural to expect improvement. Others see a roster of overachievers that won most of its 2011 games by razor-thin margins. Eight of K-State’s 10 victories came by a touchdown or less. The Wildcats were also outgained by nearly 58 yards per game. With a harder schedule, can so much good fortune be duplicated? K-State has expectations on its side. The last time it entered a season with high hopes came in 2004, a year removed from a Big 12 championship and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, and it won four games. Bill Snyder doesn’t want to go through that again. But when K-State was considered the underdog in so many games last season, it rode a lack of respect all the way to the Cotton Bowl. Players rallied around the thought of proving doubters wrong. Though the Wildcats begin this season with a national ranking, they can continue to play with that same mindset because they expected more. Of course, attitude will only take K-State so far. The Wildcats are set at linebacker behind Brown and Tre Walker. They also look good at receiver, running back and tight end. And they couldn’t ask for a better leader than Klein. But if they truly want to build on everything they accomplished last

season, they will need to immake the biggest difference. prove in several key areas. K-State likes to control clock by The offensive line needs to be running the ball, and rushed for rebuilt around center B.J. Fin185.5 yards per game behind ney. The defensive line needs Klein last season. But that Meshak Williams and Adam methodical approach led to Davis to turn into every-down pressure-packed moments and players next to whoever tries to injuries for Klein. fill the void left by former defenK-State’s passing attack sive tackle Ray Kibble. And the ranked last in the Big 12, aversecondary needs big plays from aging 151.5 yards. If Klein can someone other than Ty Zimmer- throw for 200 yards a game man and Nigel Malone. this season — with Chris Harper Unproven players such as and Tyler Lockett leading the freshman blocker Cody Whiteway at receiver, that’s a possihair and senior defensive tackle bility — everyone’s job will be Javonta Boyd will need to deliv- easier. er. Asking K-State to win more Klein’s mobility and toughthan half its games by a single ness will help a young offensive score is too much to ask. The line early, but his arm could Big 12 is stronger than it was a

year ago with TCU and West Virginia now in the mix. Playing both on the road won’t be easy. Neither will traditional trips to Oklahoma, Iowa State and Baylor. Even the nonconference schedule is difficult with Miami coming to Snyder Family Stadium on Sept. 8. It’s not a stretch to think K-State could be a better team than a year ago and finish with fewer victories. It’s not crazy to think K-State could win a Big 12 championship, either. The Wildcats are capable of more than they accomplished in 2011. But they will need to follow a different formula to get there.

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4H THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

Weis has ways to go to make Jayhawks relevant in Big 12 ’m not exactly sure how Charlie Weis has retained so much, um, confidence after his failed stint at Notre Dame, but I’m sure glad he has. Weis is the right guy to coach football at Kansas, if for no other reason than he so believes he’s the right guy to coach football at Kansas. Weis and his ego can barely fit into a room, but when they do manage to get in one they certainly take it over. Weis tells it like it is. Or at least he tells it like he thinks it is, which can be pretty convincing. It’s the big coach’s bravado that has Jayhawk fans thinking maybe, just maybe, he’s not so full of it. Yes, Weis hit Lawrence just in time, with the Big 12 undergoing huge changes and with state rival Kansas State beginning to create a lot of distance between the two programs. In Manhattan sits a legendary coach, Bill Snyder, who has none of Weis’ bluster but every bit of the KU coach’s self-assuredness, gleaned from years of dizzying success. Snyder has done it once at Kansas State and he’s doing it again. He’s creating the best sequel since “The Godfather: Part II.’’ Come to think of it, Snyder is a

I

BOB LUTZ COMMENTARY

doesn’t produce, so incentive is high. Even Weis understands that getting to K-State’s level (the Wildcats were 10-3 last season and played in the Cotton Bowl) won’t happen overnight. At least I think he understands that. Weis has rolled up his sleeves and gone to work to make KU respectable again. The bottom fell out of the program during Mangino’s final season in 2009 after he had gone to painstaking measures to make the Jayhawks a 12-1 Orange Bowl winner in 2007. And Gill, who was not ready for such an imposing stage, only made matters worse. So you have K-State, with a proven coach and a bunch of returning Jim Barcus/Kansas City Star starters and a quarterback, Collin Klein, who should be in the Heisman Kansas coach Charlie Weis directs his team during the spring football Trophy discussion but has so far game at Memorial Stadium in April. evaded the daydreams of most of the show to your children. And let’s face big-time media. Godfather, minus the horse head And you have KU, with a coach it — Snyder coaching against Turner and the rest of the blood and guts. who brushes off humility and trudgGill the past couple of years was a Mark Mangino was able to briefly es full steam ahead toward a place complete mismatch. steal the football spotlight away he promises will be satisfying to KU Weis brings a new energy to the from K-State a few years back, but KU-KSU rivalry, which with Missouri fans, who after that brief encounter that was after Snyder had retired with football glory have once again off to get its brains beaten in down and Ron Prince had taken over the turned over their allegiances to south is now the most important Wildcats. Since Snyder returned in 2009, he rivalry for both schools. And that’s as basketball, where they are safe. It’s a tremendous football dynamic has bound and gagged that KU mini- it should be. in a state that has never been able to Weis is gunning for Snyder and uprising and stuffed it into the back Kansas State and we’ll soon find out produce much KU-KSU angst. Many of a trunk. games between the two were played how good he can aim. Playing secSnyder is 15-4 during his career when neither had much of a chance ond fiddle, even to a coach with against Kansas and three of those Snyder’s credentials, isn’t Weis’ style. of winning, except against one andefeats came during his first four other. seasons after taking over a program He’s getting his sequel, too, after Rare have been the times when failing to produce much at Notre that had no hope. K-State not only Kansas and Kansas State were good Dame. This is probably Weis’ last has regularly beaten the Jayhawks, at the same time and it is Weis’ misrodeo as a Division I coach if he but often by scores you wouldn’t

sion to get the Jayhawks to K-State’s level and, he hopes, beyond. That’s one of the great things about Weis — he tackles situations head-on. He knows and respects the job Snyder has done in Manhattan, yet he doesn’t seem fazed. He’s the kind of coach Kansas needed, one not entirely coherent about the challenges of the job he faces. The timing might be perfect for Weis. I assume Snyder won’t coach forever, although I believe Las Vegas is laying down odds. And the tension for K-State fans is thick when it comes to imagining Wildcat football without Snyder. They tried that once, with Prince, and the results were not satisfying. Weis hired what appears to be a top-notch staff of assistants and recruiting has taken an uptick, if you believe what the recruiting experts say and write. He brought in a quarterback, Dayne Crist, who gives the Jayhawks credibility. The former Notre Dame quarterback, a senior, will also have a lot to prove. How many games can Kansas win in 2012? It would be hard to imagine the Jayhawks winning many. Really, all anybody wants to see out of the Jayhawks this season is improvement and a sense that Weis really doesn’t know how to build a winning college football program. Someday, maybe Weis really will take on Snyder. For now, though, the goal should be much less boastful. Reach Bob Lutz at blutz@wichitaeagle.com or at 316-268-6597.

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 5H

Getting a second chance

Jim Barcus/Kansas City Star

Charlie Weis calls plays at his first KU spring game in April. “Charlie’s always been smart,” former Giants assistant Mike Sweatman said. “He’s always been confident, self-assured.”

Jayhawks’ Charlie Weis has always tried to make the most of his opportunities after the season on principle. During his days at Franklin, Weis began a part-time gig breaking down players for the nearby Giants. He was a It is a Sunday morning in New 30-something who was a marginal Jersey in the late 1970s, and a freshfootball player in high school in faced kid is searching through the Middlesex; a sports junkie who had morning newspaper, scanning the to settle for rec competition during classifieds. He sees two job openings: his college days at Notre Dame. But Two high schools need an English his football acumen stood out. A teacher who can also coach football. short while after he left Franklin, he He hasn’t played since high school, received a call from Parcells. but how hard could it be? He picks up And the education won’t stop. Ten a phone and sets up an interview. Two years under Parcells with the Giants, days later, Boonton High School has a Patriots and Jets. Five years under new assistant coach. Belichick in New England as offensive coordinator. LAWRENCE — It is a Monday “Charlie has a good mind,” Crenmorning in Kansas, and Charlie Weis nel says now. “He takes in everyis sitting in his office in the Anderthing.” son Family Football Complex. “Charlie’s always been smart,” says There’s a fridge in the corner, and a Mike Sweatman, a former KU capsmall exercise bike in the middle, tain who was the special-teams and a box with a blow-up mattress a coach on that first staff in New York. few feet away. But the first thing you notice is the Jill Toyoshiba/Kansas City Star “He’s always been confident, selfassured.” view, wide and clear, hanging beKansas coach Charlie Weis signs autographs for the Clopton siblings of Specifically, Weis says now, he yond Weis’ right shoulder. Memorial Lawrence earlier this month. He begins his first KU season with a team learned two things. From Parcells, Stadium sits empty under blue skies, picked to finish last in the Big 12. he learned how to push buttons, to and the neighborhoods that stretch motivate. From Belichick, he’s find his voice as a coach. And then of the perception that he must have toward the Kansas River are mostly learned how to start over — or at came an opportunity: South Carolibeen desperate to be a head coach quiet on this summer day. Weis is na coach Joe Morrison offered him a least, that’s the hope. In the early again. Who else would try to wade the coach of the Kansas Jayhawks — ’90s, before their years in New Ensmall role on his staff. and how strange would those words through the rubble left from two Ellis, South Carolina’s quarterback gland, Belichick coached the Cleveyears of Turner Gill? have sounded five years ago? at the time, remembers Weis during land Browns and failed. Weis says this is about turning “I’m entrenched in here,” Weis will “Everyone thought he was a horsaround a program, about giving the those early days. He was older than say, donning his usual attire of grey e’s (rear),” Weis says. “And then he most grad assistants; more focused, fans something to be proud of. But sweats. goes to New England, where he’s too. Many weeks, Ellis says, Weis’ maybe it’s more than that. Three Last December, Kansas athletic only time off would come on Friday going to the Hall of Fame.” years after collapsing at Notre director Sheahon Zenger tapped Weis was there when everything nights, when he and another grad Dame, maybe this is also a second Weis to be the next coach at KU, to clicked the second time. He says he assistant would unwind over wings chance … for him. re-energize a lost program. And for learned by watching, by asking quesfrom a place called D’s. “I’m sure that’s probably on his the last nine months, Weis has be“He was there for serious reasons,” tions. He believes that experience mind,” says Brady Quinn, Weis’ QB gun to lay the foundation. The first will help him now. says Ellis, now a lawyer in South at Notre Dame. “But I think he just steps were simple enough: Bring “Sometimes we coach the way that Carolina. “You could tell that.” back discipline, emphasize academ- wants to win because that’s who he And then there’s the chicken story. we were coached growing up,” says ics, charm the locals with his candid is. He’s a competitor.” Crennel, now coach of the Chiefs, When Weis was a young assistant in Ellis’ parents lived just down the New Jersey tongue. “and sometimes there’s a coach that New York, a pupil of Giants coach Bill road from Columbia, so he would But now the season is approachmade an impression on you.” often bring teammates over for dining, the games will begin, and Weis’ Parcells, he would sometimes work It is the summer of 2002, and Weis ner. Weis told Ellis’ parents that he until close to 11 p.m. The building real test is looming in the distance. is dying in a hospital bed. He’s unhad to let him cook dinner. Wait would be empty. And Weis would In a few moments, Weis will offer a dergone gastric bypass surgery — a until you taste this chicken. Finally, begin to pack up his things. Then window into his plan, a glimpse of procedure to help him control his the Ellis parents relented. Parcells would appear, seeing this why this partnership can work. But weight and health — but the operation “I am telling you,” Ellis says, “he young assistant with his coat on. before you can see the plan, you made the most (gosh)-awful mess in has gone horribly wrong. He’s suffered “Another early night, huh?” Weis have to understand the man sitting from internal bleeding, and a Catholic a person’s kitchen that you could would hear. in the corner chair. priest will administer his last rites. “And then he’d walk out,” Weis says, ever see. But it was damn-good In more than three decades on the Something changed. That’s the chicken.” sideline, Weis has been a high school “knowing that I’d take my coat off, It is Weis’ first year in the NFL, and way Weis puts it. A few months after thinking there was something else I coach who split time guiding the nearly dying, Weis sat with his wife, Parcells is conducting a meeting. could do. He knew what button to fencing club … and a 30-something Maura. NFL assistant who collected a Super push. And he’d press it, and he’d press Parcells asks a question, and Romeo “You know,” Weis remembers his Crennel, then a Giants defensive assisit, and he’d press it.” Bowl ring in his first season. He has wife saying, “you could have died tant, watches as the young assistant Weis would not stop raving about been an offensive mastermind, the and we never would have done any opens his mouth. Parcells looks at his skills. He said he was the best, man who helped make Tom Brady into a future Hall of Famer … and he that nobody could do it like him. He Weis and matter-of-factly tells him to good for anyone other than ourjust needed an opportunity to prove keep his mouth shut. “He was quickly selves.” has been a washout at his alma maWeis looked in the mirror. He it. So he begged Todd Ellis’ parents: told,” Crennel says, ‘Hey, what do you ter, run out of Notre Dame in 2009 didn’t like what he saw. He was a know? You’re just a rookie.’ ” Except You have to let me cook you chickafter a 35-27 record. classic one-upper, a story-topper. If those weren’t the exact words. No, en. He has been called arrogant and you had a story, he had a better one. They were much worse.” It is the mid-1980s, and Weis is a honest, stubborn and smart, and “I rode across the Delaware (RivCrennel remembers the young lowly graduate assistant at South also spent the last decade of his life er) before George Washington,” assistant who wanted to adapt. It is Carolina. For the better part of five on a family mission to raise money Weis says. “I was that guy.” 1990, and Parcells’ Giants staff is years, he had worked as a high and awareness for special-needs Soon after, Weis says, the family filled with the league’s future minds: school assistant in New Jersey. He children. started “Hannah and Friends,” an was an English teacher, and on occa- Crennel, Bill Belichick, Tom Cough“I’ve gotten in more trouble by organization to raise the quality of lin, Al Groh … and a 34-year-old sion, he’d moonlight as a fencing telling the truth,” Weis says, “than life for children with special needs. from Middlesex, N.J. coach or spend a year coaching most people get for not telling the The year before, Weis had coached The investment was personal; Weis’ junior varsity basketball. Those early truth.” daughter, Hannah, was born with Weis, 56, has heard the theory that years were about learning, and even Franklin High to a New Jersey state Electrical Status Epilepticus of slowtitle. But school administrators had though Weis spent his college days his KU move was a money grab, a wave sleep, a rare seizure disorder. changed some details about his critiquing Notre Dame’s play-calls chance to collect a few more milA few years later, in late 2004, teaching job, and Weis walked out from the stands, he still needed to lions before retirement. He’s aware BY RUSTIN DODD The Wichita Eagle

Weis became the coach at Notre Dame. South Bend, Ind., would become headquarters for “Hannah and Friends,” and success would come quickly. With Quinn at quarterback, the Irish played in two straight BCS bowl games. In the middle of that first season, Weis signed a new, 10-year deal worth more than $30 million. The fall, however, would be devastating. Notre Dame finished 3-9 in 2007 and 16-21 over Weis’ last three years. By the end of the 2009 season, he was done. To this day, Weis says the slide was due, in part, to “three really crappy years” of recruiting. Two before he got there; one on his watch. And even Weis couldn’t scheme his way out. Weis has a question. There are five reporters sitting in front of him, and he’s talking about his long-held reputation as an ego-driven wise guy. He’s aware of the image, maybe even a little self-conscious. And he wants to know: How often to fans assume the worst? “How many times do you guys get it?” He asks the room. “How much of a (jerk) is he? How many times have you been asked that question? C’mon … Tell me!” The players who know him say he hasn’t changed. They say he never changes. KU senior quarterback Dayne Crist and senior tight end Mike Ragone met Weis as juniors in high school. They signed on at Notre Dame, hoping to build something special. And then Weis was fired. Now they’re at KU, one more chance to get things right. “He knows how to break you down,” Ragone says, “But he also knows how to build you back up.” Maybe this is what KU needed. A coach with enough brash confidence to believe he can win at a place like Kansas … and a man with a built-in belief that he needs to. Maybe winning a few games at Kansas will provide a measure of validation for a career that has been built on punishing hours and Jersey attitude. Weis is still sitting in his office, still talking. He’s comfortable in Lawrence, he says. His son, Charlie Jr., a sophomore at KU, is relishing the time working on his dad’s staff. And Maura and Hannah are at home in Florida, the place where Hannah feels most comfortable. An interview that was scheduled for an hour will stretch well past two, and Weis looks as if he has the stamina to keep going. The football field is still empty, but Weis is already imagining what it could look like: Sunny Saturday in Lawrence. Stadium is packed. Band is playing the fight song. And Weis’ boys are on the field, a true college football scene in Lawrence. “What bigger statement would it be than to come into a team that’s 2-10 and walk out of here a perennial winning football team?” Weis asks. “I mean, what more can you ask for? That’s really what I intend to do.”


6H THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

A LOOK AT KANSAS’ SCHEDULE SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 6 p.m. Sept. 1 at Lawrence Series: KU, 1-0 Jayhawks won the first meeting 86-6 — in 1947. And no, Turner Gill’s opener was a loss to NORTH Dakota State.

RICE 2:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at Lawrence Series: KU, 1-0 First meeting since the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl, won by KU 33-7. Owls coach David Bailiff is 8-26 since a 2008 Texas Bowl win.

TCU 11 a.m. Sept. 15 at Lawrence Series: TCU, 16-8-4 Frogs coach Gary Patterson is in his 13th season as a head coach, but this will be the Rozel native’s first game against a team from his home state.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS Sept. 22 at DeKalb, Ill. Series: Tied, 1-1 Huskies are picked to finish second in the Western Division of the Mid-American Conference.

KANSAS STATE Oct. 6 at Manhattan Series: KU, 65-39-5 K-State has put up 59 points in this game the past two years. KU’s Charlie Weis means this game when he says the Jayhawks have to be more competitive in games.

OKLAHOMA STATE Oct. 13 at Lawrence Series: OSU, 30-29-3 Jayhawks have lost 7 of 8 to the Cowboys, including last year’s 70-28 embarrassment in Stillwater.

OKLAHOMA Oct. 20 at Norman, Okla. Series: OU, 69-27-6 Third of four Murderer’s Row games for Jayhawks. KU hasn’t beaten the Sooners since third of three straight wins in 1997.

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Quandre Diggs, left, and the Texas Longhorns enter the season ranked No. 15.

TEXAS Oct. 27 at Lawrence Series: UT, 9-2 Texas is 8-0 against KU during the Big 12 era, with only one game — the 2004 Mangino post-game tirade moment — being close.

BAYLOR

Jim Barcus/McClatchy-Tribune

Dayne Crist, left, visits with coach Charlie Weis on the sideline during April’s spring game in Lawrence.

Nov. 3 at Waco, Texas Series: BU, 7-4 KU is 0-5 at Casey Stadium in Waco, and Baylor had losing seasons in four of those five years.

TEXAS TECH Nov. 10 at Lubbock, Texas Series: Tech, 12-1 How hot will the water be for Tommy Tuberville by the time the Jayhawks hit Lubbock for what may be a battle for the bottom of the Big 12?

IOWA STATE Nov. 17 at Lawrence Series: KU, 49-36-6 Gill was 0-2 against the Cyclones after Mangino’s teams had beaten ISU five straight. But it’s senior day for Dayne Crist!

WEST VIRGINIA Dec. 1 at Morgantown, W.Va. Series: WVU, 1-0 The only meeting between these two schools was a month before the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Now they end a league schedule together. Crazy conference.

RUSTIN DODD BREAKS DOWN THE JAYHAWKS Before the first spring practice — back in the final week of March — Kansas football coach Charlie Weis boiled down the Jayhawks’ 2012 season to two essential questions. Can the defense stop anybody? And how good is senior transfer quarterback Dayne Crist? Nearly five months later, as Weis and the Jayhawks begin their first season together, it’s really no secret: Weis was on to something. Even in retrospect, the numbers from Turner Gill’s two-season tenure are startling. The Jayhawks finished 5-19 over the last two years — 2-10 in 2011 — and haven’t won a Big 12 game since completing an improbable comeback against Colorado on Nov. 6, 2010. So that was the bad. Now the ugly: Kansas ranked dead last in total defense among Bowl Subdivision teams in 2011, surrendering more than 516

yards per game. Put it this way: There’s plenty of room for growth. The program facelift began with Crist, the transfer from Notre Dame who assumed a role as captain just a few months after arriving on campus. For the first time since QB Todd Reesing was a senior in 2009, the Jayhawks will have an unquestioned leader under center — and a quarterback that has a mastery of the offensive system. Crist should have a capable veteran group of receivers to throw to — senior Daymond Patterson is back after missing last season with injury — and sophomore running back Tony Pierson is a big-play threat on a team that has a scarcity of elite speed. And don’t forget about junior running back James Sims, who will miss the first three games while serving a suspension. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, should be dramatically more

stable on the defensive line; transfers Josh Williams, Jordan Tavai and Keon Stowers provide size and athleticism, and juniors John Williams and Keba Agostinho have both put on weight while cutting body fat during the offseason. An improved front four (or three) could provide a positive trickle-down effect to the linebackers and secondary. But what will it mean on the field? KU would do well to build some momentum in early September with victories over South Dakota State and Rice in the first two weeks, because it will not get any easier after that. TCU travels to Lawrence on Sept. 15 for its inaugural Big 12 game, and the Jayhawks head on the road to face a dangerous Northern Illinois program on Sept. 22. If KU can find a way to split those two games, the Jayhawks will be 3-1 and Weis will have an open week to prepare for K-State in Manhattan

on Oct. 6. And then? A threeweek stretch of (gulp) Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas. This, of course, is life in the Big 12. And it will make Weis’ rebuilding job even tougher. For now, Weis says he may not measure KU’s improvement this season in wins and losses. But he does have a goal for victories — a number that he’s keeping to himself. For Weis, one of the most discouraging trends from 2011 was the number of blowouts. And this will be Weis’ first mission: Make the Jayhawks competitive. Based on early indications, it appears the Jayhawks are on the right path. But will that path include more than three or four victories? Even Weis must be wondering that. Check Rustin Dodd’s Jayhawk Dispatch blog at blogs.kansas.com/jayhawks. Reach him at rdodd@wichitaeagle.com.


WWW.KANSAS.COM

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 â–  THE WICHITA EAGLE 7H

Jones gets last shot at title for Sooners The offense was never the same after Ryan Broyles went down with an injury, and receivers dropped passes left If he wanted, Landry Jones and right. Bell also probably could be in the NFL right got too much credit for scornow preparing for his next ing 11 touchdowns as runpreseason game. He could ning quarterback in the red have a million-dollar contract zone. and throw to the game’s best This season, Jones will receivers. Jones Bell need to adjust to a new But that’s not what Jones group of receivers and learn beat in the Big 12. wants. Not yet, anyway. to throw in front of an inOU coach Bob Stoops is so Instead of entering the NFL jured offensive line. Senior optimistic that the couldn’t Draft as a junior, where he guard Tyler Evans has althink of anything to tell almost certainly would have ready been ruled out for the Jones to work on in the offbeen a first-round pick, the year. Dominique Whaley can Oklahoma quarterback decid- season and refuses to toy help Jones out tremendously with the idea of handing ed to come back to college more playing time to backup on offense. The running back for his final year. showed flashes of brilliance “I wanted to accomplish the Blake Bell of Wichita. “I didn’t ask him to have to last season before suffering a goals I set for myself before improve on anything,� Stoops season-ending ankle injury coming here,� Jones said. against Kansas State. If he For now, he wants another said. “I asked about 10 guys provides a steady rushing around him, they needed to shot at a Big 12 champigame, Jones’ job will be that onship and one last chance at improve.� much easier. Some blamed Jones for a national championship. And then there is OklahoOklahoma certainly has the Oklahoma’s poor play near ma’s defense, which may the end of last season. He talent to accomplish both need to make the most imgoals. Jones already owns 13 turned the ball over in a provement of any unit. In surprising loss to Texas Tech school passing records, and will be one of the nation’s top and couldn’t do enough to lift their three losses last year, the Sooners allowed an averthe Sooners to wins against passers this season. Surage of 43 points. Mike Stoops Baylor and Oklahoma State. rounded by 12 other returnis back as defensive coordinaJones deserved some criting starters, the Sooners once tor to help lead the charge. icism, but certainly not all. again look like the team to

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8H THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

Cowboys build on success Cowboys have played in the Cotton Bowl, Alamo Bowl and won a Big 12 championship. Last season, they just missed out on playing in the BCS championship game but won BY KELLIS ROBINETT the Fiesta Bowl. The Wichita Eagle Behind Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, OklahoOklahoma State senior dema State had arguably the fensive lineman Cooper Bassett appreciates everything the most explosive offense in the country and came within a Cowboys accomplished last season more than any current double-overtime loss to Iowa State of a perfect season. member of the football team. The defensive lineman grew Without question, it was the up watching Oklahoma State, best season in school history. The question now: Can the and remembers few opportuCowboys build on it without nities to celebrate. their two best players? “I’ve been through all the “Of course we can,” Bassett 3-8 seasons,” Bassett said. said. “We’ve come this far. “What we’ve done since I got Now we want to keep going. here is a lot better.” We don’t want to be known as That is a massive undera defending champion. We statement. In Oklahoma State’s past three seasons, the want to be known as a repeat

■ OSU still has weapons after loss of Weeden, Blackmon.

champion.” Confidence aside, it won’t be easy for Oklahoma State to contend for another conference title. Oklahoma is a better all-around team, Texas is improving, Kansas State returns 17 starters and TCU and West Virginia will be ready to made debut impacts. The Cowboys face an uphill climb. But with Wichita Southeast product Joseph Randle returning at running back and young talent beginning to emerge on defense, Oklahoma State could factor into the mix with a few good breaks. “There’s always a lot of talk about losing players that have really done well at Oklahoma State,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “But one thing that we look forward to as coaches

is an opportunity to start to develop and watch young people grow.” Wes Lunt will need to develop more than anyone else. The freshman is expected to replace Weeden at quarterback, and for a team that relies on its offense to average 40 points, he won’t have much room for error. He will be able to lean on Randle, who scored 26 touchdowns a year ago, in the rushing game, but the Cowboys can only go so far as a run-oriented team. But Oklahoma State isn’t lowering its expectations because of a few departed players and a difficult schedule. It has come too far from Bassett’s early days to do that. Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press “Right now we’re Big 12 Oklahoma State quarterback Wes Lunt throws during the champs,” Randle said. “Hope- Cowboys’ spring game in April. Lunt takes over for Brandon fully we can do it again.” Weeden this season.

THE BIG 12 Kellis Robinett looks at the conference, in predicted order of finish

1. West Virginia Projected record: 11-1, 8-1 Big 12 2011: 10-3 Overview: West Virginia has the talent and offensive firepower to win the Big 12 in its debut season. Geno Smith should be a Heisman contender at quarterback, and coach Dana Holgorson knows the Big 12 well after working in the league for many seasons as a coordinator. Key player: Dustin Garrison. You can’t throw the ball on every down, no matter how good your quarterback is. West Virginia will need Garrison to deliver at running back and maybe even produce a 1,000-yard season. Come December: The Big 12 championship might come down to Oklahoma and West Virginia. The Mountaineers get the Sooners at home, so that could give them an advantage. But West Virginia is known to lose a few games it shouldn’t. Last year it lost to Syracuse and Louisville. It can’t give away games like that in the Big 12. Schedule W/L Sat., Marshall W S15, JMU (at Landover, Md.) W S22, Maryland W S29, Baylor W O6, at Texas W O13, at Texas Tech W O20, Kansas State W N3, TCU W N10, at Oklahoma State L N17, Oklahoma W N23, at Iowa State W D1, Kansas W

T3. Kansas State

T3. Texas

7. Baylor

T8. Kansas

Projected record: 9-3, 6-3 2011: 10-3 Overview: Collin Klein returns to lead the offense and Arthur Brown is back to command the defense. Along with 15 other returning starters, KState is in position to build on what it accomplished last season. The additions of West Virginia and TCU make the schedule harder, though. The Wildcats could be a better team this season and win fewer games. Key player: Klein. There is no better leader in the Big 12, but there are several better passers. In order for Klein to stay healthy and for K-State’s offense to move more efficiently this season, he will need to throw the ball much more efficiently. Come December: K-State will land in an upper-tier bowl game, it’s simply a question of which one. If Klein develops as a passer and the Wildcats’ secondary improves, K-State will challenge for a Big 12 title. If not, it will have to settle for eight or nine victories. W/L Schedule W Sat., Missouri State S8, Miami (Fla.) W S15, North Texas W S22, at Oklahoma L O6, Kansas W O13, at Iowa State W O20, at West Virginia L O27, Texas Tech W N3, Oklahoma State W N10, at TCU L N17, at Baylor W D1, Texas W

Projected record: 9-3, 6-3 2011: 8-5 Overview: Texas is closer to returning to the upper tier of college football than it has been the past few years, but it will need major improvements from David Ash or Case McCoy if the Longhorns hope to challenge for a BCS bowl game. Their defense could be the Big 12’s best, and their running game is improving. But without a passing game, that won’t be enough. Key player: Ash or McCoy. The last time Texas was considered an elite team, it had an elite quarterback in Colt McCoy. The Longhorns need another high-level passer to get them back to the top. Whoever wins the starting job will need to play exceptionally well for the Horns to have a Big 12 shot. Come December: Oklahoma and West Virginia have too much offense for the Longhorns, and Kansas State has had their number lately. Unless Texas pulls a few upsets, it is looking at another single-digit win season. W/L Schedule Sat., Wyoming W S8, New Mexico W S15, at Mississippi W S29, at Oklahoma State W O6, West Virginia L O13, Oklahoma (at Dallas) L O20, Baylor W O27, at Kansas W N3, at Texas Tech W N10, Iowa State W N24, TCU W D1, at Kansas State L

Projected record: 6-6, 3-6 2011: 10-3 Overview: How do you replace a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback? There are powerhouse programs across the country that know exactly how to answer that question, and have the recruiting power to replace any player. But at Baylor, that is not the case. The Bears will be a different team without Robert Griffin III. No question about that. Duplicating last season’s success seems like a long shot. But Art Briles brings back enough talent to get the Bears to another bowl game. Key player: Nick Florence. Meet the man who will follow Griffin III at quarterback. The most extensive playing time he saw last season came against Texas Tech, when he torched the Red Raiders while Griffin III recovered from an injury. He’s a different type of player, but he has a strong arm. Come December: The Bears will be a middle-of-the-pack team. Beating Oklahoma and Texas again seems unlikely. But Baylor will have a shot in most of its games. Expect a low-level bowl game. Schedule W/L Sun., SMU W S15, Sam Houston State W S21, at La.-Monroe W S29, at West Virginia L O13, TCU L O20, at Texas L O27, at Iowa State W N3, Kansas W N10, at Oklahoma L N17, Kansas State L N24, Texas Tech W D1, Oklahoma State L

Projected record: 4-8, 1-8 2011: 2-10 Overview: Everything is new at Kansas this season. Charlie Weis is the new coach. Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist is the new quarterback. Competitive games are the new expectation. It will take more than that to get the Jayhawks into bowl contention against a difficult schedule, but it should be enough to put an end to the blowout losses of last season. Key player: Crist. The senior transfer came to Kansas to play just one season. He will need to perform exceptionally well to impress NFL scouts and lead the Jayhawks to victories. He knows Weis’ offense well. His leadership skills could be the difference in a few games. Come December: Kansas doesn’t have any legitimate bowl hopes, but if it can beat Iowa State or Texas Tech in November the Jayhawks will have something to build on heading into 2013. W/L Schedule W Sat., South Dakota State W S8, Rice S15, TCU L S22, at Northern Illinois W O6, at Kansas State L O13, Oklahoma State L O20, at Oklahoma L O27, Texas L N3, at Baylor L N10, at Texas Tech L N17, Iowa State W D1, at West Virginia L

T8. Texas Tech

T3. Oklahoma State 2. Oklahoma Projected record: 10-2, 7-2 2011: 10-3 Overview: Landry Jones returns and so does a strong defense, but will that be enough for Oklahoma to reclaim its spot on top of the Big 12 standings? The Sooners fell apart in a home loss to Texas Tech last year, and stumbled to two more losses before landing in the Insight Bowl. They will need help from their running game if they want to avoid a similar collapse against a back-loaded schedule in 2012. Key player: Dominique Whaley. The running back became a playmaker in Oklahoma’s offense before suffering a season-ending injury against Kansas State. If he can build on that now that he is healthy, Oklahoma’s offense will be much more versatile. Come December: Late games against West Virginia, Oklahoma State and TCU will decide Oklahoma’s fate. The Mountaineers and Horned Frogs will be tough on the road, and Oklahoma State clobbered the Sooners last year. Those three games could put Oklahoma anywhere from a mid-level bowl to the BCS championship game. Schedule W/L Sat., at UTEP W S8, Florida A&M W S22, Kansas State W O6, at Texas Tech W O13, Texas (at Dallas) W O20, Kansas W O27, Notre Dame W N3, at Iowa State W N10, Baylor W N17, at West Virginia L N24, Oklahoma State W D1, at TCU L

Projected record: 9-3, 6-3 2011: 12-1 Overview: Replacing Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon won’t be easy. Last year, they were the nation’s top quarterback/receiver duo and took Oklahoma State to within a win of the BCS championship game. Ultimately, the Cowboys rebounded from a late loss at Iowa State to win the Fiesta Bowl. A repeat performance might be too much to ask. Oklahoma State has a below-average defense, and teams will be able to focus on Wichita running back Joseph Randle without a world-class passing game surrounding him. Key player: Randle. If Oklahoma State hopes to contend for a Big 12 championship, it will need a huge season from its running back. Randle scored 26 touchdowns last season. He will need to do the same, this time as the focal point of the offense. Come December: Oklahoma State’s offense will give it a chance in every game, but its defense isn’t strong enough to expect more than a mid-level bowl game. Schedule W/L Sat., Savannah State W S8, at Arizona W S15, La.-Lafayette W S29, Texas L O13, at Kansas W O20, Iowa State W O27, TCU W N3, at Kansas State L N10, West Virginia W N17, Texas Tech W N24, at Oklahoma L D1, at Baylor W

T3. TCU Projected record: 9-3, 6-3 2011: 11-2 Overview: Finally, we get to see what the Horned Frogs can do in a major conference. After years of wondering how TCU measured up to the rest of the nation when it was winning the Mountain West, it is back with its regional rivals in the Big 12. With Casey Pachall returning at quarterback and a stout defense coming back, TCU could fare well in its new league. Key player: Kenny Cain. He led TCU in tackles a year ago, but the linebacker will be tested in the Big 12. Unlike past seasons, when highpowered offense were rarely on the schedule, he will need to play well every week. Come December: Expect TCU to be in the mix for a conference championship until it hits the roads for games against Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Texas. Schedule W/L S8, Grambling State W S15, at Kansas W S22, Virginia W S29, at SMU W O6, Iowa State W O13, at Baylor W O20, Texas Tech W O27, at Oklahoma State L N3, at West Virginia L N10, Kansas State W N24, at Texas L D1, Oklahoma W

T8. Iowa State Projected record: 3-9, 1-8 2011: 6-7 Overview: Iowa State has overachieved in its first three seasons under Paul Rhoads, but this might be the year the Cyclones fail to challenge for a bowl game. A difficult schedule leaves little room for error, and big-name opponents such as Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma State will be ready for them after losses in past seasons. Key player: A.J. Klein. He gives Iowa State one of the top linebacker duos in the conference along with Jake Knott. But he will need to have his best season. The Cyclones’ offense isn’t strong enough to win shootouts in the Big 12. Come December: Rhoads is such a good coach that Iowa State will be in the majority of games. Whether it can pull out toss-up games against Baylor, Kansas and Texas Tech will determine their postseason chances. Win all three, and another bowl trip is possible. Lose all three and Iowa State is looking at a three-win season. Schedule W/L Sat., Tulsa W S8, at Iowa L S15, Western Illinois W S29, Texas Tech W O6, at TCU L O13, Kansas State L O20, at Oklahoma State L O27, Baylor L N3, Oklahoma L N10, at Texas L N17, at Kansas L N23, West Virginia L

Projected record: 4-8, 1-8 2011: 5-7 Overview: Texas Tech has taken a step back in each of Tommy Tuberville’s first two seasons. That trend could easily continue in year No. 3. Though Tuberville has good incoming talent, the Red Raiders aren’t ready to return to their high-flying days under Mike Leach. Texas Tech lost its last five games a year ago after upsetting Oklahoma on the road. The conference schedule only gets tougher this time around. Key player: At Big 12 media days in Dallas, Tuberville described the Big 12 as “a points league.” But Texas Tech will need an improved defense to win this season. That starts with Cody Davis, who was the team’s leading tackler a year ago. Come December: With an easy nonconference slate and a home game against Kansas, Texas Tech will only need to squeeze out two more wins to become bowl eligible. But it will take a few upsets to avoid another losing season. Schedule W/L Sat., Northwestern State W S8, at Texas State W S15, New Mexico W S29, at Iowa State L O6, Oklahoma L O13, West Virginia L O20, at TCU L O27, at Kansas State L N3, Texas L N10, Kansas W N17, at Oklahoma State L N24, at Baylor L


WWW.KANSAS.COM

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 9H

EVOLUTION OF A CONFERENCE

BIG EIGHT CONFERENCE

SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE First Year: 1915 Original members: Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma A&M, Rice, Texas, Texas A&M Timeline 1918: SMU admitted 1920: Oklahoma withdraws 1923: TCU admitted 1925: Oklahoma A&M withdraws 1960: Texas Tech admitted 1976: Houston admitted 1992: Arkansas withdraws to join SEC 1996: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor withdraw to join new Big 12 Conference

BIG 12 CONFERENCE

First Year: 1907 (originally called Missouri Valley ... Big 6 ... Big 7 ... Big 8) Original members: Nebraska, Iowa*, Kansas, Missouri, Washington (Mo.) * Iowa held dual membership in Big Ten Timeline 1908: Drake and Iowa State admitted 1913: Kansas State admitted 1919: Grinnell admitted 1920: Oklahoma admitted 1919-20: Nebraska withdraws to become independent 1921: Nebraska re-admitted 1925: Oklahoma A&M admitted

First Year: 1996 Original members: Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech

1928: Conference splits. Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma break away to form Big Six 1948: Colorado admitted (Big Seven is new name) 1960: Oklahoma State (formerly A&M) re-admitted (Big Eight is new name — officially changed in 1964) 1996: Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State join new Big 12 Conference

Timeline 2011: Nebraska withdraws to join Big Ten 2011: Colorado withdraws to join Pac-10 2012: Missouri withdraws to join SEC 2012: Texas A&M withdraws to join SEC 2012: TCU admitted (from Mountain West) 2012: West Virginia admitted (from Big East)

BIG 12 SCHEDULE BAYLOR

IOWA ST.

Week

Iowa State Baylor 888-478-2925 254-710-1000 baylorbears.com cyclones.com

Sept. 1

SMU Tulsa 5:30 p.m. Sept. 2 2:30 p.m. at Iowa 2:30 p.m. Sam Houston St. Western Illinois 6 p.m. 7 p.m. at La.-Monroe 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at West Virginia Texas Tech TBA TBA at TCU TBA TCU Kansas St. TBA TBA at Texas at Oklahoma St. TBA TBA at Iowa St. Baylor TBA TBA Kansas Oklahoma TBA TBA at Oklahoma at Texas TBA TBA Kansas St. at Kansas TBA TBA Texas Tech West Virginia TBA, Arlington 2:30 p.m., Nov. 23 Oklahoma St. TBA

Sept. 8 Sept 15 Sept. 22 Sept. 29 Oct. 6 Oct. 13 Oct. 20 Oct. 27 Nov. 3 Nov. 10 Nov. 17 Nov. 24 Dec. 1

KANSAS

KANSAS ST.

OKLAHOMA OKLAHOMA ST.

Oklahoma Kansas State 800-456-4668 800-221-2287 kstatesports.com soonersports.com South Dakota St. Missouri St. at UTEP 6 p.m. 6 p.m. 9:30 p.m. Rice Miami Florida A&M 2:30 p.m. 11 a.m. 6 p.m. TCU North Texas 11 a.m. 6 p.m. at Northern Illinois at Oklahoma Kansas St. TBA 6:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m. Kansas 800-344-2957 kuathletics.com

Oklahoma St 877-255-4678 okstate.com Savannah St. 6 p.m. at Arizona 9:30 p.m. La.-Lafayette 11 a.m.

Texas 6:30 p.m. at Kansas St. TBA Oklahoma St. TBA at Oklahoma TBA Texas TBA at Baylor TBA at Texas Tech TBA Iowa St. TBA

at West Virginia TBA

Kansas TBA at Iowa St. TBA at West Virginia TBA Texas Tech TBA Oklahoma St. TBA at TCU TBA at Baylor TBA

Texas TBA

at Texas Tech TBA Texas TBA, Dallas Kansas TBA Notre Dame TBA at Iowa St. TBA Baylor TBA at West Virginia TBA Oklahoma St. TBA at TCU TBA

at Kansas TBA Iowa St. TBA TCU TBA at Kansas St. TBA West Virginia TBA Texas Tech TBA at Oklahoma TBA at Baylor TBA

TCU

TEXAS

TEXAS TECH WEST VIRGINIA

Texas 800-982-2386 texasports.com

Texas Tech 888-462-4412 texastech.com

West Virginia 800-988-4263 wvusports.com

Northwestern St. 6 p.m. at Texas St. 6 p.m. New Mexico 6 p.m.

Marshall 11 a.m.

Grambling St. 6 p.m. at Kansas 11 a.m. Virginia TBA at SMU TBA Iowa St. TBA at Baylor TBA Texas Tech TBA at Oklahoma St. TBA at West Virginia TBA Kansas St. TBA

Wyoming 7 p.m. New Mexico 7 p.m. at Mississippi 8:15 p.m.

at Oklahoma St. 6:30 p.m. West Virginia TBA Oklahoma TBA, Dallas Baylor TBA at Kansas TBA at Texas Tech TBA Iowa St. TBA

at Texas TBA Oklahoma TBA

TCU TBA at Kansas St. TBA

at Iowa St. TBA Oklahoma TBA West Virginia TBA at TCU TBA at Kansas St. TBA Texas TBA Kansas TBA at Oklahoma St. TBA Baylor TBA, Arlington

TCU 817-257-3764 gofrogs.com

James Madison 3:30 p.m. Maryland TBA Baylor TBA at Texas TBA at Texas Tech TBA Kansas St. TBA

TCU TBA at Oklahoma St. TBA Oklahoma TBA at Iowa St. 2:30 p.m., Nov. 23 Kansas TBA

Smith makes West Virginia immediate Big 12 contender BY JOHN RABY Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For quarterback Geno Smith, the temptation might be to watch West Virginia’s pounding of Clemson in the Orange Bowl over and over. The prolific passer is doing quite the opposite in preparing for the Mountaineers’ debut season in the Big 12. Smith knows he wasn’t perfect last season. There were extended periods when he generated little offense, times when he held onto the ball too long, or fumbled it away. There were costly interceptions in losses to LSU and Syracuse. "I made poor decisions in a lot of situations," Smith said. "That’s really where I’ve improved the most, my decision making and being able to get

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith throws the ball during the second half of the Orange Bowl against Clemson on Jan. 4 in Miami. West Virginia defeated Clemson 70-33. us in and out of good plays, taking care of the ball a little bit more and just overall being a better quarterback." Entering his third season as the starter, the senior is up to 225 pounds after adding 10

pounds of muscle during the offseason and he has immersed himself in video study to be better prepared. In that 70-33 win over Clemson, Smith completed 31 of 42 passes for 401 yards, tied the

record for any bowl game with six touchdown passes and also ran for another score. That after a regular season in which he set multiple school records in throwing for 4,385 yards and 31 TDs as the Mountaineers finished 10-3. Next up is the transition from the Big East to the Big 12, where West Virginia is expected to compete for a title right away. "I think we’re excited, but I think we’re going about business as usual," Smith said. "We’re going to make sure we focus in and don’t leave any stones unturned this season because we believe we have a shot at the national title." With the change in leagues comes concern about how West Virginia will handle the longer travel to away games and playing three games in the potential heat of Oklahoma and Texas. In

the past, some road Big East trips were done by bus. Not anymore. The Mountaineers’ shortest trip to a Big 12 school is 870 miles one way to play Iowa State. Two coaches with plenty of Big 12 experience will help ease the transition. Before taking over at West Virginia last year, coach Dana Holgorsen spent eight years as an assistant at Texas Tech and the 2010 season as Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator, while new Mountaineers defensive coordinator Joe DeForest was with the Cowboys for the past 10 years. While West Virginia will bring one of the conference’s most potent passing attacks, the defense is in transition. With the hiring of DeForest, linebackers coach Keith Patterson and defensive line coach Erik Slaughter came a switch

from the unique 3-3-5 stack defense to a 3-4 scheme that relies on movement and creating confusion for opposing offenses. "We are trying to develop a mindset," Patterson said. "It is like building a house. You have to build the foundation, and that is really all we did during the spring. They are starting to understand the scheme a bit more, and we are trying to give them things that are a little more complex." The defense lost sack specialist Bruce Irvin along with four of the top seven tacklers from the unit that ranked next-to-last in the Big East in points allowed and last in rushing yards allowed. Defensive end Tyler Anderson and safety Karl Joseph could get their first starts, while Terence Garvin, who is coming off knee surgery, moves from strong safety to a linebacker spot.


10H THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

MARQUEE MATCHUPS More big-name programs are signing up to play high-profile nonconference games. Boise State at Michigan State, Friday Year after year, Boise State has to prove it belongs with college football’s elite. The Broncos haven’t been afraid to take on teams such as Georgia and Virginia Tech. This year, Boise State will have to get past Michigan State. Michigan vs. Alabama at Arlington, Texas, Saturday It doesn’t get much bigger than this year’s Cowboys Classic at Cowboys Stadium: Defending champion Alabama goes against Big Ten power Michigan. This game is in the first week, but the result could impact the title hopes of both. Auburn vs. Clemson at Atlanta, Saturday Not to be outdone by in-state rival Alabama, Auburn signed up for a big-time opening week game, too. California at Ohio State, Sept. 15 Is Ohio State back with Urban Meyer coaching? This matchup against Cal will give us a glimpse at how the Buckeyes will look under Meyer, who is expected to help Ohio State return to the top. Miami vs. Notre Dame at Chicago, Oct. 6 It’s not exactly the “Catholics vs. Convicts” clash of 1988, when No. 1 Miami lost to No. 4 Notre Dame 31-30, a game that propelled the Irish to a national championship. But this rematch at Soldier Field should fire up both fan bases. Notre Dame at Oklahoma, Oct. 27 Notre Dame has been trying to climb back into the BCS mix, and playing the Sooners on the road is a big risk. But the game should be entertaining with two of the best programs in history.

AP TOP 25 2011 10-2 12-1 13-1 10-3 12-2 10-4 9-4 11-2 11-2 11-2 10-3 11-3 11-3 10-4 8-5 11-3 9-4 6-7 12-1 11-2 11-2 10-3 7-6 12-1 7-6

1. Southern Cal (25) 2. Alabama (17) 3. LSU (16) 4. Oklahoma (1) 5. Oregon 6. Georgia 7. Florida St. 8. Michigan (1) 9. South Carolina 10. Arkansas 11. West Virginia 12. Wisconsin 13. Michigan St. 14. Clemson 15. Texas 16. Virginia Tech 17. Nebraska 18. Ohio St. 19. Oklahoma St. 20. TCU 21. Stanford 22. Kansas St. 23. Florida 24. Boise St. 25. Louisville

Pts Prv 1,445 6 1,411 1 1,402 2 1,286 16 1,274 4 1,107 19 1,093 23 1,000 12 994 9 963 5 856 17 838 10 742 11 615 22 569 NR 548 21 485 24 474 NR 430 3 397 14 383 7 300 15 214 NR 212 8 105 NR

Others receiving votes: Notre Dame 83, Washington 55, Auburn 53, North Carolina 32, Utah 30, Georgia Tech 25, BYU 22, Tennessee 15, South Florida 11, Baylor 9, Texas A&M 5, UCF 4, Cincinnati 3, Missouri 3, N.C. State 3, Houston 1, Louisiana Tech 1, Mississippi St. 1, N. Illinois 1.

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STORYLINES

Around the ACC FLORIDA STATE is heavily favored to win its first Atlantic Coast Conference title in seven years and perhaps challenge for a national championship. Yet the Seminoles have plenty to prove to a fan base that expected more than a 9-4 showing a year ago and no longer fills Florida State’s 83,000-seat stadium on a regular basis. FSU will be led by one of the nation’s top returning defenses (gave up 15 points a game in 2011). CLEMSON has 11 seniors, a suspended star for the opener against Auburn in Atlanta, and plenty of supporters still smoldering over the recordsetting Orange Bowl flop (70 given up) against West Virginia. Dabo Swinney hired longtime Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables to fix the breakdowns. NORTH CAROLINA won’t play in a bowl because of NCAA sanctions. Four starters return to the offensive line for Gio Bernard, who ran for more than 1,200 yards last year to become the first Tar Heel to crack the 1,000-yard mark in a season since 1997. GEORGIA TECH coach Paul Johnson said there’s so much depth on his team, he’s yet to decide on starters at several positions. Senior QB Tevin Washington held off Synjyn Days and Vad Lee to retain his job after a productive spring overseeing Johnson’s triple-option offense.

Around the Big East

Will the SEC rule? The Southeastern Conference has reeled off an unprecedented six consecutive BCS National Championship Game victories. Last season, the outcome wasn’t ever in doubt, as LSU faced Alabama in an all-SEC rematch. Can another conference end the streak? Leading contenders are Oregon and USC from the Pac-12, Oklahoma from the Big 12 and Wisconsin from the Big Ten.

BCS mess Which two teams earn nationalchampionship berths always is a dominant theme, capable of driving conversations from the opening kickoff. Expect more of the same this season, with two more years scheduled under the BCS system. Also expect to hear unending chatter about how the situation will be different in 2014 under a playoff system, and how that system would have affected this year’s outcome.

Shifting landscape Last year, the season’s kickoff was greeted with an onslaught of conference realignment rumors. Texas and Oklahoma were potentially going to the Pac-12, and the Big 12 was in danger of disappearing. Now, the Big 12 again will be under scrutiny, along with new members TCU and West Virginia. Texas A&M and Missouri are now in the SEC, which also will draw attention. The slightest hint of instability in a conference could set off another realignment scramble.

LOUISVILLE coach Charlie Strong has the Cardinals embracing being picked to win the Big East. He could have the makings of a contender, even though Louisville has just nine seniors. NEBRASKA hasn’t won a conference SOUTH FLORIDA was 5-7 last seatitle in 12 years, its longest drought. son and didn’t go to a bowl for the first time in six years. But the Bulls should be Taylor Martinez is going into his third year as starting quarterback, Rex Burkstronger with 15 starters returning. head has been one of the nation’s most productive running backs for two years Around the Big Ten and leading receiver Kenny Bell is comMICHIGAN should have a shot to win ing off a strong finish to 2011. MICHIGAN STATE has won 11 the conference championship for the games in consecutive seasons and first time since 2004 if it can avoid a beaten Michigan four straight times. The five-game losing streak to Michigan State on Oct. 20 at home, beat Nebras- Spartans move on without quarterback ka the next week on the road and close Kirk Cousins, who is in the NFL. the regular season with a second straight victory against Ohio State on Around the Pac-12 the road. WISCONSIN knows that with a pair SOUTHERN CAL has QB Matt Barkof division heavyweights (Ohio State, ley back for his senior year, even though Penn State) facing postseason bans, a he would’ve been a high NFL Draft pick. lot of things would have to go wrong for USC is off NCAA sanctions and begins the Badgers to miss out on another trip as the nation’s No. 1 team. to the Big Ten title game. OREGON shakes off distractions the OHIO STATE begins with coach Urway their playmakers elude defenders — ban Meyer, winner of two national cham- quickly and without looking back. An pionships at Florida, after a one-year NCAA investigation lurks, their coach coaching hiatus as an ESPN analyst. almost jumped to the Tampa Bay BucBanned from postseason by NCAA caneers and an ESPN The Magazine sanctions. article suggested half the team smokes

marijuana. WASHINGTON QB Keith Price threw for a school-record 33 touchdowns and led the Huskies to a second straight bowl appearance, but a 67-56 loss to Baylor in the Alamo Bowl put a damper on the season. The Huskies have one of the toughest schedules in the country. UTAH will have to get by USC in the Pac-12 South, but returns 16 starters from a team that finished 8-5 in its inaugural Pac-12 season, including a 30-27 overtime victory over Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. But gone is offensive coordinator Norm Chow. STANFORD moves forward without QB Andrew Luck and five others in NFL training camps. Left behind is a talented mix of tight ends and running backs, one of the Pac-12’s top defenses and the league’s reigning coach of the year, David Shaw.

Around the SEC ALABAMA faces Michigan in Cowboys Stadium in the opener, some pressure for the defending national champion. The Tide enters the season considered one of the championship frontrunners, seeking to claim a third national title in four years and second straight. LSU deals with the booting of Tyrann Mathieu, but the most important change for the Tigers this season might be the emergence of new starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger. His exceptional ability to throw downfield has been obvious to coaches since his arrival on campus as a junior college transfer last year. ARKANSAS had anything but a normal go of it in the wake of coach Bobby Petrino’s firing in April. Yet expectations haven’t changed for a team whose only losses last season came to national champion Alabama and runner-up LSU. It’s Southeastern Conference championship or bust for Arkansas under John L. Smith. AUBURN doesn’t bear much resemblance to Cam Newton’s version. The huddle is back in style in Auburn. The Tigers fell from 2010’s 14-0 championship season to 8-5 last year. They still don’t have an established quarterback, with Kiehl Frazier and Clint Moseley battling well into preseason camp for the starting nod. SOUTH CAROLINA coach Steve Spurrier has his sights set on bigger things in the Southeastern Conference — maybe Spurrier’s first league crown since 2000 at Florida. The ground attack will be led by junior tailback Marcus Lattimore, who says he’s fully recovered from knee-ligament surgery that cost him the team’s final six games. GEORGIA quarterback Aaron Murray set a school record with 35 touchdown passes last season. Malcolm Mitchell could be a breakout two-way star at cornerback and wide receiver. Georgia returns nine starters from the nation’s fifth-ranked defense.

HEISMAN WATCH RB Montee Ball, sr., Wisconsin When Tyrann Mathieu was kicked off LSU’s team, Ball became the only returning Heisman finalist. Ball eschewed the draft to lead a Badgers team that should have one of the nation’s best running attacks. RB Kenjon Barner, sr., Oregon The Ducks know running, and Barner is a speedster who will put up his share of highlights. But sophomore De’Anthony Thomas, another fast running back, will steal some of Barner’s carries. QB Matt Barkley, sr., USC Barkley, like Ball, declined to enter the draft for a chance at a final, fairytale season. USC is entering the season with championship hype, which will bring pressure. But all of the hype could help Barkley’s campaign. QB Geno Smith, sr., West Virginia Smith is a dual-threat quarterback who can put up big numbers passing and rushing. With the Mountaineers changing conferences, Smith should grab enough of a spotlight to make his case. QB Landry Jones, sr., Oklahoma Jones may not be as flashy as some of the other quarterbacks on the list, but his numbers (nearly 4,500 yards and 29 touchdowns last season) make him one of the top passers in the country. He will have to cut down on the interceptions (15). QB Denard Robinson, sr., Michigan If Robinson stays healthy, he should have a highlight collection ready for the finalist show. Like last season’s winner, Robert Griffin III from Baylor, Robinson is lightning on the field. RB Marcus Lattimore, jr., South Carolina It’s tough to become a Heisman candidate at running back in the SEC because of the pounding defenses, but Lattimore has the toughness to stay on the field. QB Collin Klein, sr., Kansas State Klein might not have the preseason hype, but at the end of the 2011 season, he was drawing comparisons to another Heisman winner: Tim Tebow. Klein has the same hard-nosed running style that produces lots of touchdowns on the ground (27 with 1,141 rushing yards). QB Tyler Wilson, sr., Arkansas With all of the drama surrounding the exit of former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, the Razorbacks have been written off as a championship contender. But with Wilson leading the offense, Arkansas still has the talent to contend with the best in college football.

2012 COLLEGE FOOTBALL TV SCHEDULE Regular Channel Lineup Local net. Cox 22 KAKE (ABC) KMTW KSAS (Fox) KSCW KSNW (NBC) KWCH (CBS) Reg./nat. BTN (BigTen) CBSSN ESPN ESPN2 ESPNU ESPNC (Classic) FCSA (Atlantic) FCSC (Central) FCSP (Pacific) FSKC (FSN)

Cox DirecTV 22 NA 10 10 6 36 4 24 5 5 3 3 12 12

FX NBCSN

273 260 32 33 244 246

610 613 113 209 614

264 265 266 34

623 624 626 671

31 257

248 603

Dish U-Vrse NA NA 10 10 36 6 24 24 5 5 3 3 12 12 439 152 140 144 141 143

650 643 602 606 605 603

418

647 648 649 750

136

128 640

HD Channel Lineup Local net. Cox 22 KAKE (ABC) KMTW KSAS (Fox) KSCW KSNW (NBC) KWCH (CBS) Reg./nat. BTN (BigTen) CBSSN ESPN ESPN2 ESPNU FSKC (FSN)

Cox DirecTV 2022 NA 2010 396 2006 36 2004 398 2005 2003 392 2012 390 2273 2260 2032 2033 2244 2034

610 613 206 207 208 671

DishU-Verse NA NA 7050 1010 36 1036 7053 1024 7054 1005 7052 1003 7051 1012 439 152 140 144 141 418

1650 1643 1602 1606 1605 1750

FX 2031 248 136 1128 NBCSN 2257 603 640 Note: ESPN and its networks have not yet released a season-long schedule or telecast windows. Thursday, Aug. 30 South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 6 p.m. (ESPN) Texas A&M vs. Louisiana Tech at Shreveport, La., 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) UCLA at Rice, 6 p.m. (CBSSN) Washington St. at BYU, 9:15 p.m. (ESPN) Minnesota at UNLV, 10 p.m. (CBSSN) Friday, Aug. 31 N.C. State vs. Tennessee at Atlanta, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Boise St. at Michigan St., 7 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Sept. 1 Navy vs. Notre Dame at Dublin, Ireland, 8 a.m. (KWCH) Buffalo at Georgia, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Appalachian St. at East Carolina, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Miami (Ohio) at Ohio St., 11 a.m. (BTN) Marshall at West Virginia, 11 a.m. (FX) Ohio at Penn St., 11 a.m. (ESPN) Northwestern at Syracuse, 11 a.m. (ESPN2) Western Michigan at Illinois, 11 a.m. (ESPNU) Appalachian St. at East Carolina, 11 a.m. (FCSA) Troy at UAB, 11 a.m. (FCSP) Southern Miss at Nebraska, 2:30 p.m. (KAKE or ESPN2) Bowling Green at Florida, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN) Miami at Boston College, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Tulsa at Iowa St., 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Iowa vs. Northern Illinois at Chicago, 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Eastern Kentucky at Purdue, 2:30 p.m. (BTN) Colorado vs. Colorado St. at Denver, 3 p.m. (FX) South Dakota St. at Kansas, 6 p.m. (KMTW) Auburn vs. Clemson at Atlanta, 6 p.m. (ESPN) North Texas at LSU, 6 p.m. (ESPNU) Savannah St. at Oklahoma St., 6 p.m. (FCSC) Hawaii at USC, 6:30 p.m. (KSAS) Alabama vs. Michigan at Arlington, Texas, 7 p.m. (KAKE) Rutgers at Tulane, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Indiana St. at Indiana, 7 p.m. (BTN) Arkansas St. at Oregon, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN) Oklahoma at UTEP, 9:30 p.m. (FSKC) Toledo at Arizona, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

Sunday, Sept. 2 Alabama St. vs. Bethune-Cookman at Orlando, Fla., 11 a.m. (ESPN) Kentucky at Louisville, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN) SMU at Baylor, 5:30 p.m. (FSKC) Monday, Sept. 3 Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Thursday, Sept. 6 Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Bowie St. at Benedict, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Friday, Sept. 7 Utah at Utah St., 7 p.m. (ESPN2) Saturday, Sept. 8 East Carolina at South Carolina, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Penn St. at Virginia, 11 a.m. (KAKE) Miami at Kansas St., 11 a.m. (FX) Auburn at Mississippi St., 11 a.m. (ESPN) Central Florida at Ohio St., 11 a.m. (ESPN2) Tulane at Tulsa, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Maryland at Temple, 11 a.m. (ESPNU) New Hampshire at Minnesota, 11 a.m. (BTN) Weber St. at BYU, 2 p.m. (BYU) Purdue at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. (KSNW) Western Kentucky at Alabama, 2:30 p.m. (KSCW) Syracuse vs. USC at East Rutherford, N.J. (KAKE or ESPN2) Air Force at Michigan, 2:30 p.m. (KAKE or ESPN2) Florida at Texas A&M, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN) Rice at Kansas, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Michigan St. at Central Michigan, 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Delaware St. at Delaware, 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN) South Florida at Nevada, 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN) Iowa St. at Iowa, 2:30 p.m. (BTN) Wisconsin at Oregon St., 3 p.m. (FX) Central Oklahoma at Pittsburg St., 6 p.m. (Cox 22) Washington at LSU, 6 p.m. (ESPN) La.-Monroe vs. Arkansas at Little Rock, Ark., 6 p.m. (ESPNU) Western Carolina at Marshall, 6 p.m. (FCSA) Nebraska at UCLA, 6:30 p.m. (KSAS) Army at San Diego St., 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN) Georgia at Missouri, 6:45 p.m. (ESPN2) Louisiana Tech at Houston, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Vanderbilt at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (BTN) Illinois at Arizona St., 9:30 p.m. (ESPN) Thursday, Sept. 13 Rutgers at South Florida, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) Mississippi Valley St. at Southern, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Midwestern St. at Texas A&M-Commerce, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Friday, Sept. 14 Washington St. at UNLV, 8 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Sept. 15 La.-Monroe at Auburn, 11 a.m. (KSCW) California at Ohio St., 11 a.m. (KAKE) TCU at Kansas, 11 a.m. (FX) Wake Forest at Florida St., 11 a.m. (ESPN or ESPN2) Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh, 11 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU) Arkansas St. at Nebraska, 11 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU) La.-Lafayette at Oklahoma St., 11 a.m. (FSKC) William & Mary at Towson, 11 a.m. (NBCSN) Northern Illinois at Army, 11 a.m. (CBSSN) Western Michigan at Minnesota, 11 a.m. (BTN) Charleston Southern at Illinois, 11 a.m. (BTN) Eastern Michigan at Purdue, 11 a.m. (BTN) Navy at Penn St., 2:30 p.m. (KAKE or ESPN2) North Carolina at Louisville, 2:30 p.m. (KAKE or ESPN2) Alabama at Arkansas, 2:30 p.m. (KWCH) Texas A&M at SMU, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Virginia at Georgia Tech, 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU) East Carolina at Southern Miss, 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN) Massachusetts at Michigan, 2:30 p.m. (BTN) Boston College at Northwestern, 2:30 p.m. (BTN) Northern Iowa at Iowa, 2:30 p.m. (BTN) Portland St. at Washington, 3 p.m. (FX) Miami (Ohio) at Boise St., 3 p.m. (NBCSN) Florida at Tennessee, 5 p.m. (ESPN) Neb.-Kearney at Missouri Western, 6 p.m. (Cox 22) Arizona St. at Missouri, 6 p.m. (ESPN2) North Texas at Kansas St., 6 p.m. (FSKC) Western Kentucky at Kentucky, 6 p.m. (ESPNU) New Mexico at Texas Tech, 6 p.m. (FCSC or FCSP) Sam Houston St. at Baylor, 6 p.m. (FCSC or FCSP) USC at Stanford, 6:30 p.m. (KSAS) Notre Dame at Michigan St., 7 p.m. (KAKE) Utah St. at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. (BTN) Ball St. at Indiana, 7 p.m. (BTN) Colorado at Fresno St., 7:15 p.m. (CBSSN)

Texas at Mississippi, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN) BYU at Utah, 9 p.m. (ESPN2) Wednesday, Sept. 19 Kent St. at Buffalo, 6 p.m. (ESPNU) Thursday, Sept. 20 Ark.-Pine Bluff at Alabama St., 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Truman St. at Central Missouri, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) BYU at Boise St., 8 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Sept. 21 Georgetown at Princeton, 6 p.m. (ESPNU) Baylor at La.-Monroe, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Sept. 22 SEC game, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FX) Mississippi at Tulane, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Lafayette at Bucknell, 11 a.m. (CBSSN) Yale at Cornell, noon (NBCSN) SEC game, 2:30 p.m. (KWCH) Washburn at Central Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m. (Cox 22) VMI at Navy, 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN) Teams TBA, 3 p.m. (FX) Harvard at Brown, 3:30 p.m. (NBCSN) Michigan at Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m. (KSNW) Kansas St. at Oklahoma, 6:30 p.m. (KSAS) Fresno St. at Tulsa, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Louisiana Tech at Illinois, 7 p.m. (BTN) Syracuse at Minnesota, 7 p.m. (BTN) Nevada at Hawaii, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN) Arizona at Oregon, TBA (KAKE, ESPN or ESPN2) Thursday, Sept. 27 Morgan St. at North Carolina A&T, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Wingate at Carson-Newman, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Stanford at Washington, 8 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Sept. 28 Hawaii at BYU, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Sept. 29 SEC game, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FX) Minnesota at Iowa, 11 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2 or BTN) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Penn at Dartmouth, 11 a.m. (NBCSN) Stony Brook at Army, 11 a.m. (CBSSN) Colorado St. at Air Force, 1 p.m. (ALT) SEC game, 2:30 p.m. (KWCH) Northeastern St. at Northwest Missouri, 2:30 p.m. (Cox 22) Houston vs. Rice at Reliant Stadium, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) San Jose St. at Navy, 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN) Florida A&M vs. Southern at Atlanta, 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN) Teams TBA, 3 p.m. (FX) Portland St. at Northern Arizona, 4 p.m. (FCSP) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (FSKC) Texas at Oklahoma St., 6:30 p.m. (KSAS) Wisconsin at Nebraska, 7 p.m. (KAKE) Louisville at Southern Miss, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Florida St. at South Florida, TBA (KAKE, ESPN or ESPN2) Missouri at Central Florida, TBA (FSKC) TCU at SMU, TBA (FSKC) Thursday, Oct. 4 Arkansas St. at Florida International, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) East Carolina at Central Florida, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) USC at Utah, 8 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Oct. 5 Pittsburgh at Syracuse, 6 p.m. (ESPN) Utah St. at BYU, 9:15 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Oct. 6 Navy at Air Force, 10:30 a.m. (KWCH) SEC game, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FX) Northwestern at Penn St., 11 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2 or BTN) Michigan St. at Indiana, 11 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2 or BTN) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Boston College at Army, 11 a.m. (CBSSN) Towson at James Madison, noon (NBCSN) Teams TBA, 2 p.m. (KSAS) Illinois at Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m. (KAKE) SEC game, 2:30 p.m. (KWCH) Truman at Neb.-Kearney, 2:30 p.m. (Cox 22) Teams TBA, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Tulsa at Marshall, 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN) Michigan at Purdue, 3 p.m. (BTN) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (KSAS) Miami vs. Notre Dame at Chicago, 6:30 p.m. (KSNW) Nebraska at Ohio St., 7 p.m. (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2) Hawaii at San Diego St., 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Boise St. at Southern Miss, TBA (FSKC)

Thursday, Oct. 11 Western Kentucky at Troy, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) UTEP at Tulsa, 7 p.m. (FSKC) Wayne St. at Saginaw Valley St., 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Arizona St. at Colorado, 8 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Oct. 12 Navy at Central Michigan, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) Saturday, Oct. 13 SEC game, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FX) Wisconsin at Purdue, 11 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2 or BTN) Northwestern at Minnesota, 11 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2 or BTN) Iowa at Michigan St., 11 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2 or BTN) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Kent St. at Army, 11 a.m. (CBSSN) Brown at Princeton, 11 a.m. (NBCSN) Teams TBA, 2 p.m. (KSAS) Stanford at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. (KSNW) Illinois at Michigan, 2:30 p.m. (KAKE) SEC game, 2:30 p.m. (KWCH) Fort Hays St. at SW Baptist, 2:30 p.m. (Cox 22) Teams TBA, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Bucknell at Harvard, 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN) Fresno St. at Boise St., 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (KSAS) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (FSKC) Southern Miss at Central Florida, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Ohio St. at Indiana, 7 p.m. (BTN) Oklahoma vs. Texas at Dallas, TBA (KAKE) UAB at Houston, TBA (FSKC) Tuesday, Oct. 16 La.-Lafayette at North Texas, 8 p.m. (ESPN2) Thursday, Oct. 18 Hampton at N.C.-Central, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Houston at SMU, 7 p.m. (FSKC) New Haven at Stonehill, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Oregon at Arizona St., 8 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Oct. 19 Connecticut at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Oct. 20 SEC game, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FX) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Penn at Yale, 11 a.m. (NBCSN) Teams TBA, 2 p.m. (KSAS) BYU at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. (KSNW) SEC game, 2:30 p.m. (KWCH) Lincoln at Fort Hays St., 2:30 p.m. (Cox 22) Rice at Tulsa, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Indiana at Navy, 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN) UNLV at Boise St., 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (KSAS) Marshall at Southern Miss, 6 p.m. (CBSSN) Penn St. at Iowa, 7 p.m. (BTN) San Diego St. at Nevada, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN) Tuesday, Oct. 23 Arkansas St. at La.-Lafayette, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) Thursday, Oct. 25 Missouri Western at Emporia St., 6 p.m. (Cox 22) Clemson at Wake Forest, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) Delaware St. at Morgan St., 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Friday, Oct. 26 Cincinnati at Louisville, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) Nevada at Air Force, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Saturday, Oct. 27 SEC game, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Indiana at Illinois, 11 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2 or BTN) Iowa at Northwestern, 11 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2 or BTN) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Delaware at Old Dominion, 11 a.m. (NBCSN) Ball St. at Army, 11 a.m. (CBSSN) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FCSA) Teams TBA, 2 p.m. (FX) Teams TBA, 2:30 p.m. (KSAS) Teams TBA, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Michigan St. at Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m. (KAKE) Florida vs. Georgia at Jacksonville, Fla., 2:30 p.m. (KWCH) Missouri Southern at Lindenwood, 2:30 p.m. (Cox 22) Boise St. at Wyoming, 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN) Ohio St. at Penn St., 5 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (FSKC) Michigan at Nebraska, 7 p.m. (KAKE, ESPN or ESPN2) Central Florida at Marshall, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Navy at East Carolina, TBA (FSKC) Thursday, Nov. 1 Eastern Michigan at Ohio, 5 p.m. (ESPNU) Virginia Tech at Miami, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky, 8:15 p.m.

(ESPNU) Friday, Nov. 2 Washington at California, 8 p.m. (ESPN2) Saturday, Nov. 3 SEC game, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Air Force at Army, 11 a.m. (CBSSN) Towson at Delaware, 11 a.m. (NBCSN) Teams TBA, 12:30 p.m. (FX) Teams TBA, 2 p.m. (KSAS) Pittsburgh at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. (KSNW) SEC game, 2:30 p.m. (KWCH) MIAA game, 2:30 p.m. (Cox 22) Teams TBA, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Florida Atlantic at Navy, 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (KSAS) SMU at Central Florida, 6 p.m. (CBSSN) Alabama at LSU, 7 p.m. (KWCH) San Diego St. at Boise St. (CBSSN) Houston at East Carolina, TBA (FSKC) Tuesday, Nov. 6 Ball St. at Toledo, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) Wednesday, Nov. 7 Bowling Green at Ohio, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) Thursday, Nov. 8 La.-Monroe at Arkansas St., 6 p.m. (ESPNU) Florida St. at Virginia Tech, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Nov. 9 Pittsburgh at Connecticut, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) Saturday, Nov. 10 SEC game, 11 a.m. (KSCW) SEC game, 11 a.m. (KWCH) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Harvard at Penn, 11 a.m. (NBCSN) Colgate at Lehigh, 11:30 a.m. (CBSSN) Teams TBA, 12:30 p.m. (FX) Teams TBA, 2 p.m. (KSAS) SEC game, 2:30 p.m. (KWCH) MIAA game, 2:30 p.m. (Cox 22) Teams TBA, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Air Force at San Diego St., 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN) Tulsa at Houston, 4 p.m. (CBSSN) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (KSAS) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (FSKC) Boise St. at Hawaii, 6 p.m. (NBCSN) Fresno St. at Nevada, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN) Southern Miss at SMU, TBA (FSKC) Wednesday, Nov. 14 Ohio at Ball St., 7 p.m. (ESPN2 or ESPNU) Toledo at Northern Illinois, 8 p.m. (ESPN2 or ESPNU) Thursday, Nov. 15 North Carolina at Virginia, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Nov. 16 Florida International at Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m. (ESPNU) Hawaii at Air Force, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Saturday, Nov. 17 SEC game, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Temple at Army, 11 a.m. (CBSSN) Yale at Harvard, 11 a.m. (NBCSN) Teams TBA, 12:30 p.m. (FX) Bethune-Cookman vs. Florida A&M at Orlando, Fla., 1 p.m. (ESPNC) Teams TBA, 2 p.m. (KSAS) Wake Forest at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. (KSNW) SEC game, 2:30 p.m. (KWCH) Teams TBA, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Texas St. at Navy, 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN) Colorado St. at Boise St., 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (KSAS) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (FSKC) Old Dominion at James Madison, 6 p.m. (CBSSN) UTEP at Southern Miss, 7 p.m. (CBSSN) Central Florida at Tulsa, TBA (FSKC) Tuesday, Nov. 20 Akron at Toledo, 6 p.m. (ESPN2) Thursday, Nov. 22 Alabama St. vs. Tuskegee at Montgomery, Ala., 3 p.m. (ESPNU) TCU at Texas, TBA (TBA) Friday, Nov. 23 MAC game, 10 a.m. (ESPNU) Nebraska at Iowa, 11 a.m. (KAKE) Marshall at East Carolina, 1 p.m. (CBSSN) LSU at Arkansas, 1:30 p.m. (KWCH) Utah at Colorado, 2 p.m. (KSAS or FX) Washington at Washington St., 2:30 p.m. (KSAS or FX) West Virginia at Iowa St., 2:30 p.m. (KAKE) Arizona St. at Arizona, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

South Florida at Cincinnati, TBA (KAKE, ESPN or ESPN2) Syracuse at Temple, TBA (KAKE, ESPN or ESPN2) Saturday, Nov. 24 SEC game, 11 a.m. (KSCW) Michigan at Ohio St., 11 a.m. (KAKE) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FX) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FSKC) Grambling vs. Southern at New Orleans, 1:30 p.m. (KSNW) Teams TBA, 2 p.m. (KSAS) Teams TBA, 2:30 p.m. (FSKC) Air Force at Fresno St., 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN) Tulsa at SMU, 7 p.m. (FSKC) Auburn at Alabama, TBA (KWCH) Teams TBA, 6 p.m. (KSAS) Notre Dame at USC, TBA (KAKE or ESPN) Thursday, Nov. 29 Louisville at Rutgers, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Nov. 30 MAC championship, 6 p.m. (ESPN2) Pac-12 championship, 7 p.m. (KSAS) Saturday, Dec. 1 Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FX) Teams TBA, 11 a.m. (FSKC) SEC championship, 3 p.m. (KWCH) ACC championship, 7 p.m. (KAKE or ESPN) Big Ten championship, 7 p.m. (KSAS) Boise St. at Nevada, TBA (KAKE, ESPN or ESPN2) Cincinnati at Connecticut, TBA (KAKE, ESPN or ESPN2) Pittsburgh at South Florida, TBA (KAKE, ESPN or ESPN2) C-USA championship, TBA (ESPN or ESPN2) Saturday, Dec. 8 SWAC championship, 1 p.m. (ESPNU) Army vs. Navy at Philadelphia, 2 p.m. (KWCH) Saturday, Dec. 15 New Mexico Bowl, noon (ESPN) Idaho Potato Bowl, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) Thursday, Dec. 20 Poinsettia Bowl, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Dec. 21 St. Petersburg Bowl, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Dec. 22 New Orleans Bowl, 11 a.m. (ESPN) Las Vegas Bowl, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN) Monday, Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Wednesday, Dec. 26 Little Caesars Bowl, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) Thursday, Dec. 27 Military Bowl, 2 p.m. (ESPN) Belk Bowl, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN) Holiday Bowl, 8:45 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Dec. 28 Independence Bowl, 1 p.m. (ESPN) Russell Athletic Bowl, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN) Car Care Bowl, 8 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Dec. 29 Armed Forces Bowl, 10:45 a.m. (ESPN) Fight Hunger Bowl, 2:15 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2) Pinstripe Bowl, 2:15 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2) Alamo Bowl, 5:45 p.m. (ESPN) Valley of the Sun Bowl, 9:15 p.m. (ESPN) Monday, Dec. 31 Music City Bowl, 11 a.m. (ESPN) Sun Bowl, 1 p.m. (KWCH) Liberty Bowl, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN) Peach Bowl, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) Tuesday, Jan. 1 Gator Bowl, 11 a.m. (ESPN2) Ticket City Bowl, 11 a.m. (ESPNU) Outback Bowl, noon (KAKE) Capital One Bowl, noon (ESPN) Rose Bowl, 4 p.m. (ESPN) Orange Bowl, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) Wednesday, Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) Thursday, Jan. 3 Fiesta Bowl, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Jan. 4 Cotton Bowl, 7 p.m. (KSAS) Saturday, Jan. 5 Championship Subdivision final, noon (ESPN2) BBVA Compass Bowl, noon (ESPN) Sunday, Jan. 6 Go Daddy Bowl, 8 p.m. (ESPN) Monday, Jan. 7 BCS championship, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)


WWW.KANSAS.COM

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 11H

Davis returns as Friends’ defensive stopper ■ End should continue to give KCAC offenses fits. BY TONY ADAME The Wichita Eagle

Friends defensive line coach Billy Beard has a booming, preacher’s voice. His words explode in the air, replete with a long, southern drawl that hearkens back to his eastern Texas roots. And never is he more animated than when he talks about senior defensive end Dexter Davis, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior and the reigning KCAC defensive player of the year. “He can’t be blocked by one man,” Beard said. “If you run away from him, he will chase it down in the backfield. If you put him in the nine-technique, he might steal the handoff.” Last season, on his way to NAIA All-America honors, Davis had 14 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss for an astounding 151.5 yards. He also forced three fumbles and recovered three fumbles. Davis’ sack total was the third-highest single-season mark in league history and

hand-timed 4.47. “When I went home after my freshman year, I worked out but I didn’t really push myself,” Davis said. “And my performance was a downgrade and I didn’t want to let that happen again. “I didn’t mind being away from home or anything like that. I enjoy college life, I enjoy being here and working to get better.” By the end of last summer, Beard was already starting to make predictions on his impact. “I have a lot of confidence in myself, in the way I train athletes … so I knew he was in line for something big,” Beard said. “I was telling people I thought he’d get 20 sacks, but he ended up under Jaime Green/The Wichita Eagle that … although that’s with Friends’ Dexter Davis was KCAC defensive player of the year after his 14-sack junior season. him getting played dirty. Offensive linemen would try anything to stop him, inthe most sacks by a KCAC wide receiver.” stopped making plays.” player since 1993. Davis owns The ascension from unDavis followed his breakout cluding the post and chop (block), which is most defitwo of the top 10 single-seaderweight freshman to Allfreshman season with a lacknitely illegal. son sack totals in league histo- American came under the luster sophomore year, and “Guys play him dirty. No ry after notching 11 in 2009, watchful eye of Beard, a long- Beard talked him into not offensive lineman can handle tied for sixth. time assistant to Friends going home to Rex, Ga., for him one-on-one.” “From the minute he was a coach Monty Lewis. the summer and staying in Davis stayed in Wichita freshman here, from the min“We threw Dexter in a game Wichita to train. Under ute he showed up on campus I his freshman year and he just Beard’s tutelage, Davis packed again this summer to train with Beard and is on track to put him under my wing,” started making plays,” Beard on pounds and picked up graduate with a degree in Beard said. “And he was about said. “The next game, he was speed, dropping his 40-yard physical education either next 180 pounds. Looked like a a starter. And he’s never time from the 4.7 range to a

spring or winter. He’s got a stout supporting cast back on defense, including All-KCAC defensive back Jeff Kontz and second-team linebacker Marcus Carter. Picked second by the media in the KCAC preseason poll and third in the coaches’ poll, the Falcons are trying to bring the league title back to Wichita for the first time since 2008. “A lot of things we were doing wrong last year, they’re fixable,” Davis said. “We need to communicate more, to make sure we’re all on the same page because there were some games last year where we would just dominate and others where it seemed like we were completely lost.” Part of the Falcons being on the same page will fall on Davis’ shoulders — Lewis wants his best player to become a vocal leader, too. “He’s thrown himself into this football family for the last three years, and I want him to take the next step, the final step,” Lewis said. “He’s got to be more vocal for this team to be successful. When Dexter Davis speaks, I guarantee they will listen, and we’re going to need him to step into that role this year.”

A LOOK AT THE KCAC Tony Adame looks at the conference in the coaches’ predicted order of finish. Outlooks do not include Saturday’s opening games.

1. Ottawa Coach: Kent Kessinger, ninth season, 50-35. 2011: 9-3, 9-0 KCAC Outlook: Kessinger has always said offensive linemen are the hardest players to replace, and he gets four of five starters back on the line this year, led by preseason senior All-American Quinton Flaming (6-foot-1, 284 pounds). Big portions of the offense will feature senior Shane Gimzo, it’s just not clear which. Gimzo ranked third in the NAIA in total scoring last season (144 points), had 1,297 all-purpose yards and could be used at running back, wide receiver and quarterback. Defensive back Donald Anderson and defensive lineman Zach Van Deusen, both All-KCAC picks in 2011, return. Schedule Aug. 25 Baker 6 Sept. 8 at Kansas Wesleyan 7 Sept. 15 University of Saint Mary 6 Sept. 29 at Tabor TBA Oct. 6 Southwestern 7 Oct. 13 McPherson 7 Oct. 20 at Sterling 1:30 Oct. 27 Bethany 1:30 Nov. 3 Friends 1:30 Nov. 10 at Bethel 1:30

2. Bethany Coach: Jamie Cruce, sixth season, 24-27. 2011: 8-3, 6-3. Outlook: Cruce and the Swedes must revamp their entire approach after losing two-time All-America running back Junior Allen, who is out with personal issues. Allen led the KCAC in rushing the last two years, and won league offensive player of the year honors last season while racking up 1,880 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns. Expect Bethany to rely on the arm of senior QB Darby House (2,475 yards, 20 touchdowns, 12

interceptions) in Allen’s absence. Schedule Saturday at SW Assemblies Sept. 8 McPherson Sept. 15 at Bethel Sept. 22 Kansas Wesleyan Sept. 29 Avila Oct. 6 at Saint Mary Oct. 13 Tabor Oct. 20 at Friends Oct. 27 at Ottawa Nov. 3 Sterling Nov. 10 Southwestern

6 7 7 7 2 1:30 1:30 3 1:30 1:30 1:30

3. Friends Coach: Monty Lewis, ninth season, 63-28. 2011: 5-5, 5-4. Outlook: After one of the roughest seasons in Lewis’ tenure at Friends — the Falcons had to forfeit a game for using an ineligible player and Lewis was suspended for another game as a result — the team appears to have an outside shot at winning its first KCAC title since 2008. On offense, senior QB Jayme Bristow has been wildly inconsistent in two years as a starter — he passed for just 687 yards last season — but will get another chance to lead. The Falcons could have one of the best defenses in the league with middle linebacker Marcus Carter, a second-team All-KCAC selection, and KCAC defensive player of the year Dexter Davis, a 6-3, 220-pound senior defensive end with two of the top 10 single-season sack totals in league history. All-KCAC defensive back Jeff Kontz (6-2, 200) also returns after posting five interceptions and 10 pass breakups. Schedule Saturday at Evangel 6 Sept. 8 Saint Mary 7 Sept. 15 Southern Nazarene 7 Sept. 22 at McPherson 7 Sept. 29 at Kansas Wesleyan 6 Oct. 6 Bethel 1:30 Oct. 13 at Southwestern 1:30 Oct. 20 Bethany 3 Oct. 27 Sterling 1:30

Nov. 3 Nov. 10

at Ottawa at Tabor

1:30 1:30

Nov. 3 Nov. 10

at Bethel Kansas Wesleyan

T4. Kansas Wesleyan

6. Sterling

Coach: Dave Dallas, 16th season, 84-67. 2011: 5-4, 3-6. Outlook: Dallas, the longest-tenured coach in the KCAC, returns seven starters on both sides. With the departure of Allen, senior RB Brett Giesen (1,308 yards, 12 touchdowns) can take the reins as the league’s top back. Schedule Saturday at Cumberland Noon Sept. 8 Ottawa 7 Sept. 15 at Sterling 6 Sept. 22 at Bethany 7 Sept. 29 Friends 6 Oct. 6 at Tabor 2 Oct. 13 Southern Nazarene 7 Oct. 20 Bethel 1:30 Oct. 27 at Southwestern 1:30 Nov. 3 McPherson 1:30 Nov. 10 at Saint Mary 1:30

Coach: Andy Lambert, ninth season, 76-78. 2011: 1-10, 1-8. Outlook: Sterling finished below .500 for the first time in seven seasons in 2011, thanks in part to having to forfeit three wins for the use of an ineligible player. Senior outside linebacker Brian Noller led the Warriors with 16 tackles for loss and 7 1⁄2 sacks last season and returns, but Sterling will have to break in four new starters in the defensive backfield. Schedule Saturday at Benedictine 1 Sept. 8 at Tabor 7 Sept. 15 Kansas Wesleyan 6 Sept. 22 at Southwestern 6 Sept. 29 Saint Mary 6 Oct. 13 at Bethel 7 Oct. 20 Ottawa 1:30 Oct. 27 at Friends 1:30 Nov. 3 at Bethany 1:30 Nov. 10 McPherson 1:30

T4. Saint Mary Coach: Lance Hinson, seventh season, 28-42. 2011: 7-4, 7-2. Outlook: Senior QB Mike Keese earned All-KCAC honors last season after leading the league with 3,638 passing yards and 21 touchdowns. Four of five Spires starters return on the offensive line. Schedule Saturday at Nebraska Wesleyan 1 Sept. 8 at Friends 7 Sept. 15 at Ottawa 6 Sept. 22 Tabor 1:30 Sept. 29 at Sterling 6 Oct. 6 Bethany 1:30 Oct. 13 William Penn 1:30 Oct. 20 Southwestern 1:30 Oct. 27 at McPherson 1:30

Oct. 13 Oct. 20 Oct. 27 Nov. 3 Nov. 10

1:30 1:30

at Bethany at McPherson Bethel at Southwestern Friends

1:30 1:30 1:30 1:30 1:30

T7. McPherson Coach: Pete Sterbick, first season. 2011: 4-7, 4-5. Outlook:Sterbick, who played for Kessinger at Augustana, was the offensive coordinator at Grand View the last four seasons, helping them to the NAIA playoffs last season. Derby product Jake Snodgrass is back for his senior season – he got his first shot at being the starting quarterback last year and was solid with 2,094 yards, 19 TDs and 12 interceptions. Schedule Saturday Missouri Valley 6 Sept. 8 at Bethany 7 Sept. 15 Southwestern 7 Sept. 22 Friends 7 Sept. 29 at Bethel 7 Oct. 13 at Ottawa 7 Oct. 20 Tabor 1:30 Oct. 27 Saint Mary 1:30 Nov. 3 at Kansas Wesleyan 1:30 Nov. 10 at Sterling 1:30

T7. Tabor Coach: Mike Gardner, third season, 7-13. 2011: 3-7, 2-7. Outlook: Gardner and the Bluejays took a slight step back in the second season of his second tenure in Hillsboro, but redshirted a large class last season and retained most of the players. Sophomore quarterback Simon McKee, a 6-3, 180-pound Halstead native, has won the starting job. Schedule Aug. 25 at Bacone Sept. 8 Sterling 7 Sept. 15 Haskell 7 Sept. 22 at Saint Mary 1:30 Sept. 29 Ottawa 7 Oct. 6 Kansas Wesleyan, 2

9. Southwestern Coach: Ken Crandall, sixth season, 15-36. 2011: 5-6, 4-5. Outlook: Southwestern picked it up last season after a couple of the worst years in school history — matching its win total in the previous three seasons. Southwestern coach Ken Crandall said that he probably won’t know who the starting quarterback will be until a few days before their opener against Northwestern (Iowa) – the battle is between Brady May (1,260 yards, 11 touchdowns) and senior Jordan Barrett (514 yards, 5 touchdowns), who has been a starter off and on since his freshman year.

Thursday Sept. 8 Sept. 15 Sept. 22 Sept. 29 Oct. 6 Oct. 13 Oct. 20 Oct. 27 Nov. 3 Nov. 10

Schedule at Northwestern Bethel at McPherson Sterling at Haskell at Ottawa Friends at of Saint Mary Kansas Wesleyan Tabor at Bethany

6 6 7 6 7 7 1:30 1:30 1:30 1:30 1:30

10. Bethel Coach: Jim Dotson, first season. 2011: 2-9, 2-7. Outlook: Bethel hasn’t gotten many breaks the last couple of years, and no bigger blow than when coach Travis Graber resigned the last week of July. Bethel named Jim Dotson as its interim coach on Aug. 3. He was an assistant in the late 1990s under Mike Moore. Buhler product Jorden Oden should be Bethel’s featured back, and fullback Ben Suchsland is one of the league’s top blocking backs. Schedule Saturday William Penn 11:30 Sept. 8 at Southwestern 7 Sept. 15 Bethany 7 Sept. 22 at Southern Nazarene 6 Sept. 29 McPherson 7 Oct. 6 at Friends 1:30 Oct. 13 Sterling 7 Oct. 20 at Kansas Wesleyan 1:30 Oct. 27 at Tabor 1:30 Nov. 3 Saint Mary 1:30 Nov. 10 Ottawa 1:30

Abenoja takes over at QB for national champion Sophomore ready to take over Gorillas’ familiar offense. ■

BY TONY ADAME The Wichita Eagle

There was no point for Anthony Abenoja to be at the hastily-called team meeting almost three years ago at Blue Valley High. “I was a senior and I was done playing football there, so there was really no need,” Abenoja said. “So I just went to basketball practice … and after awhile I started to see all the faces of the football players coming into the gym and I was like, ‘Why are you guys so mad?’ ” After 25 years as football coach at Blue Valley — and four Class 5A titles — Steve Rampy had just delivered the news to his team that he was leaving to become the offensive coordinator at Pittsburg State.

Wayne Gilmore/Courtesy photo

Pittsburg State sophomore Anthony Abenoja directs the offense last season against Missouri Western in St. Joseph, Mo. Abenoja, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, will take over for Zac Dickey as the starter for the Gorillas after backing up on last year's NCAA DIvision II championship team. Abenoja did his best to commiserate with his friends, but quickly found his way to the office where Rampy was holding court with his assistants. “I couldn’t help smiling at that point,” Abenoja said.

“And I said, ‘Coach, I think this is going to be a good opportunity … for the both of us.’ And they all started laughing. “I had no idea if (Pittsburg State) even wanted me at that point. I just knew if (Rampy)

1. Pittsburg State Coach: Tim Beck, third season, 18-7. 2011: 13-1, 8-1 MIAA, national champion. Outlook: The Gorillas won the NCAA Division II title in Beck’s second season and return the heart of the defense in junior linebacker Nate Dreiling, a consensus All-American, and All-America defensive end Gus Toca. Kansas transfer Keeston Terry, who started 10 of 11 games for the Jayhawks in 2011, transferred to Pittsburg State in August. Schedule Thursday at NE Oklahoma St. 6 Sept. 8 Central Oklahoma 6:05 Sept. 15 at SW Baptist 1 Sept. 22 Lincoln 7 Oct. 6 Central Missouri 2 Oct. 13 at NW Missouri 2 Oct. 20 Missouri Western 2 Oct. 27 at Truman 1 Nov. 3 Lindenwood 2 Nov. 10 at Missouri Southern 2

4. Washburn Coach: Craig Schurig, 11th season, 72-24. 2011: 10-3, 7-2. Outlook: The Ichabods are ranked No. 20 in the NCAA Division II preseason poll but will be hardpressed to replace quarterback Dane Simoneau, who was the runnerup for the Harlon Hill Trophy, given to the nation’s best Division II player. Sophomore Mitch Buhler and junior Joel Piper, a Butler Community Col-

lege transfer, will compete for the right to replace Simoneau and throw to junior Dajuan Beard, the MIAA’s top receiver last season with 1,029 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. Linebackers Jahmil Taylor (112 tackles) and Bryce Atagi (101 tackles) are proven playmakers. Schedule Thursday Neb.-Kearney 6 Sept. 8 at Fort Hays St. 7 Sept. 15 NE Oklahoma St. 6 Sept. 22 at Central Oklahoma 2:30 Sept. 29 SW Baptist 1 Oct. 6 at Lincoln (Mo.) 2 Oct. 13 Truman 1 Oct. 20 at Lindenwood 1:30 Oct. 27 NW Missouri 1 Nov. 3 Mo. Western 1:30 Nov. 10 Emporia St. 1

7. Emporia State Coach: Garin Higgins, fifth season, 14-29. 2011: 5-6, 4-6. Outlook: All-America safety Derek Lohman is one of the nation’s best and led the MIAA with eight interceptions last year. Lohman, a 6-1, 209-pound senior from Alva, Okla., is tied for the Hornets’ career record with 14 interceptions. Three-year starting QB Tyler Eckenrode is the top returning passer in the MIAA with 2,580 yards and 18 touchdowns. Eckenrode’s top three receivers — Ray Ray Davis, Shjuan Richardson and RB Adam Schiltz — all return. Schedule Thursday Fort Hays St. 7 Sept. 8 at Nebraska-Kearney 2 Sept. 15 Central Oklahoma 1

Sept. 22 Sept. 29 Oct. 6 Oct. 13 Oct. 20 Oct. 25 Nov. 3 Nov. 10

but I’ve seen his work ethic and how he prepares. I have a lot of confidence in him.” Briceton Wilson and Jason Spradling are both returners at running back, although Rampy said as many as four backs could see action. “We feel like John Brown could be one of the most exciting players in all of Division II,” Rampy said. “And I think (Brown) might overshadow Andrew Castaneda a little bit because he’s so good.” The wild card in the offense – and what was the strongest part of Dickey’s game – will be Abenoja’s ability to run the ball. Dickey led the team with 1,305 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. “(Abenoja) has got the speed and the size to run, and I don’t think he’ll back down from that at all,” Rampy said. “I’ve gotten on him pretty good over the years, so I know he’s thick-skinned. Something happens to him, he bounces back.”

A LOOK AT THE HAAC

A LOOK AT THE MIAA Tony Adame looks Kansas’ MIAA teams in the coaches’ predicted order of finish.

defensive stars like linebacker Nate Dreiling and defensive end Gus Toca. “Sometimes they had the green light to hit me, and some days if they were just mad they’d just go ahead and do it anyway,” Abenoja said, laughing. The return of All-America wide receiver John Brown (2,201 all-purpose yards, 15 touchdowns) and wide receiver Andrew Castaneda (441 receiving yards, two touchdowns) should help ease the transition. As should the return of staring offensive tackle Cody Holland (6-foot-6, 337 pounds), an All-MIAA pick, and starting center Aaron Kolich (6-2, 275). Rampy’s son, Luke, is the Gorillas’ third wide receiver. “(Abenoja) has got a great arm, long routes or short routes the ball is right where you want it,” Castaneda said. “The fans want to know how he’s going to react the first time he gets hit in the mouth

was going, I wanted to be there, too.” In Abenoja, Pittsburg State – and Rampy – saw the future. Thursday, the Gorillas officially hand the keys to their offense to the 6-foot-3, 218-pound sophomore quarterback when they open up their NCAA Division II championship defense at MIAA newcomer Northeastern (Okla.) State. Abenoja backed up senior Zac Dickey last season and threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-29 passing. “(Abenoja) is all in, and he’s somebody who has a real passion for the game, for life in general,” Rampy said. “He works hard and he’s a joy to be around – I think the biggest evidence is that his teammates elected him captain.” Despite his lack of starts, Abenoja is a veteran in the program after redshirting in 2010 – playing scout team quarterback against current

at Northeastern St. Lincoln of Missouri at SW Baptist Lindenwood at Truman Missouri Western at NW Missouri at Washburn

6 1 1 2 2 6 2 1

11. Fort Hays State Coach: Chris Brown, second season, 4-7. 2011: 4-7, 3-6. Outlook: The Tigers could build around their rushing game thanks to the return of running backs Andre Smith (973 rushing yards, five touchdowns) and Edward Smith (748 rushing yards, six touchdowns) behind three starters on the offensive line – second team All-MIAA center Hawk Rouse, left guard Josh Reese and right tackle Logan Jones. DE Kyle Perry started every game last season and led the team in sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (13). Schedule Thursday at Emporia St. 7 Sept. 8 Washburn 7 Sept. 15 at NW Missouri 1 Sept. 22 Missouri Western 7 Sept. 29 at Truman 1 Oct. 6 Lindenwood 7 Oct. 13 at SW Baptist 2:30 Oct. 20 Lincoln 2:30 Oct. 27 at S. Dakota Mines 1 Nov. 3 Central Missouri 2 Nov. 10 at Neb.-Kearney 2

Tony Adame looks at Kansas’ teams in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, in coaches’ predicted order of finish.

1. MidAmerica Nazarene Coach: Jonathan Quinn, fourth season, 32-5. 2011: 10-2, 8-1 HAAC. Outlook: Quinn, a former NFL quarterback, already has an NAIA semifinal appearance under his belt. Ranked No. 5 in the NAIA preseason Top 25, the Pioneers return 10 players who earned All-HAAC last season. Senior defensive backs JD Wood and Dantren Anderson were both first-team selections, as was senior wide receiver Brett Houchen (413 receiving yards). Schedule Saturday at Central Methodist 6 Sept. 8 Missouri Valley 6 Sept. 22 at Avila Noon Sept. 29 Baker 6 Oct. 6 at Culver-Stockton 1 Oct. 13 at Gardner-Webb 5 Oct. 20 at Benedictine 1 Oct. 27 Graceland 1 Nov. 3 at Peru State 1 Nov. 10 Evangel 1

3. Benedictine

4. Baker

Coach: Larry Wilcox, 35th season, 229-126. 2011: 9-3, 7-2. Outlook: The Ravens are ranked No. 13 in the NAIA preseason Top 25, one of four HAAC teams ranked. Benedictine’s offense is in good hands with junior running back Cameron Fore (771 rushing yards, 143 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns) and quarterback Bill Noonan, who passed for 2,210 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. Senior DE Jordan Ancar (6-foot-2, 235) won HAAC defensive player of the year honors last season with 64 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Schedule Aug. 25 at Concordia Saturday Sterling 1 Sept. 15 at Graceland 2 Sept. 22 Peru State 1 Sept. 29 at Evangel 6 Oct. 6 Central Methodist 1 Oct. 13 at Missouri Valley 2 Oct. 20 MidAmerica Nazarene 1 Oct. 27 at Avila 1 Nov. 3 Baker 1 Nov. 10 at Culver-Stockton 1

Coach: Mike Grossner, 10th season, 46-39. 2011: 7-3, 6-3. Outlook: Grossner has one of the most-talked about transfers in the country in RB Dillon Baxter, the 2009 national high school player of the year and a five-star recruit. Baxter (5-11, 210) started at Southern California as a freshman in 2010 but was kicked off the team last October .... then kicked off the team at San Diego State in February. If Baxter can keep his act together, he and junior quarterback Jake Morse, the HAAC co-offensive player of the year in 2011, could make life difficult for HAAC defenses and give the Wildcats, ranked No. 18 in the NAIA preseason Top 25, a shot at the league title. Schedule Aug. 25 at Ottawa Saturday at Peru State 1 Sept. 8 Evangel 6 Sept. 15 at Central Methodist 6 Sept. 22 Missouri Valley 6 Sept. 29 at MidAmerica Nazarene 6 Oct. 6 Avila 2 Oct. 27 at Culver-Stockton 2 Nov. 3 at Benedictine 1 Nov. 10 Graceland 1


12H THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

Smith ready for his shot in Butler backfield Sophomore focuses on summer work to get ready for season. ■

BY TONY ADAME The Wichita Eagle

EL DORADO — Butler Community College football coach Troy Morrell didn’t have to prod Dreamius Smith very much to get him to do what he wanted. He only suggested what Smith, a sophomore running back from Heights, already knew in the back of his own mind. To be great – truly great – would take sacrifice. “I don’t know if it’s being selfish, I think it’s just being programmed to do what you’ve always done,” Morrell said. “But because he is so driven to succeed, to graduate and continue his education, Dreamius broke out of that mold and hopefully he’ll be rewarded for his efforts.” Smith, one of the most celebrated running backs in City League history, was the second and sometimes third option in the Grizzlies’ backfield last season, rushing for 663 yards and nine touchdowns on 102 carries while splitting time with Jasper Sanders and Derrick Thomas. It was quite a change for Smith,

Tony Adame/The Wichita Eagle

Former Heights running back Dreamius Smith lost 15 pounds after last season and is set to be Butler’s starter as a sophomore. who led Heights to the Class 6A title in 2010 while rushing for 1,837 yards and 34 touchdowns. He signed with Kansas in high school but didn’t meet minimum testing requirements and ended up having to go the junior-college route. “At Heights it was just carry after carry after carry,” Smith said. “But when I got (to Butler) I realized pretty early on that I wasn’t going to

be the man. And the coaches were constantly in my ear, telling me to do what was best for the team and it would all work out.” That led Morrell to pull Smith aside after last season, when the Grizzlies went 11-1 and finished No. 2 in the final NJCAA poll – and lay things bare. “(Morrell) told me I needed to focus more, that I needed to lose

weight, to begin with, because I was too heavy,” Smith said. “He told me that I needed to lose weight, to begin with, and I took it from there. “I started eliminating distractions from pretty quickly and zeroed in on academics and football.” Smith threw himself into his new life by first eschewing fatty foods – his diet now consists mainly of baked chicken, salad, granola bars and water – and then by shunning an entire city. The result was Smith reporting to training camp at 215 pounds – down from the 230 he played at as a freshman -- and, as Morrell put it, “running like a deer … a truly beautiful thing.” “I thought that by living in El Dorado and not going home, that could help me keep my focus,” Smith said. “There’s just not a lot to do here except work on school and football. I may have lost some friends by being so single-minded, but oh well. I knew staying away from Wichita would probably be a good thing.” On track to graduate this semester after earning straight As in 15 credit hours over the summer, Smith’s support system in El Dorado is led, in large part, by a very large man. Butler offensive tackle and fellow Heights product John McClure – 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds – was an

NJCAA All-American last season and is also back for his sophomore season. “John has been fantastic,” Smith said. “It’s nice to have somebody like that walk up to you and tell you a hole is about to open up and you should run through it.” McClure redshirted at Kansas State in 2010 before transferring to Butler. “Dreamius is a good kid, and we’ve been friends for a long time … back to when we were in high school and used to come over to my house,” McClure said. “He’s already got the type of personality where he has an automatic chemistry with everybody on the team, but to see how hard he’s worked kind of takes it to another level.” Smith won’t make any decisions, save one, about his college future until after the season. “I can say Kansas isn’t an option anymore,” Smith said. “As far as me and moving forward, I want to keep my options open and let God show me what’s best for me.” Ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA preseason poll and Jayhawk Conference favorites once again, the Grizzlies open a new, $12 million stadium – 6,000-seat BG Products Veterans Sports Complex – on Sept. 1 against Blinn (Texas) College.

A LOOK AT THE JAYHAWK CONFERENCE Tony Adame looks at the conference in predicted order of finish. Outlooks do not include Aug. 25’s opening games.

1. Butler Coach: Troy Morrell, 13th season;126-16. 2011: 11-1, 6-0 Jayhawk. Outlook: The Grizzlies turn to another high-profile transfer at quarterback in James Madison’s Billy Cosh, who also played at Kansas State and came to El Dorado in January and participated in spring drills. Sophomore linebacker Tommy Sanders returns, as do a pair of Kansas products in the defensive backfield in Carroll’s Max Martinez and Brookville native Tate Omli. Schedule Aug. 25 at Dodge City Saturday Blinn (Texas) 7 Sept. 8 Fort Scott 7 Sept. 15 at Independence 7 Sept. 22 at Highland 1 Sept. 29 Air Force Prep 7 Oct. 6 Garden City 7 Oct. 20 Coffeyville 7 Oct. 27 at Hutchinson 7

2. Hutchinson Coach: Rion Rhoades, sixth season, 35-20. 2011: 9-3, 5-1. Outlook: The loss of All-America wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson – now at Tennessee – will be offset by the return of sophomores Jatavius Stewart, an AllJayhawk pick with 741 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, and Newton product Miguel Johns, who had 539 receiving yards and four touchdowns. A tougher

task could be replacing Elliott Alford, a two-year starter at quarterback and Hutchinson’s career passing leader. Troy transfer Luke Barnes, Arkansas Tech transfer Jesse Stone and last year’s backup, Slader McVey, will all compete for the starting spot. On defense, the Blue Dragons are anchored up front by two high-level Division I prospects and returning starters — sophomore tackles Toby Johnson (6-4, 305 pounds) and Ben Bradley (6-2, 310). Johnson was All-Jayhawk last season with 50 tackles and 10 1⁄2 tackles for loss, while Bradley was a second-team selection. Schedule Aug. 25 Coffeyville Saturday at Navarro (Texas) 7 Sept. 8 at Garden City 7 Sept. 15 Dodge City 7 Sept. 29 at Highland 1 Oct. 6 Air Force Prep 7 Oct. 20 at Fort Scott 1 Oct. 27 at Butler 7

3. Coffeyville Coach: Aaron Flores, first season. 2011: 6-4, 4-2. Outlook: Flores is the second straight Coffeyville coach plucked from the Butler coaching tree after Darian Dulin was fired in April. Both Dulin and Flores were coordinators at Butler, with Flores leading the offense and picking up three national championships. Iowa transfer A.J. Derby (6-4, 230 pounds) is the Red Ravens’ quarterback and transferred to Coffeyville in January. Derby won the backup quarterback job with the Hawkeyes last fall as a redshirt freshman, completing 3 of 6 passes for 30 yards. But he was suspended for two games in October after he was arrested on charges of

public intoxication and criminal mischief. He was moved to linebacker and transferred. Schedule Aug. 25 at Hutchinson Saturday Trinity Valley 7 Sept. 8 at Air Force Prep 2 Sept. 15 at Fort Scott 1 Sept. 22 Independence 7 Oct. 6 Highland 7 Oct. 13 Dodge City 7 Oct. 20 at Butler 7 Oct. 27 at Garden City 7

4. Fort Scott Coach: Curtis Horton, second season, 4-4. 2011: 4-4, 4-3. Outlook: The Greyhounds are back to playing for Jayhawk Conference championships after spending 2011 on NJCAA probation, a trying introduction for Horton, who took over on July 7 and had to walk into training camp and be the one to tell his team the season wouldn’t count. Even with that early travail, Fort Scott was more than respectable in banishment, going 4-4 and nurturing sophomore defensive backs Kevin Short (6-2, 185 pounds), who led the team with five interceptions, and Austin Fulson (5-9, 195), who had 45 tackles. Schedule Aug. 25 at Highland Saturday Tyler (Texas) 1 Sept. 8 at Butler 7 Sept. 15 Coffeyville 1 Sept. 22 Dodge City 1 Sept. 29 at Garden City 7 Oct. 6 at Independence 7

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Oct. 20 Oct. 27

Hutchinson Arkansas Baptist

1 1

T5. Dodge City Coach: Bob Majeski, fifth season, 6-31. 2011: 3-7, 3-3 Outlook: Majeski got a signature win last season when the Conquistadors defeated western Kansas rival Garden City for the first time since 1986, but is just 6-31 in four seasons. The Conquistadors have a leader back at defensive end in Marcus Hardison, a 6-4, 290-pound sophomore. Hardison had 46 tackles and three sacks last season and is getting high Division I looks. Because of his size, he can play on the end or the interior. Sophomore offensive tackle Bryson McCluskey (6-4, 310) was honorable-mention All-Jayhawk in 2011. Schedule Aug. 25 Butler Saturday at Kilgore (Texas) 7 Sept. 8 Highland 7 Sept. 15 at Hutchinson 7 Sept. 22 at Fort Scott 1 Sept. 29 Independence 7 Oct. 13 at Coffeyville 7 Oct. 20 at Garden City 7 Oct. 27 Air Force Prep 1:30

T5. Garden City Coach: Jeff Tatum, second season, 2-7. 2011: 2-7, 2-4. Outlook: The Broncbusters’ fortunes seem to hinge on former Georgia cornerback Nick Marshall, who will play quarterback at Garden City. The 6-3, 190-pound

sophomore played in every game for the Bulldogs last season on defense as a reserve, but was kicked off the team in February along with two teammates for a violation of team rules. Marshall was an all-state quarterback at Wilcox County (Ga.) High School and was also offered a basketball scholarship at Georgia. Garden City’s top two defensive returners were both honorable mention All-Jayhawk last season – defensive end Kitray Solomon (6-2, 240) and linebacker Deilouse Jackson (5-11, 225). Schedule Aug. 25 at Independence Saturday Cisco (Texas) 7 Sept. 8 Hutchinson 7 Sept. 22 at Air Force Prep 2 Sept. 29 Fort Scott 7 Oct. 6 at Butler 7 Oct. 13 at Highland 1 Oct. 20 Dodge City 7 Oct. 27 Coffeyville 7

7. Highland Coach: Ryan Held, first season. 2011: 1-8, 1-5. Outlook: Held was the offensive coordinator at Butler last season, and has been a head coach on the NCAA Division II level at Panhandle State and in the NAIA at Peru State. Last season, the Scotties infamously gave up 89 and 90 points in back-to-back losses to Butler and Hutchinson. Held brings in Alabama State transfer Shunquez Stephens to run the offense. Stephens (6-5, 240) has the size and arm strength to be an impact player right away under Held, who tutored Connecticut starter last Chandler Whitmer last year at Butler.

Aug. 25 Saturday Sept. 8 Sept. 22 Sept. 29 Oct. 6 Oct. 13 Oct. 22 Oct. 28

Schedule Fort Scott at NE Oklahoma at Dodge City Butler Hutchinson at Coffeyville Garden City Benedictine JV at Independence

1 1 1 1 1 1 4 2

8. Independence Coach: Steve Carson, third season, 4-15. 2011: 0-9, 0-6. Outlook: Absolutely brutal year for the Pirates in 2011 – including blowout losses to Butler (63-0), Trinity Valley (63-0) and Hutch (70-0). The Pirates do have their quarterback returning in sophomore TyQuan Hayes and a pair of offensive linemen in Trey McCluskey (6-3, 290) and Newton product Jacob McGuire (6-2, 275). “I’m optimistic about what we’ve got coming back,” Carson said. “But I’m also realistic about what the other teams have.” Schedule Aug. 25 Garden City Saturday SE Texas Prep 1 Sept. 8 Arkansas Baptist 1 Sept. 15 Butler 7 Sept. 22 at Coffeyville 7 Sept. 29 at Dodge City 7 Oct. 6 Fort Scott 7 Oct. 13 at Hutchinson 7 Oct. 28 Highland 2


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2G THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

Class 5A crown in Carroll’s sights

FIND YOUR TEAM’S PREVIEW Andale ..............................................12G Andover ..............................................8G Andover Central.................................8G Argonia.............................................18G Arkansas City.....................................8G Attica ................................................18G Augusta............................................13G Belle Plaine ......................................15G Bluestem ..........................................15G Buhler .................................................8G Burrton .............................................18G Caldwell ...........................................18G Campus..............................................6G Carroll.................................................2G Cedar Vale-Dexter ...........................18G Central-Burden................................18G Centre ..............................................18G Chaparral .........................................15G Cheney.............................................16G Circle................................................13G Clearwater .......................................13G Conway Springs..............................16G Cunningham ....................................18G Derby ..................................................6G Douglass ..........................................15G El Dorado .........................................12G Fairfield.............................................18G Garden Plain....................................15G Goddard.............................................9G Goddard Eisenhower ........................9G Goessel............................................18G Halstead...........................................14G Haven ...............................................14G Hesston............................................14G Hillsboro...........................................14G Hutchinson.........................................8G Hutch Central Christian ..................18G Hutch Trinity .....................................18G Inman................................................18G Kapaun ...............................................2G Kingman ...........................................14G Lyons ................................................14G Madison ...........................................18G Maize ..................................................6G Maize South .....................................10G Marion ..............................................18G McPherson.........................................8G Medicine Lodge...............................15G Moundridge .....................................18G Mulvane............................................12G Newton ...............................................8G Nickerson .........................................14G Norwich............................................18G Oxford ..............................................18G Peabody-Burns................................18G Pratt..................................................14G Pratt Skyline.....................................18G Pretty Prairie ....................................18G Remington........................................18G Rose Hill...........................................12G Salina Central ....................................8G Salina South.......................................8G Sedan...............................................18G Sedgwick .........................................18G Smoky Valley....................................14G South Barber ...................................18G South Haven ....................................18G Sterling.............................................14G Sunrise Academy ............................18G Trinity Academy ...............................16G Udall .................................................18G Valley Center....................................10G Wellington ..........................................8G Wichita Collegiate...........................13G Wichita East.......................................4G Wichita Heights .................................3G Wichita Independent.......................16G Wichita North.....................................4G Wichita Northwest.............................3G Wichita South ....................................3G Wichita Southeast .............................3G Wichita West .....................................2G Winfield ..............................................8G

Carroll. “We’ve been to the top, and we need to get to the top and win it,” Palmer said. “We know what it takes. I think we’ve got it this year. “… In everything you do, the state championship is in the back of your mind. (You know) that every part of your life affects your teammates and affects the team and it needs to affect the team in a positive way.” Carroll’s program has definitely become one of the state’s best. The Eagles, who won the 5A title in 1978, had eight winning seasons from 1977-94, but under Schuckman, Carroll has qualified for the playoffs the past 12 years and had one losing season, his first in 1995. Yet Schuckman knew his team needed to reach another level when Hutchinson dropped into 5A in 2008. Carroll did and beat Hutchinson in 2010 and 2011. “I think that elevated our program, and I hope we can build on that this year and take it to another level,” he said. But with Hutch no longer an obstacle, what will Carroll focus on to continue improving the program? “The kids want a state championship,” Schuckman said. For that to happen, Carroll must cut down on turnovers in the postseason, which has been an issue for the Eagles. They’ve had multiple turnovers in each postseason loss the past few seasons. They’ll also rely heavily on Palmer, who Schuckman compares favorably to Carroll graduate Blake Bell, a redshirt sophomore at Oklahoma. “Zeke is not far off from what Blake did, as far as making all the throws,” Schuckman said. “They’re both physical runners and they have

BY JOANNA CHADWICK The Wichita Eagle

The question posed to Bishop Carroll senior quarterback Zeke Palmer was simple and straightforward. And so was the answer. “State championship is the main thing,” Palmer said in response to what Carroll’s expectations are for the 2012 season. Such a statement isn’t mere folly. It’s a team with talent, starting with Palmer (2,173 passing yards, 65.4 completion percentage) and Carroll’s 37 seniors. There’s the backfield of Jalen Hernandez and Denzel Goolsby, both speedy and physical. There’s the veteran offensive line led by Bryce Barrientos and a dangerous receiving corps of Matt Denning and Matt Henning, who both had more than 500 receiving yards. Throw in the fact that Hutchinson, which won three of the last four Class 5A titles and won 6A titles from 2004-07, is back in 6A, and the road to the 5A title looks good. But coach Alan Schuckman doesn’t want the team, or fans, to get too far ahead of themselves. “People are crazy,” he said. “There were so many people, when they saw Hutchinson moved to 6A, (say) we had a walk to the state championship game. That’s nuts. It’s not easy. “There are no guarantees. We’ve put ourselves in position to compete for a state championship, but there are no guarantees.” Schuckman, in his 17th season, led Carroll to the 5A title game in 2007 and 2010. In 2007, several key players didn’t play due to breaking team rules. In 2010, Carroll beat Hutchinson in the semifinals, ending the Salthawks’ string of six state titles, but Blue Valley’s size dominated

Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle

Bryce Barrientos, left, Zeke Palmer and Matt Denning hope to lead Bishop Carroll to the Class 5A title in November. Carroll lost in the 5A semifinals last season.

CARROLL GOLDEN EAGLES

Schuckman

Befort

Buchanan

At a glance

Top skill players Ht. 6-1 5-9 6-2 5-11

Wt. 205 190 190 165

Pos QB RB WR FS

Cyphert

Hamilton

At a glance

Ht. 6-3 6-3 6-2 6-2

Wt. 250 255 220 240

Pos OL DL DE OL

Top skill players Player Nick Heiland Josh Wondra Alex Schutz Sam Wescott

Ht. 5-11 6-2 5-9 5-10

Wt. 195 175 165 160

Pos RB LB DB LB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Ht. 6-4 6-1 6-3 6-3

Wt. 290 235 240 310

Pos OL OL DE OL

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Top linemen Player Roc Cyphert Alex Lutz Timmy Hamilton Craig Lantz

Heiland

WEST PIONEERS

Wescott

Northwest Southeast South West North at Carroll at Arkansas City Andover Andover Central

Schartz

Fonseca

Jones

At a glance L,28-6 W,40-23 W,35-15 W,56-8 W,50-6 L,20-13 W,54-7 W,56-34 W,41-7

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 13 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

Yr Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr.

Thursday Heights (at Carpenter) Sept. 7 North Sept. 14 South Sept. 21 West (at Northwest) Sept. 28 at Northwest Kapaun Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Eisenhower at Goddard BRYCE BARRIENTOS ON HIS TEAM Oct. 19 Liberal Oct. 26 What Carroll does well: “One big thing is our leadership. There’s always that stepping stool, finding that leader from year to year. There isn’t that this year. There’s leaders established heading into the season, like Zeke, myself, Bryce Harvey, Zach Befort.” What has to improve: “We have new players coming in, so our camaraderie, team chemistry will Please see CARROLL, Page 17G need to get better. And your work ethic can never be up to par. You can always have a better workout.”

2011 results

Coach: Dan Adelhardt, eighth season, 44-28 Last season: 8-3, lost in second round of 5A playoffs Last five seasons: 32-19 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

L,45-14 W,41-12 W,42-14 W,31-7 W,48-7 W,20-13 W,54-7 W,42-0 W,32-24 W,24-7 W,56-20 L,29-21

Heights at South Southeast at Northwest East Kapaun at Liberal West Hutchinson Salina South Emporia Hutchinson

2012 schedule

KAPAUN CRUSADERS

Adelhardt

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Bryce Barrientos Zach Befort Patrick Dugan Matt Johnson

Hernandez

2011 results

Coach: Alan Schuckman, 17th season, 139-40 Last season: 10-2, lost in semifinals of 5A playoffs Last five seasons: 51-10 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Player Zeke Palmer Jalen Hernandez Matt Denning John Buchanan

Harvey

Northwest (at WSU) Southeast (at WSU) North (at Carpenter) at Heights East (at WSU) at Carroll West (at NW) Arkansas City (at WSU) Andover Central (at WSU)

Top skill players Ht. 6-0 5-10 5-9 5-11

Wt. 190 150 175 200

Pos FB-LB WR TE-LB LB

Yr Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Blake Legleiter Trevon Riley Virgilio Vega Nathan Clark

Vega

2011 results

Coach: Weston Schartz, first season Last season: 1-8 Last five seasons: 6-39 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player Trevon Mitchell Sharquez Brobst Angel Fonseca Nic Day

Mitchell

Ht. 6-0 5-10 6-3 6-0

Wt. 320 275 250 310

Pos OL-DL OL-DL OL-DL OL-DL

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

South East at Heights Kapaun Southeast North Hutchinson at Carroll Liberal

L,30-13 L,49-33 L,66-0 L,56-8 L,48-20 W,28-13 L,62-12 L,42-0 L,42-40

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 27 Oct. 4 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

South (at Northwest) East (at Northwest) Southeast (at Carpenter) Carroll (at Northwest) Heights (at Northwest) North (at Heights) Kapaun (at Northwest) at Andover Central at Arkansas City

SAM WESCOTT ON HIS TEAM

BLAKE LEGLEITER ON HIS TEAM

What Kapaun does well: "We’re looking to run the football. We’re trying to look to returning to out-toughing people, and a lot of that starts in the weight room. We changed our workout this summer to more conditioning so we can out-tough people and outlast people." What has to improve: "It’s just fine-tuning the little things. We definitely have the players, it’s just kind of coming together. It’s the little things — we talk about special teams — that’s going to win and lose football games."

What West does well: “It’s not just one particular thing. We’re Pioneers and a Pioneer is a hard worker. It hasn’t shown in the previous years, and it might not show in the score, but we would never give up.” What has to improve: “We have to get the pride back. From the offseason during the summer and conditioning, you can see it. When you get your pride back, you’ll get your mojo back, and that’s what we’ve been fighting.”

Kapaun line should open holes Schartz begins to rebuild again BY JEFFREY LUTZ The Wichita Eagle

The beef on Kapaun Mount Carmel’s offensive line has Crusaders coach Dan Adelhardt projecting his own hypothetical statistics. "I could be running behind them, I should be getting yards," Adelhardt said. Adelhardt will have to settle for calling plays for tailback Nick Heiland. Part of a trio of successful runners last season, Heiland will be the primary back for Kapaun. It’s a job many would probably like to have, since it comes with the benefits of holes opened by 6-foot-4,

290-pound Roc Cyphert, Craig Lantz (6-3, 310), and the little guy of the group, Alex Lutz (6-1, 235). Those mammoths will also protect a new quarterback. Landon Root, who shared time last season with Nathan Degenhardt, transferred to Collegiate, leaving the recently-rich Crusaders inexperienced behind center. Instead of the torch being passed from Keaton Lewis to Degenhardt to Root, it goes to the unproven Blake Torline. Adelhardt said the team was initially rattled by the news of Root’s departure but has remained steadfast since. "It started before practice —

I think it’s a real resilient group," Adelhardt said. "We’ve had some things happen, and people have just said, ‘You know what, I want to be here and I want to play football.’ And that’s what we want — we want kids who want to be at Kapaun and kids who want to play football." Helping to get past the shuffling is the look of the team. The Crusaders return six starters, but they come at important positions. Torline has recent history on his side, too — Degenhardt went from being a less-heralded quarterback to one who started two postseason games last season.

BY JOANNA CHADWICK The Wichita Eagle

In 25 seasons of coaching football at West and Northwest, Weston Schartz has had four losing seasons and won 155 games. It’s no surprise that his return to West, where he coached from 1987 to 2001, taking the Pioneers to the Class 6A title game in 1997, has been met with excitement and high expectations. But the return of Schartz, who spent the past 10 seasons at Northwest, doesn’t mean West is suddenly going to challenge for the Class 5A title or even the City League

title. “I don’t have a magic wand,” he said. “We’ll just work hard. Get back to basics, running, blocking, tackling. Let them understand that we have to work hard to win games. Bring back that bluecollar mentality. We’re going to build up our defense; that’s how we used to win. If you play defense, you better get after it.” West has won 17 games in the past 10 years, including three one-win seasons and a winless record in 2007. There are plenty of question marks for the Pioneers, such as who will be the focus of a run-oriented offense.

Gone is Arnez Jones, who ran for a City League-high 1,405 yards on 298 carries. The yardage ranks him 18th in single-season league history. Trevon Mitchell could be a key there, along with junior Danny Jones, a dual-threat quarterback who transferred from North. The offensive and defensive lines will have four senior starters, which helps, but depth could be an issue. “Our defensive-line depth will be our Achilles heel,” Schartz said. “We will have a lot of two-way guys, so we’ll be trying to find other defensive linemen who can fill in and get going.”


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SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 3G

HEIGHTS FALCONS

Wheeler

Ammons

Gonzalez

At a glance

Top skill players Ht. 6-3 6-3 5-11 5-11

Wt. 175 195 175 195

Pos QB FS RB LB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Ht. 6-1 6-1 6-3 6-0

Wt. 250 245 250 275

Pos DL DL OL OL

Yr Jr. Jr. Sr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Aderio Ammons Vincent Dixon Ricardo Gonzales Dominique Calhoun

Reed

Martin

2011 results

Coach: Rick Wheeler, 14th season, 103-34 Last season: 12-1, lost in Class 6A title game Last five seasons: 47-12 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Player Chris Reed Jet Moreland Toma King Antoine Campbell

Moreland

NORTHWEST GRIZZLIES

W,45-14 W,63-0 W,66-0 W,55-14 W,41-21 W,52-0 W,62-0 W,62-6 W,49-35 W,43-0 W,35-3 W,34-14 L,41-37

2012 schedule Carroll (at Carpenter) at South at Dodge City Kapaun West (at Northwest) Northwest East (at Northwest) Southeast Derby

JET MORELAND ON HIS TEAM What Heights does well: “I would say defense because I play defense. I have to face my guys on defense. But we do have guys on offense who played last year, like Toma King and Chris Reed.” What has to improve: “I think the chemistry between most players. It’s developed from the start, but sometimes it’s the guys who don’t really hang out during school. If we do (hang out), then we become a stronger team.”

Falcons turn into young team monitor that Marquel Moore and (Top 11 selection) Matt Reed have left the school. They were big strengths, but the younger kids that come in, they don’t know those guys and what they’re capable of.” Heights also has its tradition to fall back on. “The tradition will help in the same way our tradition used to hurt us, when we could be better than an opponent but not win because of the obstacles that come with bad tradition,” Heights coach Rick Wheeler said. Heights, which usually has more than 30 seniors, has around 20. There’s a small

BY JOANNA CHADWICK The Wichita Eagle

Heights free safety Jet Moreland is pretty sure area football fans are counting out the Falcons. While they played in the last three Class 6A title games, winning in 2010, Heights only has four returning starters and will be relying on many sophomores. Expectations haven’t changed, though. “For the players that play, I don’t think they have,” Moreland said. “Every player on the field for Heights believes we have a chance to go to state again. I think people

junior class, too. Heights’ key returners include Moreland and Aderio Ammons, a strong and quick junior defensive lineman. He had 99 tackles and 12½ sacks. “People will be tired of playing against him before he’s done,” Wheeler said. “He is going to demand attention from our opponents. He’s the guy that needs to be double- and triple-teamed.” But expect the Falcons’ offense to remain dangerous. Chris Reed, a speedy athlete, moves from receiver to quarterback, while Printence Byrd and Allen Garrett will likely take over the fullback spot.

Coach: Steve Martin, first season Last season: 7-3, lost in first round of 6A playoffs Last five seasons: 32-18 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Top skill players Player Chris Hughes Deron Thompson Dakota Dilsaver Erin Gaither

Ht. 6-3 5-9 5-9 6-0

Birkes

Martin

At a glance

Top skill players Ht. 5-5 6-1 5-10 5-7

Wt. 150 185 190 170

Pos Ath-S WR-S LB-S RB-CB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Top linemen Player Dillon Young Seth Birkes Elijah Morrison Isaiah Murdock

Ht. 5-10 5-10 6-0 5-10

Wt. 280 235 245 225

Pos NG C RT LG

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

West at Carroll Kapaun East Hays Heights North at Campus at Northwest at Garden City

Murdock

Ht. 6-0 6-0 6-0 5-11

Yr Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr.

Wt. 260 260 230 240

Pos OL OL OL OL

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

W,28-6 W,14-7 W,34-6 L,31-7 L,41-21 W,35-14 W,40-10 W,55-0 W,63-16 L,21-14

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 20 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

Kapaun (at WSU) Dodge City East Southeast (at Carpenter) Carroll at Heights at Campus North at South

ALEX LEE ON HIS TEAM What Northwest does well: “Our speed, definitely that’s our strength. We don’t have the 6-3, 6-5 players that a lot of teams will have, so we have to outmaneuver them with our speed. Speed kills, especially on our defense. Dakota Dilsaver is a returning starter, and … he’s getting them tougher.” What has to improve: “There’s always room to condition because right when you get into that playoff time, everybody’s beat up. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to want it.”

Martin takes over at Northwest BY JOANNA CHADWICK The Wichita Eagle

The only way Steve Martin intended to vacate his position as the Heights defensive coordinator was if the right kind of job came along. And when Weston Schartz left Northwest after 10 years to return to West, the decision to apply was easy. "When I was looking (for a coaching job), I told (Heights coach Rick) Wheeler that I’d leave for the right job. I believe this is it," Martin said. "You look at the current roster, and you think you can hit the ground running…. It’s one of the City League schools that you look at that has had so much talent over there. It’s a scary opponent.

Asmussen

We knew at Heights that we would always get a good game. Looking at the talent, there’s some things you could do in Year 1. It’s not a rebuilding job by any means.” The offense has the kind of talent that opposing defenses must take note of, especially in the backfield. Northwest continually churns out top running backs, but for the first time, juniors Deron Thompson and Christian Sanders, along with sophomore Karol Williams, will be coming out of a no-huddle, spread offense. They’ve got the speed, athleticism and physicality that will be extremely dangerous in an offense designed to create space. Thompson, a track athlete

Dawson

Smith

At a glance W,30-13 L,41-12 L,35-15 W,28-27 L,40-20 L,52-0 W,20-18 W,30-14 L,63-16 L,35-7

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 4 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

Pos WR-QB RB DB WR-QB

Kapaun at Dodge City East Carroll at Heights Southeast Campus North South Derby

who struggled with a hamstring injury in the spring, is at full strength. He rushed for nearly 1,000 yards during the 2011 regular season. “We think Deron will have a breakout year…. He can run outside or inside, and he doesn’t shy away from going inside,” Martin said. With the spread offense, Northwest will depend on either Chris Hughes or Erin Gaither at quarterback. “We want to utilize that,” Martin said. “You can see the option game is back with the success at Hutch and Heights. It gives you another person you have to key off of. And when you have a quarterback who can run the ball, it makes the defense’s job a lot harder.”

SOUTHEAST GOLDEN BUFFALOES

2011 results

Coach: Kevin Steiner, first season Last season: 4-6, lost in first round of 6A playoffs Last five seasons: 14-33 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Player Omar Martin Davontae Harris Kyle Elliott Darius Taylor

McCullouch

Wt. 190 175 155 190

Top linemen Player Kyle Lee Alex Lee Bryce Morgan Isaiah Wattree

Thompson

2011 results

SOUTH TITANS

Steiner

Morgan

At a glance

at Carroll North West Great Bend Northwest at South East Southeast at Derby Washburn Rural Garden City Derby Olathe South

Thursday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 27 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

Dilsaver

West (at Northwest) Heights at Carroll East at Hays Southeast North (at Heights) Campus Northwest

Top skill players Ht. 5-11 6-0 5-9 6-2

Wt. 185 170 170 215

Pos FB QB DB LB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Curtis Smith Larry Ford Tyler McCurry Alonzo Ross

Young

2011 results

Coach: Chris Asmussen, second season, 3-6 Last season: 3-6 Last five seasons: 20-27 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player William Young Abiel Teike Zontrell Hadyway Ryan Dawson

Tekie

Ht. 6-0 5-10 5-11 5-6

Wt. 250 270 320 180

Pos OT OT OG DT

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Dodge City Kapaun Carroll North West at Northwest at Derby Heights East

L,69-46 L,40-23 L,42-14 W,35-7 W,48-20 L,35-14 L,41-26 L,62-6 W,41-15

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 20 Sept. 28 Oct. 4 Oct. 11 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

at Dodge City Kapaun (at WSU) West (at Carpenter) Northwest (at Carpenter) North (at Heights) at South Derby (at Carpenter) at Heights East (at Carpenter)

DAVONTAE HARRIS ON HIS TEAM

CURTIS SMITH ON HIS TEAM

What South does well: “This year our defense is sky-high. We have a lot of speed and we’ll be flying to the ball.” What has to improve: “I think our work ethic is beginning to change a whole lot. We do everything as a team. I feel like we’ve bonded a lot more.”

What Southeast does well: “Our offense should be able to score again. Maybe we won’t have to score as much, but I think we’ll be able to.” What has to improve: “I think our defense is going to step up this year. Players know their roles and there’s a few new kids who are going to help.”

New South coach looks to build Buffs try new defensive scheme

we’re speaking the same language.” Steiner takes over a team that was the best of the City Kevin Steiner was named South High’s football coach in League’s second tier last seaJune, a time when most high son. The Titans (4-6) took their lumps against the school staffs have already completed their plans for the league’s best, but won close games against East and North upcoming season. and easily handled West and But having been an assisCampus. They were rewarded tant on South’s staff for nine of the past 10 years, including with a Class 6A playoff berth, losing at Garden City. running backs coach last “We had quite a bit of skillseason, Steiner comes wellposition players graduate, but equipped with knowledge we have seniors being able to about his players — and a full replace those skill positions,” closet of Titan gear. “You need to make changes Steiner said. Senior quarterback Kaale (to suit) your personnel,” Steiner said. “There’s going to McCullouch, a two-year starter, was third in City League be small changes. But the passing last year, throwing terminology’s the same, so BY KIRK SEMINOFF The Wichita Eagle

for 781 yards. He’ll be pushed by senior David Lowrey, who started a game when McCullouch was injured. Most of the offensive line remains, which will help a new starter at running back. Junior Darius Taylor (5-foot-7, 170 pounds) and senior Omar Martin (5-5, 150) figure to get the bulk of the workload. The Titans gave up a 34.3-point average last season, failing to hold any opponent to single digits. Steiner will change a 3-4 defense to a 4-3, and will lean on safeties Martin and Davontae Harris to lead. Senior Dillon Young (5-10, 280) anchors the defensive line at noseguard.

BY KIRK SEMINOFF The Wichita Eagle

Southeast’s football team averaged four touchdowns a night last season. Coach Chris Asmussen thinks the Buffaloes might score even more this season. The key is making that translate into more victories. Southeast was 3-6 last season, but from the outset — a 69-46 shootout loss to Dodge City — it was apparent that the defense had to stop giving up so many big plays and points. The Buffs gave up 37 points a game, including 151 in the first three weeks. “We were a bend-but-don’tbreak defense last year,”

Asmussen said. “The philosophy this year is changing, to be more aggressive and make the opponent make decisions faster.” With new defensive coordinator Geoff Martens, Asmussen calls it a high-risk, highreward defense. He thinks he has speedier athletes on defense able to make big plays — and not give them up. Linebackers figure to be the strength of the defense. Seniors Ryan Dawson, Brandon Friesen and Braden Burleson will anchor the group and be vocal leaders, Asmussen said. On offense, Southeast will stay with its option game and build around bruising run-

ning back William Young (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) and outside threat Lorenz Moore (5-6, 180). Senior quarterback Abiel Tekie, in his first year as a starter, is also a running threat. They run behind an experienced line that inserts two seniors with playing experience around three returning starters. It’s an ambitious schedule. The Buffaloes open against Dodge City, a game a year ago that featured 115 points and a 23-point Southeast loss. “It was like a track meet, everything going back and forth so fast,” Southeast tackle Curtis Smith said.


4G THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

EAST BLUE ACES

Byers

Barrera

Gates

At a glance

Top skill players Ht. 6-5 5-10 6-0 6-1

Wt. 185 160 205 225

Pos WR WR RB QB

Yr Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Teryn Brown Gilmar Barrera Michael Flynn Carlos Brown

Sparr

Sayahnejad

2011 results

Coach: Brian Byers, sixth season, 20-24 Last season: 2-7 Last five seasons: 25-29 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player J.J. Normore Garrett Gates Deonta Thomas T.J. Sparr

Normore

NORTH REDSKINS

Ht. 6-2 6-3 6-1 6-1

Wt. 230 285 235 220

Pos OL OL DL DL

Yr Jr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Gonzalez

At a glance W,28-14 W,49-33 L,34-6 L,28-27 L,48-7 L,62-0 L,57-13 L,41-15

North West at Northwest at South Carroll at Heights Derby Southeast

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

Bernard

North (at Carpenter) West (at Northwest) at Northwest at South Kapaun (at WSU) Garden City (at Carpenter) Heights (at Carpenter) at Derby Southeast (at Carpenter)

Mathiasen

2011 results

Coach: Kelley Sayahnejad, third season, 1-17 Last season: 1-8 Last five seasons: 7-39 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Top skill players Player Sean Bernard Leon Williams Torian Gonzalez Nathaniel Muci

Ht. 6-3 5-11 5-10 5-10

Wt. 205 180 170 210

Pos RB-LB RB-S WR-CB TE-LB

Yr Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 13 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 4 Oct. 12 Oct. 19

Top linemen Player Jonathan Villanueva Daniel Mathiasen Caleb Franklin Jose Chavarria

Ht. 6-1 6-8 6-3 5-10

Wt. 250 320 220 310

Pos OG-DL OT-DT DE-RB OL

L,28-14 L,63-0 L,63-6 L,35-7 L,50-6 L,28-13 L,20-18 L,55-0 W,30-15

East at Heights Dodge City Southeast Kapaun West at South Northwest Campus

Yr Sr. Jr. Jr. Sr.

East (at Carpenter) at Carroll Kapaun (at Carpenter) at Great Bend Southeast (at Heights) West (at Heights) South (at Heights) at Northwest

GILMAR BARRERA ON HIS TEAM

SEAN BERNARD ON HIS TEAM

What East does well: “We’ve worked harder in the offseason — harder than in any of the three years that I’ve been here. It shows that people are really willing to work hard and get other people interested in coming out.” What has to improve: “We have to stay away from injuries because we don’t have a lot of depth. I feel like T.J. (Sparr) has great size for a high-school quarterback and Deonta can be a great running back, but we need to develop some more weapons to win games.”

What North does well: “We’ve got some big guys (on the line), kind of like fullbacks in the backfield. We feel like we can pound the ball against people and make them try to stop us.” What has to improve: “It’s going to be a different team from last year. We’re going to be in a lot more games and finish them instead of just being in them.”

North builds behind linemen Sparr returns to lead Blue Aces BY TONY ADAME The Wichita Eagle

There are athletes all over the football field for East – players with the size, speed and strength to become stars in the City League. That they can play together as a cohesive unit and win football games is yet to be determined – the Aces went 2-7 last season and haven’t had a winning season since 2008. Of even more concern might be how they finished 2011 – four straight blowout losses against Carroll (48-7), Heights (62-0), Derby (57-13) and Southeast (41-15). “Heights, Carroll and Northwest are still the teams everybody needs to get by in the league,” said sixth-year East coach Brian Byers. “But after that we’re all kind of there together. We had a great summer with 60 or 70 kids consistently at weights … if we can stay healthy, we feel like we can compete.” The Aces’ hopes could hinge on the ability of senior quarterback T.J. Sparr

BY KIRK SEMINOFF The Wichita Eagle

“Heights, Carroll and Northwest are still the teams everybody needs to get by in the league. But after that we’re all kind of there together. We had a great summer with 60 or 70 kids consistently at weights … if we can stay healthy, we feel like we can compete.” Brian Byers, East coach to shake off rust from taking a year off to focus on baseball. Sparr (6-foot-1, 225 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in less than 4.6 seconds this summer, according to Byers, and has the arm to get the ball to proven targets J.J. Normore (6-5, 185) and Garrett Gates (6-foot, 155). “T.J. played quite a bit of running back for us his freshman and sophomore years,” Byers said. “I think he missed (playing football) ... he’s a pretty good athlete and having him dictates we will probably run the ball a little more but we will also need to be able to throw it.” Senior Gilmar Barrera (6-2, 295) is a three-year starter on the offensive line and will be called upon to

guide sophomore Griffen Ness (6-foot, 240, who started several games last season. Junior center Teryn Brown (6-2, 225) is also a returning starter. Deonta Thomas (6-foot, 205 pounds), an honorable mention All-City running back, is also back, although Byers thinks he could make a bigger impact on defense at middle linebacker. Sophomore running back Calil Burnett — who finished 10th in the Class 6A 100 -meters dash in May — could pick up some carries. “(Thomas) could end up playing more at middle linebacker than running back,” Byers said. “He’s a strong, powerful kid.”

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North had more than 60 players show up for football conditioning this summer, about 50 percent more than coach Kelley Sayahnejad saw in his first two seasons. “It was the best summer in three summers of my tenure,” Sayahnejad said. “The kids have worked hard to change expectations. I kind of feel like we’re on an upswing.” More players is a good start. Sayahnejad hopes that leads to better depth and competition for starting positions. He weathered through a one-win 2011 season — the final-game win over Campus ended an 0-17 start — with a young team that returns plenty of offensive size. “We had such a young team last year but we have so many guys coming back,” junior Sean Bernard said. “Everybody got bigger and stronger over the summer. We’ll be able to compete a lot better.” North got out of its spread offense late last season and will keep its two-back set this year. Quarterback Danny Jones transferred to West, but the Redskins will run more

more and throws well, Sayahnejad said, while Beard learned the position over the summer and brings athleticism from the basketball court, where he’s the Redskins’ point guard. North will look for defensive leadership early without Bernard, the starting middle linebacker and 2011 tackles leader. The Redskins gave up a 41.2-point average last season, allowing 63 twice in the first three weeks.

because of a line built around left tackle Daniel Mathiasen (6-8, 320) and guard Jonathan Villanueva (6-1, 250). Senior tailback Leon Williams rushed for 408 yards last season and will get the bulk of the carries, especially with Bernard out early with a broken foot. Caleb Franklin (6-3, 220) will also see carries. Josh Bryan and Zach Beard are competing for the quarterback job. Bryan started two games last season as a sopho-

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 5G

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6G THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

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Shantz steps in at Derby

DERBY PANTHERS

BY JOANNA CHADWICK The Wichita Eagle

The spotlight on a high school’s starting quarterback is always bright, especially for one who plays on a team considered to be a state title contender. But what’s shining on Derby senior Chandler Shantz might be better described as a glare. “There’s a lot of pressure, from the fan base and a lot of the parents,” he said. “And the coaches, there’s a lot of high expectations, so it’s a lot of pressure.” See, Shantz (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) transferred to Derby (Class 6A and football crazed) from Buhler (4A), where he threw for more than 1,000 yards. And he’s expected to be one of the state’s top quarterbacks. And put up big passing numbers. And lead Derby to the 6A title. Can he do it? Sure. He has a strong throwing arm with the ability to hit the short passes and make the deep throws. He’s got speed and experience; he started at Buhler, which has a solid football tradition, for two years. The pressure isn’t all on Shantz, either, because this team is loaded. Derby, which lost last season to Heights in the Class 6A semifinals, returns Tyler West at running back, All-Metro pick DeAndre Goolsby at tight end, backup quarterback Kellen Sims has moved to wide receiver, All-Metro pick Cole Hansen is back on the offensive line and defensive back Travis Young provides speed and experience in the secondary. Yet it’s tough not to focus on Shantz. And he feels it. “There’s always talk,” Shantz said. “Everyone’s talking, ‘We have a new quarterback and he’s supposed to be good.’ There’s a lot of pressure to live up to being a quarterback that can lead a 6A team to a potential 6A title. That’s obviously a

Clark

Ayer

Littleton

At a glance

Ht. 6-1 6-4 6-1 5-11

Wt. 210 215 195 185

Pos RB QB DB WR

Yr Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr.

Ht. 6-5 6-3 6-4 5-10

Wt. 225 265 235 240

Pos TE OL OL OL

Yr Jr. Jr. Jr. Jr.

Chandler Shantz from Derby could be one of the better quarterbacks in the Wichita area. pretty big task. “I’m pretty nervous, to be honest with you, about the season. I’ll keep working hard…. We’re working hard every day and we have potential. But there’s a lot of pressure to meet that potential.” Shantz transferred to Derby because of his father’s job. Jim Shantz wanted to be closer to an airport because of the travel involved in his human resources job. Jim Shantz said that he talked to multiple high school coaches about the best place for his son to play, but laments that has been misconstrued as shopping his son. “We didn’t really look around,” Shantz said. “I knew I was moving and Chan

Chavez

wanted to come with. We talked to people that we respected to get their opinions.” Some of the coaches he said he talked to include McPherson’s Tom Young and West’s Weston Schartz. “It seemed like everyone we talked to said that (Derby) Coach (Brandon) Clark is a great guy, he pushes the kids, he teaches them,” Shantz said. “… It’s a system that Chan will learn a bunch in.” When Shantz transferred to Derby in February, he did so quietly. “He was really humble about himself,” Sims said. “He wasn’t cocky. We all welcomed him. We put him on the spot when we went to Please see DERBY, Page 17G

Englert

Coach: Mike Schartz, fourth season, 5-23 Last season: 1-8 Last five seasons: 7-39 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Top skill players Wt. 175 175 160 175

Pos WR-CB RB-CB RB-OLB RB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Top linemen Player Josh Englert Christian Livingston Ross Anderson Zane Vickers

Ht. 6-2 6-1 6-0 6-3

Wt. 280 260 240 265

at Salina South Andover Central at Maize Salina Central Campus at Hutchinson Southeast (at Carpenter) East at Heights

What Derby does well: “Our whole team is our strength. We’re all together, we’re all a family, we’re all brothers out there and we play to protect each other. I couldn’t single out one strength.” What has to improve: “Mental errors. We need to reduce mental errors and play hard every down. Being a senior, we don’t have many more downs to play. We need to go out there and play as hard as we can every play and cut down our mental errors.”

Panthers hold expectations close “We know that we have potential to be good,” senior wide receiver Kellen Sims said. “But we have a lot to work on.” Just as any other team in any Derby returns experienced other sport, Derby has set a players, many of whom were series of goals. But coach Brandon Clark isn’t sharing them. Not thrust into action because of even when it was suggested that multiple injuries. In the 6A semifinal, Derby had seven backups this team is talented enough to starting. set its sights on winning Class Derby’s defense will be solid 6A. with safety Travis Young and Class 6A is deep in western linebacker Ben Becker, but the districts 5-8 with Hutchinson moving back up from 5A, which Panthers’ strength is its offense with quarterback Chandler it won last season. Heights is down but played in the last three Shantz, who transferred from 6A title games, winning in 2010. Buhler, and backup Jeremy There’s also Northwest, Junction Dunham. Junior running back Tyler City and Washburn Rural.

BY JOANNA CHADWICK The Wichita Eagle

Harlmon

Pos C-DL RT-DL DL NG

Yr Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr.

Salina South at Maize Salina Central Derby Newton Andover Central at Northwest South at North

Morrow

Guzman

Baalman

Fountain

At a glance L,60-28 W,21-20 L,49-20 L,41-6 L,21-17 L,27-12 L,40-10 L,30-14 L,30-15

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

West (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) had more than 1,000 rushing yards. “He’s been in big games, he’s the guy who wants to carry the ball in big situations,” Clark said. Tight end DeAndre Goolsby (6-6, 225) was named to The Eagle’s All-Metro team and had 157 receiving yards in the 6A semifinal loss to Heights. “He’s pretty special,” Clark said. He’s part of an offensive line that includes All-Metro selection Cole Hansen. The line returns after adjusting to a big learning curve as sophomores. They’re physical and agile, and as a group, they can be dominant.

MAIZE EAGLES

2011 results

Ht. 6-0 5-11 5-8 5-8

Thursday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 11 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

KELLEN SIMS ON HIS TEAM Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle

At a glance

Player JT Harlmon Jordan Morrow Junior Guerrero Kaden Ivy

L,30-27 L,34-13 W,35-14 W,41-6 W,42-0 W,42-14 W,41-26 W,57-13 L,49-35 W,21-14 W,39-28 L,34-14

2012 schedule

Top linemen

CAMPUS COLTS

Schartz

at Salina Central at Hutchinson Maize Campus at Andover at Salina Sout Southeast East Heights Northwest Manhattan Heights

Top skill players

Player DeAndre Goolsby Cole Hansen Tanner Anderson Quentin Cox

Trease

2011 results

Coach: Brandon Clark, seventh season, 37-28 Last season: 8-4, lost in semifinals of 6A playoffs Last five seasons: 36-20 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Player Tyler West Chandler Shantz Travis Young Kellen Sims

Sims

Andover at Hutchinson Newton at Salina South at Derby Maize Northwest at W. South North

Top skill players Ht. 6-2 6-1 5-11 5-10

Wt. 178 183 179 175

Pos QB WR RB WR

Yr So. Sr. Jr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Collin Nitcher Blaise Fountain Spencer Baalman Joseph Hamer

Schultz

2011 results

Coach: Gary Guzman, second season, 3-6 Last season: 3-6 Last five seasons: 16-31 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player Conner Lungwitz Jordan Schultz Chase White Dane Byfield

Nitcher

Ht. 5-9 6-1 6-3 6-0

Wt. 176 262 235 216

Pos C OL OL OL

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Newton Campus at Derby Andover at Salina Central at Hutchinson Garden City at Dodge City Goddard

W,11-8 (OT) L,21-20 L,35-14 W,14-0 L,21-17 L,47-27 L,27-0 L,49-22 W,41-8

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

, at Newton at Salina South Derby at Goddard Salina Central at Campus at Garden City Dodge City Hutchinson

JT HARLMON ON HIS TEAM

JORDAN SCHULTZ ON HIS TEAM

What Campus does well: “On Sundays we like to go out and throw the ball around together. Sometimes we even play ‘Call of Duty’ together. It builds team, it gets us all together. We have to learn that chemistry.” What has to improve: “I think we’ll be a better team offensively than last year.”

What Maize does well: “The guys are real close. We all flow together pretty easily. We’ve played football together for quite awhile.” What has to improve: “Moving the ball on offense. We struggled with that a little bit last year. But we got it figured out over the summer, so I think that will be a little bit better.”

Colts get ready to throw the ball Eagles will build from solid line

Bishop Carroll as a freshman before transferring to Campus. He’s unproven at the Mike Schartz was a Heights varsity level, but he received sophomore class honors at a football assistant in the mid-2000s, when quarterback recent potential five-star quarterback camp in Florida. Cameron Kasel threw for “We’re going to be able to more than 4,700 yards over throw the football finally,” two seasons. Schartz said. So not to put pressure on JT Harlmon was the Colts’ his 2012 Campus quarterquarterback last season, but back, John Bradley Becker, he’ll move to receiver and but Schartz says Becker is start at cornerback, as well. faster and throws the ball Campus was 1-8 last season better than Kasel did. but averaged 17 points and “He wants to be the next was competitive in many Blake Bell, that’s his goal,” games. Schartz said. “He’s got an Last season’s problem was extraordinary work ethic. turnovers — 31 in nine games. He’s going to be there. He’s “We moved the football and very motivated.” scored some points, but we Becker’s just a sophomore. had too many turnovers and He grew up in the Haysville school district, then attended put our defense in too many BY KIRK SEMINOFF The Wichita Eagle

bad situations,” Schartz said. “We were like Santa giving out Christmas presents.” Junior Kaden Ivy will get most of the carries at running back. He had almost 800 yards last season. The defense will be led by safety Gabe Chavez, a sophomore who moves over from corner. Campus continues in a tough top AV-CTL division, then competes in a Class 6A district with North, Northwest and South. Finishing in the top two and earning a playoff berth seems attainable. “Each week it’s a battle,” Schartz said. “We want to have that mentality like the TCUs and the Boise States, that we’re going to compete well against the best.”

in junior varsity games. Guzman likes his progress, especially as a passing threat. “He sits in the pocket pretty Maize coach Gary Guzman well and is very poised,” Guzis in the second season of man said. rebuilding the Eagles. The Seniors Collin Nitcher, strength of his team is right where a coach might choose — Spencer Baalman, Blaise Fountain and Joseph Hamer the line. lead the offensive line. The Eagles return four “When we come together starters from their offensive line, a group that is especially like that on the line, it really important as it protects soph- brings the rest of the offense together,” Nitcher, a secondomore quarterback Conner team All-Ark Valley-Chisholm Lungwitz. Trail League pick, said. “We “Everything starts with the offensive line,” Guzman said. were really young last year. We’re definitely stronger. “We’ve got a lot of seniors We’ve been in the weight starting and we feel like we room getting stronger.” have some pretty good leadership out of those seniors.” On defense, All-AV-CTL safety Lungwitz played in a few Landon Lemuz is the top returnvarsity games last season. er and must support an inexperiMost of his playing time came enced secondary. Guzman conBY PAUL SUELLENTROP The Wichita Eagle

siders his linebackers a strong point and likes his depth on the line. Senior Ethan Stallbaumer, an honorable-mention allleague pick, is back at linebacker. Senior Brayden Wood and junior Nick Benford highlight the line. Guzman, a former coach at Southeast and Kapaun Mount Carmel, looks forward to his second season at Maize. He was hired in the late spring of 2011, hampering his efforts to organize. “It’s been a lot easier this time around,” he said. “I didn’t really have a chance to get to know the kids. This time around I’m going through a whole year of conditioning. It’s certainly a much easier transition.”


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SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 7G

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SELECT SMARTPHONE

East 518 S Rock Road Wichita, KS 67207 316-652-0375

29th & Rock Road 3000 N Rock Road Wichita, KS 67226 316-630-8398

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maplE & RidgE 7130 W Maple Street, #120 Wichita, KS 67209 316-260-6653

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8G THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

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ANDOVER TROJANS

Lee

Biberstein

Ogden

At a glance

Rogers

Audley

Ht. 5-10 5-10 5-10 6-0

Wt. 160 170 160 160

Pos FB-S RB-DB WB DB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Ht. 6-2 6-0 5-10 6-1

Wt. 225 200 230 240

Pos DL-OL OL DL OL

L,47-20 L,45-23 W,28-8 L,14-0 L,42-0 L,21-0 L,40-6 L,56-34 L,41-28

2012 schedule at Campus Arkansas City at Eisenhower Independence at Andover Central Goddard Valley Center at Emporia Newton

Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

Top linemen Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Honeywell

Niemtschk

At a glance

McPherson at Newton Valley Center at Maize Derby Goddard Andover Central Kapaun Arkansas City

Top skill players

Player Conner White Jared Rogers Noah Harkness AJ Scholfield

White

2011 results

Coach: Mike Lee, sixth season, 26-23 Last season: 1-8 Last five seasons: 26-23 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player Mason Biberstein Chase Ogden Toshi Hayashi T.J. Barclay

ANDOVER CENTRAL JAGUARS

O’Connor

Page

2011 results

Coach: Tom Audley, 11th season, 75-29 Last season: 6-4, lost in first round of Class 5A playoffs Last five seasons: 34-27 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

at Goddard Salina Central at McPherson Valley Center at El Dorado at Campus Andover Arkansas City Kapaun Emporia

Top skill players Player Blake Meier Kolten Holinde Taylor Brown Cameron Hurley

Ht. 5-11 6-2 6-1 6-0

Wt. 165 185 205 175

Pos QB K-WR RB WR

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

Top linemen Player Derek Honeywell Jameson O’Connor Jake Page Corbin Niemtschk

Ht. 6-2 5-10 5-10 5-10

Wt. 210 225 165 180

Pos OL-DL OL-DL DL DL

W,23-18 L,41-19 L,26-14 W,20-8 W,45-14 W,27-12 W,40-6 W,47-21 L,41-7 L,56-20

Yr Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr.

Valley Center at Derby Goddard at Maize South Andover at Salina Central Arkansas City West Kapaun (at WSU)

CONNER WHITE ON HIS TEAM

DEREK HONEYWELL ON HIS TEAM

What Andover does well: “We’ve been with each other since third-grade football. We all like to have fun, but we all like to work hard at the same time.” What has to improve: “We had a little bit of a focus issue in practice the last couple years. From what I’ve seen in camp, the focus is going to be there and we’re going to be able to get stuff done in practice.”

What Andover Central does well: “We always have a great defense at Andover Central, and I think we’ll have a good one this year, too.” What has to improve: “Our offensive line. We’re not very big, but we’re pretty fast. If we can get down on the plays 100 percent, and get them down to every nook and cranny, I think we can be pretty good.”

Trojans growing into 5A team Central players commit to wins basketball coach Ryan Herrs as strength coach is helping. Herrs introduced a tougher regimen in the weight room after Christmas. “The intensity is up quite a bit and we can see a lot more change in each of our players and how strong they are,” senior lineman Conner White said. Herrs also introduced a sandwich station in the hallway outside the weight room after each session. Lee expects to have 15-20 seniors, many of whom are in their second or third season of starting. On offense, junior quarterback Nick Hess returns along with three-year starters Chase Ogden at tailback and Mason Biberstein at

BY PAUL SUELLENTROP The Wichita Eagle

Andover is committed to making the jump from Class 4A to Class 5A, one peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich at a time. With a chocolate milk chaser. The Trojans are entering their third season in 5A and coach Mike Lee said he believes his players must get bigger and stronger to compete. “The leap to 5A, it’s just huge,” he said. “You’re going against bigger people and you’re going against more of those people. That’s step one — being able to physically compete.” The hiring of former Derby

fullback. Wingback Toshi Hayashi is also a returning starter. White, Jerad Rogers, center Noah Harkness and guard A.J. Schofield help form an experienced line. “We’ve got a lot of older guys,” Lee said. “This is the class that’s been there during the transition from 4A to 5A. They’ve basically been 5A players.” Andover is 3-15 the past two seasons after going 18-4 in its final two seasons in Class 4A. “We’ve had a really good work ethic in the weight room,” Ogden said. “Everyone’s been pretty dedicated this summer to getting better and making this year different than the last couple years.”

into the playoffs and make it to state. It would mean everything to me and the team.” Honeywell and Jameson Andover Central coach Tom Audley doesn’t have to spend O’Connor, both returners, will anchor a deep offensive line. a whole lot of time motivatTheir veteran play must help ing his players. an inexperienced offense that “The kids think they should win,” he said. “You don’t have to will rely on senior Taylor Brown and junior Lucas Milsell that…. It’s their turn, and they know it takes work. It helps ner, who will replace Allthem buy into what the coaches Metro running back Alex Bontz (1,710 rushing yards), want them to do. Expectations are high among the players and who graduated. Brown is more of a bruiser who will that comes down from the attack the line, while Milner’s coaching staff.” quick on the outside. For senior lineman Derek Audley has high expectaHoneywell, the talk about this tions for fullback Kier Stamp season started as soon as the (6-foot, 190 pounds) because 2011 season ended with a of his consistency and his Class 5A first-round loss. blocking ability. “We are all great friends, Count on the Jaguars to and we all really want it,” he said. “It would be everything have more of a balanced offensive attack with Blake for us to get a couple games BY JOANNA CHADWICK The Wichita Eagle

NEWTON RAILERS

OTHER AV-CTL TEAMS Division I Hutchinson

Glann

Bartel

Hill

At a glance

Kingsley

at Maize Andover at Hutchinson Salina South at Campus Salina Central at Emporia Valley Center at McPherson

Top skill players Player Coleman Kingsley Seth Hill Jacob Wright Derrick Garnica

Ht. 5-10 5-8 5-11 5-11

Wt. 180 150 185 190

Pos QB HB LB HB

Yr Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr.

Player Jacob Bartel Cory Martens Jerrod Ornelas Justin Mosiman

Wright

Ht. 6-2 6-2 5-9 6-0

Wt. 225 210 220 250

Pos OL-LB TE-DE DT OL

L,11-8 (OT) W,45-23 L,54-14 L,35-32 W,21-17 L,43-20 L,40-35 W,34-14 L,49-21

2012 schedule

Top linemen Yr Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr.

Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

Maize Salina Central at Campus Hutchinson at Eisenhower Salina South Emporia at Valley Center at Andover

COLEMAN KINGSLEY ON HIS TEAM What Newton does well: “We’ve got a lot of people coming back that just have a lot of speed. We’re a lot faster this year. I think our offense is going to be pretty well-off this year.” What has to improve: “We have to believe we can win and go out and finish games. At the end of games, we have to start scoring in the red zone and stopping other teams in the red zone.”

Railers seek breakthrough win

Glann believes all it takes is reversing one of those outcomes to jumpstart a season. “It’s definitely a mental Since being bumped up to thing with us right now,” the first division of the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League senior Coleman Kingsley said. two seasons ago, the Newton “Last year we had three games we just kind of threw football team has won one away. We have to start finishleague game. ing games.” “That has to change,” longtime Newton coach Brent Glann Kingsley is the cornerstone of said. “We have to gain confithe offense, a rarity in being a dence, but we have to win three-year starting quarterback games to gain confidence. We who accounted for 1,789 total have guys that haven’t played on yards last season. He will be winning varsity teams, but our surrounded by his most talented guys are working hard. All it cast, including tailback Seth Hill takes to turn things around is and receiving targets Cory Marone win.” tens, Jordan Johnson and Dylan Moore. Newton was on the cusp last season, but lost three “Coleman understands games by a combined 11 what this league is about and points and finished 3-6. what it takes to win,” Glann BY TAYLOR ELDRIDGE Eagle correspondent

Division III Buhler

Player Tanner Higgins Trevor Turner Trae Boese Blake Simms Marc Saffle

2011 results

Coach: Brent Glann, 13th season, 52-63 Last five seasons: 24-23 Last season: 3-6 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Meier at quarterback. Defensively, Andover Central will rely on many of the same athletes as on offense. There are two returning defensive starters in linemen Jake Page and Corbin Niemtschk, who Audley describes as “not typical,” mainly because of their lack of size. Page is all of 5-10 and 165 pounds, while Niemtschk is 5-10, 180. “Both those kids are really quick,” Audley said. “And annoying. They’re effective and they do have some experience. … (The rest of the defense) will be a lot of second-team kids from a year ago that will step up into starter positions. I would imagine it would be a project through the year. But I don’t think it’s a weakness.”

said. “Our offense is very QB-driven and there’s a lot of pressure on him to make the right reads. But it comes in handy when everyone trusts him and everyone knows he’s the guy.” A new district presents new hope for returning to the playoffs, a place Newton hasn’t been since 2009. But to challenge for a spot will require an overhaul on defense. “It’s mostly just changing the overall attitude,” Glann said. “We didn’t want to change schemes completely because they’ve done that several times before. It’s more about understanding the level it takes to win games, and that’s obviously still a work in progress until we see that success.”

Ht. 5-6 5-10 6-0 5-11 6-2

Wt. Pos. 140 HB-FS 160 QB 225 OL 190 LB 255 OL

Yr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Coach: Randy Dreiling, 16th season, 145-31. 2011: 11-2, won 5A championship Outlook: The defending 5A champion moves back to 6A with 17 returning starters, 10 on defense. Hutch is trying to return to the state title game for the ninth time in the last decade. Schedule: Aug. 31, at S. Central; Sept. 7, Campus; Sept. 14, KC (Mo.) Rockhurst; Sept. 21, at Newton; Sept. 28, S.South; Oct. 5, Derby; Oct. 12, at Dodge City; Oct. 19, Garden City.

Ht. 6-0 6-0 5-9 6-0 5-10

Wt. Pos. 240 FB-LB 205 OG-DE 225 OL-DL 170 HB-DB 165 CB-WR

Yr. So. Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr.

Coach: Steve Warner, 57-14, seventh season. 2011: 11-1 Outlook: Few return from last season’s run to the state quarterfinals, but Warner has constructed a winning machine at Buhler that he doesn’t foresee stopping this season. Schedule: Aug. 31, Rose Hill; Sept. 7, at Collegiate; Sept. 14, Mulvane; Sept. 21, at McPherson; Sept. 28, El Dorado; Oct. 5, at Winfield; Oct. 12, at Andale; Oct. 19, Cheney; Oct. 25, Nickerson.

McPherson

Salina Central Player Nathan Garlow Kade True Mark Vaughn Malik Veal J.W. Maldaner

Ht. 5-11 6-2 6-1 5-9 6-2

Wt. 180 225 220 180 195

Pos. LB LB LB HB QB

Player Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr. Austin O’Bannon 5-9 190 HB Sr. Marcus Houghton 6-1 175 QB-S Sr. Yr. Collin French 6-3 255 OG-DT Sr. Sr. Travis Steenson 6-0 180 FB-LB Sr. Sr. Jaelon Barnes 6-4 255 OT-DT Sr. Sr. Coach: Tom Young, seventh season, 49-15. 2011: 7-3 Jr. Outlook: The Bullpups move down a class, to 4A, and figure to Jr. be a contender right away with a foundation centering on the

Coach: Michael Hall, seventh season, 36-25. 2011: 5-4 Outlook: The defense is stout, stocked with eight returners and four three-year starters, but the Mustangs’ fate appears to rest upon if they can transition their passing attack to a new gunslinger in Maldaner, a receiver last season. Schedule: Aug. 31, Hutchinson; Sept. 7, at Newton; Sept. 14, St. Thomas Aquinas; Sept. 21, at Derby; Sept. 28, at Maize; Oct. 5, Andover Central; Oct. 12, at Salina South; Oct. 19, Great Bend; Oct. 26, Hays.

Salina South Player Cody Busby Mike Shirk Grant Flemming Justin Stonebraker Zach Nachbar

Ht. 5-7 5-10 5-11 5-11 6-1

Wt. Pos. 205 HB 200 FB-LB 215 DE 160 QB 165 WRDB

Division II Arkansas City Ht. 6-3 5-10 6-1 6-3 6-2

Wt. 230 180 260 205 185

Pos. TE-LB QB-SS OL-DL OL-DE QB-FS

broad shoulders of O’Bannon and a robust line blocking for him. Schedule: Aug. 31, El Dorado; Sept. 7, Hays; Sept. 14, at Rose Hill; Sept. 21, Buhler; Sept. 28, Winfield; Oct. 5, at Mulvane; Oct. 12, at Smoky Valley; Oct. 19, Abilene; Oct. 26 at Chapman.

Winfield

Player Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr. Anthony Soto 5-8 140 WR-DB Sr. Trevor Richardson 6-1 205 OL-LB Sr. Josh Horn 5-11 260 OL-DL Sr. Elijah Muldrow 5-11 225 OL-DL Jr. 5-9 200 HB-DE Jr. Yr. Jordan Johnson Sr. Coach: Justin Price, seventh season, 21-34. 2011: 4-5 Sr. Outlook: A trip to the playoffs has still eluded Price since something he believes the Vikings can rectify by winning Sr. 2008, the turnover battle and finishing drives with touchdowns to Jr. explosive athletes such as Soto. Jr. Schedule: Aug. 31, Marysville; Sept. 7, at Circle; Sept. 14, El

Coach: Sam Sellers, third season, 12-15. 2011: 4-6 Outlook: After two seasons dealing with inexperience, Sellers’ program is poised to take off in Year 3 with mostly upperclassmen, including a backbone in the backfield with Busby. Schedule: Aug. 31, Derby; Sept. 7, Maize; Sept. 14, at Blue Valley; Sept. 21, Campus; Sept. 28, at Hutchinson; Oct. 5, at Newton; Oct. 12, Salina Central; Oct. 19, at Hays; Oct. 26, at Great Bend.

Player Dylan Cox Riley Dowler Matt McGrew Marcus Banks Tyler Sutherland

Player Heath Davidson Brandon Keeler Quent Gould Riley Allen Denton Branscom

Dorado; Sept. 21, at Rose Hill; Sept. 28, at McPherson; Oct. 5, Buhler; Oct. 12, Mulvane; Oct. 19, at Clearwater; Oct. 25, at Welington.

Division IV Wellington

Player Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr. Noah Wolfe 6-0 210 OL-DE Sr. Chris Loughmiller 6-1 200 OL-DE Sr. Alex Weiss 5-10 160 WR-DB Sr. Yr. Ian Stallbaumer 5-9 170 HB-LB Sr. Sr. Mitch Norris 6-1 225 OL-DL Sr. Sr. Coach: Tyler Ryan, first season. 2011: 3-6 Sr. Outlook: The streak of 20 consecutive playoff appearances last season at Wellington, so Ryan’s first task will be to Sr. ended rectify the situation by taking advantage of the experience the Sr. Crusaders have in the trenches.

Coach: Jon Wiemers, second season, 5-4. 2011: 5-4 Outlook: Questions loom on both sides of the ball, as the Bulldogs must replace heavy senior production, but the schedule provides a chance for a quick start like last season’s 4-0 spurt. Schedule: Aug. 31, Maize South; Sept. 7, at Andover; Sept. 14, at KC (Mo.) Center; Sept. 21, Eisenhower; Sept. 28, at Valley Center; Oct. 5, Augusta; Oct. 12, at Andover Central; Oct. 19, Kapaun (at WSU); Oct. 25, Wichita West.

Schedule: Aug. 31, Goddard; Sept. 7, at Concordia; Sept. 14, Augusta; Sept. 21, at Collegiate; Sept. 28, at Circle; Oct. 5, Andale; Oct. 12, Clearwater; Oct. 19, at Mulvane; Oct. 25, Winfield.


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SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 9G

GODDARD LIONS

S. Vang

Douglas

Nevil

At a glance

Nally

Ht. 6-4 5-11 6-6 6-0

Wt. 210 165 180 180

Pos QB WR-CB TE RB-CB

Yr Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr.

Top linemen Ht. 6-2 5-11 5-10 5-11

Wt. 235 250 195 210

Pos OL-DE OL-DE LB-RB OL-DL

L,23-18 L,35-7 L,38-27 L,56-21 W,21-20 W,21-0 L,33-14 L,26-13 L,41-8

2012 schedule

Yr Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr.

Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

Allen

Richardson

At a glance

Andover Central at Hays Ark City McPherson at Valley Center at Andover Dodge City at Garden City at Maize

Top skill players

Player Jake Vang Mason Swann Beau Fisher Jonah Hill

J. Vang

2011 results

Coach: Scott Vang, first season Last season: 2-7 Last five seasons: 18-31 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player Colin Nevil Trey Douglas Austin Chippeaux Dane King

EISENHOWER TIGERS

2012 schedule First year for football

Coach: Charlie Nally, first season Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Top skill players Player Trevor Hughes Masen Allen Jacob Richardson Brock Welch

Ht. 6-1 6-5 5-10 5-9

Wt. 185 215 165 170

Pos QB DE WR RB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Ht. 6-0 5-10 6-4 5-10

Wt. 215 185 220 170

Pos DL DL DE LB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Top linemen at Wellington Valley Center at Andover Central Maize at Maize South at Andover Liberal Carroll at Eisenhower

Player Tanner Young Michael Nguyen Austin Gold Dalton Adams

Welch

Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

Clearwater at Maize South Andover at Arkansas City Newton Valley Center at Carroll at Liberal Goddard

MASEN ALLEN ON HIS TEAM

COLIN NEVIL ON HIS TEAM

What Eisenhower does well: “The best thing we do is hard work. We don’t have a whole lot of numbers this year, so hard work really comes into play. Effort is probably the best thing.” What has to improve: “We need to improve on shutting down the runs on defense, and making sure everyone is doing their part.”

What Goddard does well: “I think as far as offense we’re probably a pass-first team; we throw the ball a lot. We’ve been working on that a lot this summer, and I think that’s coming along really well, but we also run the ball well, too.” What has to improve: “Probably all around on defense. We’ve got young guys that are stepping up into starting roles and they’ve been working hard and they’ve been stepping up to the challenge. We only have three returning guys on defense so we’ll need the younger guys to step up.”

New program establishes goals

Lions adjust to new personnel

dard Eisenhower have separate football teams, the Lions will rely on Nevil to Goddard senior Colin Nevil lead their offense. “It’s tough especially being wasted no time with the a pitcher and also being a transition from baseball to football, with his sights set on quarterback, I can’t overuse my arm and I have to be one thing: an open varsity careful about that,” Nevil quarterback position. Although Nevil was pitching for said. “You have to be there for football to run the ofthe baseball team in the fense, you have to know it spring, he still managed to make the majority of football better than anyone.” Not only will this season be conditioning sessions. Nevil’s first on the varsity “This is the first year I’ve team, but it will also be Scott got to play at the varsity level,” Nevil said. “I’m getting Vang’s first season as coach, looking to improve on last to play at a leadership position, I wanted the guys to see season’s 2-7 record. Vang’s offensive approach my commitment and I wantwill focus on keeping a baled to lead by example and ance between the running work as hard as I could.” and passing games. Seniors With this being the first Jake Vang and Mason Swann year that Goddard and GodBY PAIGE FEIKERT Eagle correspondent

will anchor the offensive line. “We’re going to try to be a balanced team. I think we have a very good quarterback and some very good receivers, but I also think we’re going to be very good up front,” Scott Vang said. “Right now I think our passing game is better than our running game.” With the loss of most of last season’s starters, Goddard’s defense is looking to fill some positions with underclassmen. “Right now we’re not near being a really good team yet. I think we have the possibilities, but we have a long way to go,” Vang said. “We’re a brand-new team, brand-new staff, everything is going to be worked out.”

BY PAIGE FEIKERT Eagle correspondent

For Eisenhower’s first-year football team, there is no past to build on. Instead, coach Charlie Nally and his team will be responsible for writing Eisenhower’s history. All focus for this season falls on one thing: setting the pace for years to come. “We’re going to establish all of our tradition, everything we do is new,” Nally said. “That’s why it’s exciting for the coaching staff, because it’s a blank sheet, what we do is what we build off of. “The work ethic is going to be elevated, and if you do that, the winning tradition will come.” Nally coached Goddard before moving to the new school. Five starters from last year’s combined Goddard team are at Eisenhower. “The thing is, (Eisenhower’s

opponents) don’t know what to expect from us because it’s all new,” Nally said. “They can look at what they did last year at Goddard, but that’s not what we’re going to do at Eisenhower.” Eisenhower’s offense will combine Trevor Hughes at quarterback, Dylan Thompson at running back and Jacob Richardson at receiver, for a speed-dependent scoring approach. “We’re running a spread offense using skill people as much as possible and using quickness up front,” Nally said. “For the linemen, we’re not huge, so we’re not a power-type attack. We’re using more finesse than speed and power.” On defense, Nally plans to rely on defensive ends Masen Allen and Austin Gold, two seniors that played for Goddard last year. “I’m going to try to set an

example on and off the field; go hard every play and have the freshmen follow my lead,” Allen said. “I’d like to be only a sophomore or a junior.” However, with a young, new team, Nally and his players do not know what to expect from themselves. “We’re pretty evened out,” Nally said. “We’re going to have to play a little more iron-man football until we get some young players that can step up and do the job.” Establishing winning traditions this season will depend on the 14 seniors, but continuing will be the responsibility of the rest of Eisenhower’s young team. “It’s more than just wearing a different uniform,” Allen said. “It’s starting a wholenew football program and the traditions that we set will be carried out for a while so I will be proud to be a part of that.”

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10G THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

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It’s tough to land a spot among high school’s elite Y ou want to know something that is as reliable as the sun coming up in the east and politicians running negative advertising on television? Hutchinson winning high school football games, that’s what. Or Garden Plain, Conway Springs, Rose Hill, Andover Central, Derby or a number of other high school football teams in the area. They are the “haves” of the sport, schools that year in and year out produce winning football teams. They have a few things in common: a successful coach, a supportive community and, most of all, a culture that nourishes winning. “There’s nothing special that I’m doing,’’ said Andale coach Gary O’Hair, who is of course being modest. Andale won 71 football games and lost only four from 2005 through 2010. Last season, the Indians started 0-5 but recovered to make the Class 4A playoffs before losing in the first round to Rose Hill. Five-game losing streaks are as rare as a four-door sedan in Andale, a tough community with gritty kids who grow up dreaming of fourwheel drive vehicles and football. Andale is definitely one of the “haves” when it comes to high school football. “We have a lot of kids out for football, probably 85 to 90,’’ O’Hair said. “That’s a lot for a 4A school, but it’s

BOB LUTZ COMMENTARY

Swedes 2-0 in a game he still refers to as “infamous.’’ Schartz was involved in rebuilding jobs at Dodge City and Cimarron, too. He knows what it takes and, unfortunately, patience is at the top of the list. “One thing I know is that unless you have the support of the superintendent, the school board, the principal and the athletic director, there’s no hope,’’ Schartz said. “That’s what Wheeler has at Heights and it’s what Randy Dreiling has at Hutchinson. One of the reasons why I’m encouraged here is because I have that support.’’ In some places, losing becomes so redundant that it ultimately becomes accepted. It’s not easy to Joe Ledford/McClatchy-Tribune build a winning high school football program and sometimes it’s just Hutchinson defenders including Turner Wintz (19 ) and Tanner Higgins easier to give up. (17) sack Blue Valley quarterback Kyle Zimmerman during the Class 5A Schartz isn’t joining that club. title game in 2011. Hutchinson will be back in Class 6A this season. “It hasn’t shown up on the scoreboard for us yet, but we’re in ballbuild the City League’s best football actually down a little bit for us. games,’’ he said. “Obviously, you program at Heights. Schartz is reUsually we’re right at 100, but we garded highly by his peers, but Cam- have to have kids and we’re going to have a smaller freshman class this be young this year. But I really do pus has never been much of a footyear.’’ see it starting to come together.’’ ball hotbed and the going has been Oh, what some coaches wouldn’t It doesn’t help that Campus plays slower than Schartz thought it give for 85 to 90 football players. in Division I of the Ark Valley-ChisBut there are places where the flame would be. Campus has been 1-8, 3-7 and 1-8 holm Trail League, which also infor high school football just can’t be cludes Hutchinson, Derby, Salina during his three seasons after going lit. Places where no matter who South, Salina Central, Newton and 2-16 in the previous two. Some coaches, the losses strongly outwould call the Campus football situ- Maize. Wins are difficult to come by number the wins. against competition like that. They’re the “have nots” and, math- ation hopeless, but Schartz trudges “The Derby game is very important on, encouraged by administrative ematically speaking, there are as to our community,’’ Schartz said. many of them as there are “haves” in support and a Haysville community he believes yearns for winning foot- “But we haven’t made it a game. the high school football ranks. Last year, I feel like I made a misball. While it’s easy to predict the best take. We talked about winning but “You have to change a culture, it of the best from year to year, it’s also we weren’t doing the right things to can’t be just one guy,’’ said Schartz, easy to pick out the worst of the win. Now we’re not even talking who was a player at St. Mary of the worst. It’s just not as much fun. Campus coach Mike Schartz joined Plains in Dodge City when it pulled a about winning. We’re just trying to take the right steps.’’ the Colts with high hopes four years huge KCAC upset over heavily-faTom Audley, the only coach in vored Bethany in 1989, beating the ago after assisting Rick Wheeler

MAIZE SOUTH MAVERICKS

Pfeifer

Harlan

Orth

At a glance

Top skill players Ht. 5-10 6-2 5-8 6-0

Wt. 155 175 185 195

Pos WR-QB-S WR RB RB-TE

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Austin McCormick Aaron Cooper Gabe Barcenas Mitch Butterfield

Rogers

Ht. 6-4 6-0 5-11 5-10

Wt. 190 190 195 225

Pos DE DE OL C

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Circle El Dorado at Winfield at Clearwater Wellington at Collegiate at Trinity Cheney at Andale Mulvane

Haxton

W,28-7 W,7-0 L,24-21 L,35-27 W,14-7 L,44-14 W,42-10 W,33-14 L,48-6 L,43-13

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

Reach Bob Lutz at blutz@wichitaeagle.com or 316-268-6597.

VALLEY CENTER HORNETS

Dylan Johnson

2011 results

Coach: Brent Pfeifer, fourth season, 11-17 Last season: 5-5, lost to Mulvane in first round of Class 4A playoffs Last three seasons: 11-17 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player Wes Phillips Ridge McDonald Jesse Rogers Alex Orth

Phillips

Andover Central’s 10-year history, has endured only one losing season. The Jaguars are 75-29 under Audley, who hesitates to classify Andover Central as one of the “haves.” “We’re not quite in that elite group, but we have been consistent,’’ Audley said. “Our kids think we ought to have a good football team every year and when we opened up this school, our administration was very supportive. We had an ex-football coach (Mark Templin) as our principal and that helped.’’ Andover Central is one of those football programs with high expectations. And the Jaguars seldom disappoint. But not every school can be a consistent winner. And try as they might, turning bad into good is a sometimes-impossible chore. “I was the head coach at Southwestern Heights for 11 years and I found out what the other side was looking at,’’ Andale’s O’Hair said. “We did have some success, but I could never get the numbers to where we could be good every year. We worked our tails off and we might get 35 to 40 kids out every year.’’ At Andale, O’Hair just has to open the doors and players come flooding in. “I’ve never been in a situation where it’s just hopeless, but I know there are those jobs,’’ O’Hair said. “The best advice I ever got before I got into coaching was to never overestimate your own coaching abilities. You’ve got to have the kids and the support of the community to be successful.’’

at Arkansas City Eisenhower at Valley Center Andover Central Goddard at Collegiate at El Dorado Hesston at Circle

Sanders

At a glance

Top skill players Ht. 5-8 6-0 5-8 6-0

Wt. 170 205 180 190

Pos QB HB-LB HB-OLB HB-FS

Yr Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Zac Sanders Braden Janzen Tony Bluml Dakota Hoffine

Tormey

2011 results

Coach: Pat Haxton, third season, 1-17 Last five seasons: 6-39 Last season: 1-8 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player Braden Tormey Justin Holdaway Myles Balthazor Keaton Canaday

Ryan Scheibmer

Ht. 6-3 6-3 5-9 6-2

Wt. 290 250 175 230

Pos OL OL DL OL

Yr Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr.

at Arkansas City Circle at Andover at Andover Central Goddard at Spring Hill McPherson at Newton Emporia

L,21-20 W,9-6 L,28-8 L,20-8 L,21-20 L,28-6 L,55-14 L,34-14 L,41-10

2012 schedule Aug. 31 Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

at Andover Central at Goddard Maize South Sunrise Arkansas City at Goddard Eisenhower Andover Newton at Emporia

WES PHILLIPS ON HIS TEAM

BRADEN TORMEY ON HIS TEAM

What Maize South does well: “I feel like our defensive line is a real strength for us. They’re really aggressive and they’re all seniors so that’s a motivated group of guys. As far as I go, I just really want to be on the field at all times ... I feel like I can make an impact on offense at wide receiver and I defense at safety but if I have to play quarterback to help the team, that’s what I’ll do even if it limits my reps on defense.” What has to improve: “Drake (Dukes) was the only starter we’ve ever had at quarterback and he really developed into a good player so that’s going to be hard to replace him. I think whoever ends up being the quarterback, whether it’s me or Chase (Bell) or Logan (Mormando) that person is going to have to step up and make plays.”

What Valley Center does well: “We have a lot of experienced seniors coming back and I think we’re going to match up with opponents a lot better. We’re feeling like we can turn things around this year.” What has to improve: “Being in a losing program, you’re going to need somebody to step up and lead and show they still believe they can win and be that vocal leader.”

Mavericks focus on QB search BY TONY ADAME The Wichita Eagle

In the (very short) history of Maize South’s football program, there has been just one quarterback – and Drake Dukes was a dandy. The starter for the Mavericks’ first three seasons, Dukes, a threat to run or pass, was one big reason why the Mavericks were able to rise from nonexistence to a spot in the Class 4A playoffs last year. But now he’s gone, off to Trinity (Texas) University, and the race to replace him begins with coach Brent Pfeifer deciding how he wants to use arguably the team’s best player and Dukes’ favorite target from a year ago – 5-foot-10, 155-pound senior Wes Phillips.

Phillips, along with junior Chase Bell (6-4, 170) and sophomore Logan Mormando (6-2, 170) are all in the hunt to be the starting quarterback. Phillips could be used in wildcat-type situations instead of as the full-time quarterback because of his impact on defense, where he plays free safety. “Wes is a phenomenal player and he can make a lot of things happen with the ball in his hands,” Pfeifer said. But if either Bell or Mormando can figure out a way to impress Pfeifer with their ability

to get the ball to Phillips, senior receiver Ridge McDonald and senior tight end Alex Orth, it could be a moot point. Senior running back Alex Rogers also returns. Phillips could be a boon to a defense that is built around linebacker Nevada Harlan, a 5-10, 205-pound senior and four-year starter. “(Harlan) is just tough, he’ll come up and smack you,” Pfeifer said. “He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the stop.”

Hornets look for improvement third season. “It’s never where you want it to be, because I know I would It’s difficult for Pat Haxton have liked to win more games last year, but we’re to speak in absolutes when talking about the progress of progressing in the right direction.” the Valley Center football The positives are that program. Valley Center had a nucleus The Hornets, beset in recent years with sinking num- of around 50 players attend its summer weightlifting bers and even lower confiprogram and return 15 startdence, are 1-17 under Haxers. Haxton is also excited ton. A sudden turnaround about the speed compiled on isn’t expected, either. defense. “It’s hard for me to tell,” “We’re going to try to get Haxton said when asked if everybody that can run on the program was where he that side of the ball, so if wanted it to be entering his you can’t run you’re probably going to be with me on the offensive line,” Haxton said. But hope is fleeting around the school, the first loss signaling BY TAYLOR ELDRIDGE Eagle correspondent

another sure demise for the football team. “The kids are changing, though,” Haxton said. “We still have struggles. We still have to work on a lot of different areas, but we’re getting it turned around. We have to change the culture here and it starts with the kids.” Haxton thinks a resolution is in finding a leader, and he is turning to Braden Tormey, a former wide receiver attempting to escape his timidity in his transition to quarterback. It’s not ideal for Tormey, but he understands the importance of his task. “It’s tough because I’m working on being more of a vocal leader,” said Tormey. “As a quarterback, you have to take control of the huddle and lead. Last year I really didn’t do that. But now everyone is looking to me and they’re listening, so I have to step up.”


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SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 11G

Back in comfort zones Schartz, Gehrer return to their roots BY JOANNA CHADWICK The Wichita Eagle

Weston Schartz and Mike Gehrer are two of the Wichita area’s most successful football coaches, but the first time they met was on the baseball field. Schartz was coaching West, Gehrer was at Bishop Carroll. “One of the first things I noticed was he had the right attitude,” Gehrer said. “He was real positive with the kids…. I could tell he was one of those guys who just was trying to win. It wasn’t that he had to win, he was trying to win, he was getting his players to play hard. I liked that about him, and his charisma and interaction with his kids.” Schartz’s first impression of Gehrer wasn’t too different. “He was a very competitive guy, but yet he was very personable. I was a young guy, too, and I could see the fire in his eyes,” Schartz said.” It’s been more than two decades since they coached high school baseball against each other’s teams, but both have made a return to their original schools. Gehrer, 57, returns as Collegiate’s football coach after a seven-year absence. He coached Collegiate from 1990-2004, winning Class 3A titles in 1994 and 2000. Schartz, 51, is back at West after 10 years at Northwest, where he won 71 games and went to the playoffs each season. During a 15-year stint at West, he led the Pioneers to 10 straight winning seasons and a second-place finish in Class 6A in 1997. They haven’t crossed each other’s paths much. Their teams are in different leagues and classifications. But there was a time in 1990 when Schartz made a decision that affected both their futures. Schartz had been at West for three seasons, leading the Pioneers to their second winning record in 13 years, when the Collegiate job opened. He applied and was poised to sign the contract that would have given him a hefty raise. Before he signed, though, he decided to tell then-West principal J.R. Muci that he was leaving the Pioneers. “He called me into the office, and he had me in tears,” Schartz said. “… He told me that ‘the kids at Collegiate are great kids, but they don’t need the extra you can give the kids at West.’ He told me he went into education to make a difference with kids in lower income (brackets) and he thought I could do a good job helping the kids at West, and we talked about what we’re really in this for.” Schartz told Collegiate of his desire to stay, and that’s when Gehrer was offered the job. For Gehrer, he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to coach football. He was working for Godfather’s Pizza and baseball was his sport, even though he’d played football at Kapaun under Ed Kriwiel. Gehrer hadn’t considered applying until several Collegiate parents, whose sons he’d coached in summer baseball, urged him to do so. “It was crazy,” Gehrer said of being hired. “My wife still thinks I was nuts for doing it. Here I was … teaching, the athletic director, coaching football and baseball. I had no idea on how to be an athletic director. I’d been out in the business world.”

Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle

Weston Schartz of West and Mike Gehrer of Collegiate return to the sideline at schools where they both had prior coaching success. Schartz coached for 10 years at Northwest, while Gehrer had resigned after Collegiate’s 2004 season.

File photo

Weston Schartz encourages his West squad during a game in 1997. The Pioneers lost in the Class 6A championship game that season, West’s only appearance in the state final.

File photo

Mike Gehrer cheers from the sideline during one of Collegiate’s games in 1998. The Spartans won Class 3A championships under Gehrer in 1994 and 2000. Schartz’s decision to stay at West in 1990 affected both, but neither one regrets the turn of events. They thrived and, best of all, they say, they created longlasting relationships with players who still remain in contact. On Father’s Day, Schartz gets around 100 text messages, mostly from the players he coached at West. “There’s not a whole lot you

can’t like (about Schartz),” West senior Blake Legleiter said. “Since Day 1 that I shook that man’s hand, I knew…. he’s got that fire, that Pioneer pride. He’s a great man.… He was at a winning program, and he didn’t have to come back here. That just shows that he’s somebody who cares. That’s all that matters. So we can’t let him go out there and go to war by himself.”

Collegiate is expected to have another strong season. The Spartans, who won 3A in 2009, advanced to the second round of the 3A playoffs last season and return some of their top talent, including Markus Phox and Isiah Franklin. West isn’t in the same situation. The Pioneers had a seven-season streak of playoff berths end in 2003 and has won 14 games in nine seasons.

But what both schools can count on is a coach whose strength is motivation. Schartz and Gehrer freely admit to hiring assistants who complement them, especially on the organizational side. As for their pregame speeches, well, they’re usually goosebumpinducing and heartfelt. Gehrer thinks about his all through the week, and he loves the time he can spend hyping them up before a game. Schartz is no different. “We build them up in the locker room before the game,” he said. “Get them riled up.” That positivity is one reason senior Spenser Schooler is glad he’s finally getting to play for Gehrer. “I love his energy and he’s always positive, that’s the biggest thing,” said Schooler, whose father, Brian, is a longtime Collegiate assistant. Fans can hear Gehrer during games, but what they hear is rarely negative. “I’m a loud guy,” said Gehrer, who calls himself an idea guy. “I’m loud during games. I’m trying to be the positive, motivating guy – ‘Hey, you can get this done, you can do this.’ “There’s so much crap going on in the world. We’ve got to practice being positive, have to practice being good teammates. Everybody is self-motivated. This is a team game.” Schartz considers himself a blue collar-type person, which is why he believes he fits in so well at West. “I’m the type of guy the kids, I believe, can depend on, that will give everything he’s got,” he said. “We’ll bring our lunch pail to practice and work them hard. I’ll give them everything they’ve got, nothing fancy, but let’s get to work.” For Gehrer and Schartz, it’s good to be back. They’re right where they want to be. Check Joanna Chadwick’s VarsityKansas.com blog at blogs.varsitykansas.com. Reach her at 316-268-6270 or jchadwick@wichitaeagle.com.

Andale makes better beginning priority in 2012 Perennially successful Indians lost first five before strong finish. ■

BY JEFFREY LUTZ The Wichita Eagle

Andale coach Gary O’Hair had his own learning moment in the midst of the Indians’ season-opening fivegame losing streak in 2011.

Charged with the responsibility of getting traditionally successful players through their first stretch of agony, O’Hair had no prior experiences at Andale on which to rely. O’Hair has averaged 10 wins per season in a decade as Andale’s coach, so when Andale went into October without a win, he had to improvise. Ultimately, O’Hair fell back on his winning pedigree, trusting that the

players would buy what he was selling since his messages had worked so well in the past. Andale responded by winning five in a row before falling to eventual Class 4A champion Rose Hill in the second round of the playoffs. "I know that if you get down on kids, then they get down on you and then you get down on each other," O’Hair said. "You have to stay committed to each other and believe in

each other. Luckily, the kids continued to believe in us and we got it turned around." Andale was upset in the opener by Wellington, but in the following weeks it became less of an upset. The Indians fell to Mulvane, Rose Hill and Collegiate by an average of 34 points before a five-point loss to Clearwater. The difficult early schedule may not have taken Andale by surprise,

but since it was atypical for the Indians, they didn’t change their usual philosophy. O’Hair often uses the first few games to gauge the talent level of his players and to decide which ones will get the bulk of the playing time in the second half. That can aid depth, but it can also hamper a team against superior opponents who Please see ANDALE, Page 12G

GO TO VARSITYKANSAS.COM FOR COVERAGE THROUGHOUT THE SEASON


12G THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

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ROSE HILL ROCKETS

Slade

Clark

Cleveland

At a glance Coach: Greg Slade, 15th season, 92-55 Last season: 13-1, won Class 4A title Last five seasons: 39-16 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Top skill players Player Jonny Pearson Colton Mayes TJ Slade Bret Waddell

Ht. 5-11 6-0 5-11 6-5

Wt. 165 165 165 190

Pos RB WR-DB QB-S WR-S

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Ht. 6-3 6-2 6-2 6-1

Wt. 220 230 250 190

Pos OG-DE C-DT OT-DT TE

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Connor Campbell Michael Cleveland Cody Walther Wyatt Clark

2011 results Buhler at Collegiate

L,18-10 W,34-12

Mayes

MULVANE WILDCATS

Slade

Fennewald W,42-7 W,41-20 W,56-0 W,38-7 W,59-0 W,61-0 W,46-6 W,28-12 W,41-14 W,56-14 W,40-29 W,21-0

Andale at Pratt at Winfield Mulvane at Augusta Circle El Dorado Hoton Andale Ulysses Hayden Eudora

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

at Buhler at Andale McPherson Winfield at Mulvane at El Dorado Augusta at Collegiate Trinity Academy

Flinn

Haynes

At a glance

Top skill players Ht. 6-1 6-1 5-10 5-9

Wt. 175 165 200 180

Pos QB Wr. LB LB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Ht. 6-1 6-3 5-10 6-3

Wt. 210 220 215 190

Pos C OT DE DE

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Taylor Flinn Jace Caldwell Nick Christian Jarrett Price

TY REDINGTON ON HIS TEAM

COLTON MAYES ON HIS TEAM What Rose Hill does well: “I think we’re doing really well on defense. We lost a great quarterback last year and we’ll have to step up on offense, but we’re coming along really good.”. What has to improve: “We have to come together as a team. We are good, but we have to get better. We can’t blame something on one person. It’s a whole team effort.”

Williams

2011 results

Coach: Dave Fennewald, 21st season, 104-88 Last season: 8-3, lost in second round of 4A playoffs Last five seasons: 34-19 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Player Ty Redington Nolan Smith Zach Haynes Cole Williams

Redington

at El Dorado at Andale Pratt at Augusta Buhler at Rose Hill at Wellington Clearwater Winfield Maize South Hayden

W,60-20 W,44-19 W,40-12 W,61-14 L,31-21 L,38-7 W,35-30 W,49-7 W,43-16 W,43-13 L,19-6

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

Chanute Augusta at Buhler at El Dorado Rose Hill McPherson at Winfield Wellington at Clearwater

What Mulvane does well: “We’re going to have some pretty skilled guys on the offensive side of the ball that are good athletes. I don’t think we’ll have trouble there. I think we can do big things.” What has to improve: “We’re going to have a lot of young kids have to step up and play roles they’ve never played before.”

Champs’ defense has new faces Mulvane not settling for good

ball, including Bret Waddell, Colton Mayes and Jonny Pearson. And Pearson and Mayes will be keys coming Rose Hill senior TJ Slade doesn’t look a bit like Derrick out of the backfield. While Pearson didn’t start Decker, the Rockets’ quarterlast season, the senior runback who led them to the Class 4A title in 2011. Slade is ning back had 1,696 rushing yards and was named to The about six inches shorter and 45 pounds lighter than Deck- Eagle’s All-Metro team. “He didn’t start all year er, who was a threat to run or because we had some upperpass. classmen, too, that were But Slade shrugs off the comparisons. He knows he’s a running backs and were good,” Rose Hill coach Greg different quarterback. Slade said. “I’m definitely going to Rose Hill definitely is a have to live up to the expectations of our last quarterback,” different team from 2011. he said. “I’m going to have to Gone is the entire starting defense, including Decker at find a different way to condefensive back. tribute. I’ll have to be an Many roles have changed, excellent passer and use my but for Pearson, the pressure quickness to get into open and expectations have skyspace.” rocketed. He’s got quick, talented “This year he’ll be the man teammates who can catch the BY JOANNA CHADWICK The Wichita Eagle

and teams will look at him first when they start gameplanning,” Slade said. “Last year you couldn’t necessarily do that because of Derrick and the other backs we had…. But if Jonny gets into the open, he’ll probably score. He’s got great speed, and he has the ability to change directions. Once he gets to the second level, he’s pretty dangerous.” Rose Hill has a veteran offensive line that includes Connor Campbell, Michael Cleveland and Cody Walther. All three play multiple sports. “You have to have kids (on the line) that are going to work hard and are willing to do what it takes to do their job,” Slade said. “Obviously with our running game, it’s important to execute our offense well.”

BY TAYLOR ELDRIDGE Eagle correspondent

Dave Fennewald isn’t exactly shying away from the lofty goals the Mulvane football team has devised for this season. “I’d be lying to you if we didn’t have high expectations,” Fennewald said. Mulvane is no stranger to winning in the regular season in Fennewald’s 20 years coaching, but the success hasn’t translated to the postseason outside of a trip to the quarterfinals in 2007. The conditions — one of the most athletic senior classes to pass through Mulvane combined with experienced juniors — call for a season that continues into November. “We really want to make our last year together the

ANDALE INDIANS

O’Hair

Brand

Bugner

At a glance

Top skill players Ht. 6-1 6-2 6-1 6-7

Wt. 180 170 185 175

Pos RB QB LB DB-P

Yr Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Jake Brand Daniel Carney Kyle Armstrong Michael Maus

May

Ht. 6-1 6-2 5-11 5-8

Wt. 210 180 175 175

Pos OL-LB OL DL DL

JAKE BRAND ON HIS TEAM

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Wellington Mulvane at Rose Hill at Collegiate Clearwater at Circle at Cheney at Trinity Academy Maize South Clearwater Rose Hill

Dooley

L,35-28 L,44-19 L,42-7 L,41-0 L,36-31 W,53-13 W,22-19 W,57-3 W,48-6 W,42-7 L,41-14

ANDALE

Crain

Top skill players Player Travis House Tyson Jones Trevor Crain Seth Head

Collegiate Rose Hill at Clearwater Circle at Augusta at Wellington Buhler at Nickerson at Cheney

4A champions in 2006 and 2007 and a perennial playoff team, the Indians are almost always projected for at least eight or nine wins. Even the Indians themselves aren’t quite sure what to expect, but they expect a more dedicated level of preparation will allow them to avoid a repeat of the start of 2011. "We’ve been through two days of two-a-days, and I couldn’t be happier with their attitude," O’Hair said shortly after the start of practice. "Obviously you can’t tell anything until you put pads on, then you can’t tell anything until you put pads on against another team, but we feel real good about things right now."

Player Manny Martinez Zack Ruff Marcus Walker Matt Harvey

Harvey

House

2011 results

Coach: Dustin Dooley, second season, 1-8 Last season: 1-8 Last five seasons: 8-37 Projected playoff team? No

Ht. 6-1 5-10 6-2 5-10

Wt. 190 170 200 185

Pos QB RB WR-FS FB-LB

Yr Jr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Ht. 5-10 6-0 6-2 5-10

Wt. 225 190 215 160

Pos OT-DT DE G-DE LB

Yr Sr. So. Sr. Jr.

Top linemen

What Andale does well: "This year we’re doing a lot more running and conditioning. That’s going to be one of our strengths is we’re going to be in really good shape, because we’re doing a lot more sprints than we have in the past." What has to improve: "In the past, we’ve always had the tradition of always winning. Last year, we didn’t do as well as we have in the past. I think that kind of changed our mindset that we can actually lose. We need to work harder than we did last year to improve and not have a repeat."

cohesive at the start, but the tangible differences won’t be as extreme. The Indians will rely on what made them sucFrom Page 11G cessful over the past 10 years under O’Hair, namely its running game and its speed already have their depth on defense. charts organized. Those were the aspects the Since Andale opens this season with three teams it lost Indians used to even its record last year, reaching .500 to in 2011, O’Hair is making with a 42-7 win over Clearwasure he knows who belongs on the field for the first game. ter in the first round of the playoffs. Running back Jake "We know we’re going to May and quarterback Jared have to be playing our best," Smarsh are effective runners O’Hair said. "We realize we who can help Andale control have to be ready, we have to the clock and Levi Eck, Jake be playing our best Week 1 Brand and Tyler Bugner are and not wait until district to playmaking defenders. play our best. We’ve got to This is the first season in the make sure we’re ready right last several in which quesoff the bat." tions surround Andale. The Andale may appear more

Gage Armstrong

At a glance

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

back this season, most in the front seven, spearheaded by Zach Haynes roaming the middle at linebacker. Fennewald’s spread passing attack has thrived on creating mismatches, and should do so once again this season with Redington engineering the attack at quarterback. He’s already developed a favorite target, fellow senior Nolan Smith. But it’s no mystery to Fennewald why the Wildcats are still on the threshold of postseason success, and not past it. “I know you still win games running the football,” Fennewald said. “If we’re in a critical spot and it’s third-and-3, I’d rather know we can run the ball and get a first down than hope we can get it passing.”

EL DORADO WILDCATS

2011 results

Coach: Gary O’Hair, 10th year, 100-22 Last season: 5-6, lost in second round of Class 4A playoffs Last five seasons: 50-11 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Player Jake May Jared Smarsh Levi Eck Tyler Bugner

Eck

best year we’ve had,” senior Ty Redington said. “We have 18 seniors united in trying to play football on Thanksgiving.” Fennewald believes improving those chances rests on a two-platoon system, despite its initial unpopular reaction in Mulvane. “I think people in town thought I was crazy,” Fennewald said. “But our practices are more efficient this way. If you take a kid and all he does is that one thing, whether it’s offensively or defensively, every day for three months, they tend to get pretty good at that one thing.” That’s been the case on the defensive side of the ball, where Mulvane has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in recent seasons. Seven starters are

Mulvane at Maize South Buhler at Baldwin Andover Central Winfield Circle at Augusta at Rose Hill

L,60-20 L,7-0 L,60-7 L,41-14 L,45-14 L,28-20 L,41-23 W,33-28 L,46-6

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

at McPherson Clearwater at Winfield Mulvane at Buhler Rose Hill Maize South at Circle at Hesston

TREVOR CRAIN ON HIS TEAM “Everybody’s returning, we’ve got a lot of experience, and we’ve become closer – like a family. Everybody gets along, and we have better attitudes.”

El Dorado happy for new home BY LIONEL TIPTON Eagle correspondent

El Dorado’s football team makes its debut at the new BG Products Veterans Sports Complex against Clearwater in the second week of the season. The Wildcats hope the new surroundings can be accompanied by some more success after a 1-8 record in 2011. “We’re excited about the new stadium – very excited,” Wildcats coach Dustin Dooley said. El Dorado returns eight starters on offense and 10 on defense, led by senior halfback Tyson Jones, the

Wildcats’ leading rusher a year ago, who gained 402 yards. Junior quarterback Travis House, who passed for 1,397 yards as a sophomore, also returns, as do his top wide receivers, seniors Trevor Crain (57 catches, 729 yards, three touchdowns) and Austin Hughey (15 catches, 194 yards). “We’ll be better,” Dooley said. “We’ll be a little bit older, more experienced.” He said his primary focus will be for the Wildcats to make gradual improvement. “We feel that if we make the same type of progress we made last season, we’ll be

successful,” Dooley said. “In 2010, El Dorado averaged one point a game; we averaged 16 last year. In 2010, we averaged 53 points (allowed), we lowered that last year. We were in a couple of games that we thought had the ball bounced differently, we would have won.” El Dorado beat Augusta 33-28 in its only victory, but the Orioles aren’t on the schedule this season after moving down to the fourth division of the Ark ValleyChisholm Trail League. El Dorado remains in Division III and has to face a new opponent, McPherson, on opening night.


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SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 13G

AUGUSTA ORIOLES

Robben

Finch

Brett Hamilton

At a glance

Top skill players Ht. 5-9 6-2 6-1 6-1

Wt. 165 170 174 183

Pos QB-FS WR-DB RB-DB RB-OLB

Yr Jr. Sr. So. So.

Top linemen Player Colby Willis Roy Chen Jake Ehrlich Kaleb Laubhan

Willis

Ankerholz

Ht. 5-10 6-3 5-11 5-10

Wt. 205 220 265 184

Pos OL-LB OL-DL OL-DT OL-DL

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

at Winfield Clearwater at Nickerson Mulvane Anderson County at Buhler Rose Hill El Dorado at Circle

L,34-6 L,28-7 L,29-7 L,61-14 L,35-0 L,57-0 L,59-0 L,33-28 L,19-15

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

Circle at Mulvane at Wellington Clearwater Andale at Arkansas City at Rose Hill Trinity Academy at Collegiate

COLBY WILLIS ON HIS TEAM

Augusta tries out new division Augusta High fell just short of a victory in Roger Robben’s first season as football coach. Six inches, to be exact. Robben said that kept the Orioles from defeating Circle in a 2011 district game, and the Thunderbirds held on for a 19-15 victory. Coincidentally, the Orioles will have a shot at avenging that loss in their Aug. 31 opener, when Circle goes to Hillier Stadium. But instead of a state berth at stake, it will count as part of the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League standings. The Orioles moved down to Division IV, joining Circle, Collegiate, Andale, Clearwater and Wellington. The switch means that Robben – who coached at Goddard in Divisions I and II

before coming to Augusta – will have coached in every AV-CTL division. The district loss still stings a little, he says. “The last two games we were very competitive,” he said. He credited some adjustments during the season with keeping Augusta competitive and giving it a chance to win. “We made some adjustments from early to late,” he said, “and we will be able to go forward with what we did.” Augusta returns nine offensive starters and six on defense. Robben said the line will be a strength this season, led by Colby Willis (5-foot-10, 205 pounds), who will be a four-year starter. He will be the anchor on an offensive line that returns everyone. Calling the signals will be junior Tristan Finch, who is

Coach: Dirk Ankerholz, fourth season, 16-13 Last season: 8-2, lost in first round of 4A playoffs Last five seasons: 26-24 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player Dakota Vaughn Johnny Becker Trynt Dunnegan Chad Reibenspies

Ht. 5-8 6-0 6-0 6-2

Wt. 200 185 200 175

Pos FB-DT HB-CB OLB FS

Yr Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr.

Ht. 6-2 5-11 5-10 6-1

Wt. 215 190 230 180

Pos TE-DE C G DE

Yr Sr. Jr. Jr. Sr.

Dennison

At a glance

equally effective from the option or using play-action, Robben said. Sophomore Connor Hurst provides strength at running back and will be the Orioles’ kicker and punter. “A lot of these kids got a lot of experience last year,” Robben said. Augusta won’t have to look far for its old Division III opponents, as Mulvane is on the schedule, and defending Class 4A champion Rose Hill is in its district. Notably missing is arch-rival El Dorado. “It seems kind of odd we’re not playing El Dorado,” Robben said. But the opener with Circle, whose district boundaries border Augusta’s, could amplify that rivalry, he said. “Augusta kids know the kids from Circle,” Robben said. “We feel like we can compete with them.”

Top skill players Ht. 6-6 6-0 5-11 5-11

Wt. 220 180 170 180

Pos TE RB-CB QB RB-LB

Yr Sr. So. So. Sr.

Ht. 6-2 5-10 5-11 6-2

Wt. 250 200 190 240

Pos C G T LB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. So.

Top linemen Player Drew Daharsh Bruin Hayden Chris White Kyler Ehm

Fox

Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

at Eisenhower at El Dorado Andale at Augusta Collegiate Circle at Wellington Winfield Mulvane

What Clearwater does well: “Our offense is going to be a lot different than last year, but it’s still going to be exciting for people to watch and see us move the ball in a little bit different way.” What has to improve: “We have to keep creating turnovers on defense and prove that last year’s team wasn’t just a one-and-done team.”

Clearwater aims to keep it going going to run the ball first, but I’ve already had a few people go, ‘I don’t know about this.’ But I believe this is truly a unique situation.” Either Ankerholz will be praised for adapting, or criticized for tinkering. But he’s persuaded the only group that matters. “We’re all on board with it because the new offense we’re using really fits the players we have more,” senior Colin Frickey said. “Last year we had bigger guys and we could move people and run the ball. Now we’re a bit more smaller and have more speed, so this fits our style better.” But Ankerholz isn’t ignorant. He knows an offense

BY TAYLOR ELDRIDGE Eagle correspondent

In the beginning, Dirk Ankerholz asks for trust. He’s established the Clearwater football program as a winner by his third year coaching and now the challenge, fresh off an 8-2 season, is to maintain it. The answer, according to Ankerholz, is an overhaul. Scrapped is the compact double-wing set in Clearwater’s backfield, replaced by a spread offense that incorporates — gasp! — throwing the football. “Double-digit passing is going to become the standard, rather than the rarity,” Ankerholz said. “We’re still

at Maize South at Valley Center Clearwater at Wellington Collegiate Andale at El Dorado at Rose Hill Augusta

L,28-7 L,9-6 L,12-9 (OT) L,57-19 L,41-7 L,53-13 W,41-23 L,61-0 W,19-15

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

at Augusta Winfield Collegiate at Andale Wellington at Clearwater at Hesston El Dorado Maize South

replacing seven starters will sputter at times. Clearwater should be able to run with Johnny Becker and Dakota Vaughn, but to stay competitive early, it will need something to fall back on. So if it comes down to defense whether Clearwater qualifies for the playoffs for the third time under Ankerholz, the squad remains optimistic. “Our coaching staff has said that the defense we have this year is the fastest defense they’ve had in a long time here,” said Frickey, who anchors the defensive line. “It’s really promising. I think we can do some really great things this year with this group.”

COLLEGIATE SPARTANS

Cusick

Franklin

At a glance

Jordan Moore

2011 results

Coach: Bob Pool, second season, 2-8 Last season: 2-8, lost in first round of 4A playoffs Last five seasons: 13-33 Projected playoff team? No

Player Stewart Dennison Justin Wright Garrett Hutson Drake Fox

W,23-7 W,28-7 W,12-9 (OT) W,35-27 W,36-31 W,41-0 W,20-12 L,49-7 W,34-14

2012 schedule

Top linemen Player Colin Frickey Alex Smith Joe Cordell Brett Lukert

Vaughn

Collegiate at Augusta at Circle Maize South at Andale at Council Grove Winfield at Mulvane Wellington

Top skill players

Gehrer Daharsh

Reibenspies

2011 results

CIRCLE THUNDERBIRDS

Pool

Frickey

COLIN FRICKEY ON HIS TEAM

“Last year is in the past and I am only looking forward to the future with a drive to win.”

BY LIONEL TIPTON Eagle correspondent

Dunnegan

At a glance

2011 results

Coach: Roger Robben, second season, 0-9 Last season: 0-9 Last five seasons: 6-39 Projected playoff team? No

Player Tristan Finch Tanner Brown Conner Hurst Preston Patterson

Laubhan

CLEARWATER INDIANS

Top skill players Ht. 6-0 6-2 5-8 6-3

Wt. 185 170 175 205

Pos WR-S WR-CB RB-CB QB-S

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Ht. 5-8 6-3 6-2 6-2

Wt. 160 260260 275

Pos OG-DT OT-DT OT-DT C-DT

Yr Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr.

Top linemen Player Hunter Cusick Brandon Lee Mitch Copeland David Scheffer

Schooler

2011 results

Coach: Mike Gehrer, first season Last season: 8-3, lost in second round of Class 3A playoffs Last five seasons: 45-11 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Player Markus Phox Spenser Schooler Isiah Franklin Landon Root

Phox

at Clearwater Rose Hill at Wellington Andale at Circle Maize South at Belle Plaine Independent at Douglass Medicine Lodge Garden Plain

L,23-7 L,34-12 W,35-7 W,41-0 W,41-7 W,44-14 W,62-14 W,63-0 W,48-12 W,53-8 L,18-15

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

at Andale Buhler at Circle Wellington at Clearwater Maize South Trinity (at Circle) Rose Hill Augusta

SPENSER SCHOOLER ON HIS TEAM DREW DAHARSH ON HIS TEAM "Last year, we worked hard but we weren’t quite able to put all the pieces together consistently; this year, we’re working hard to put it all together and get better every day."

What Collegiate does well: “I think our strength most likely will be being loose. We don’t get uptight… We’re loose. We like to have a good time, and we play. One game isn’t bigger than other ones.” What has to improve: “Probably team chemistry. We have new players on the line, a new quarterback and (Markus) Phox moving (from QB to wide receiver) and our offense is under a new guy.”

Circle searches for playoff repeat Quick Spartans adapt to Gehrer

The upperclassmen will try to protect Circle’s skill position players, which Pool said Circle saved its best for last are young but talented. “They know they’re going a year ago, coming out of its football district as the second to be good in the future, but we need them good now,” he seed behind eventual Class said. 4A champion Rose Hill. Although Pool said the But the two district victoThunderbirds are not esperies were the Thunderbirds’ cially deep, he feels he has only triumphs of the season, some quality. and second-year coach Bob The returning offensive Pool said he will be looking for improvement this season. players are led by juniors Paul Richard and Jake Smith, but He will do so with a solid Circle’s fortunes will rest on veteran line of four seniors the arm of sophomore quarand one sophomore, led by terback Garrett Hutson, who center Drew Daharsh (6-foot-2, 250 pounds), guard guided the team in its last four games in 2011. Bruin Hayden (5-10, 200) “He won the two that matand tackle Chris White (5-11, tered most,” Pool said, re190), all seniors. ferring to victories over rivals “All of them will be better El Dorado and Augusta that than last year,” Pool said. BY LIONEL TIPTON Eagle correspondent

propelled the Thunderbirds into the playoffs. “He performed pretty good for a freshman.” Keying the rushing attack will be sophomores Justin Wright and Trey Davis, as well as senior fullback Drake Fox. Pool said Wright is a power back and Davis is fast with good vision. Another offensive key will be senior tight end Stewart Dennison (6-6, 220), a converted quarterback. At first, Dennison was reluctant to go to tight end, Pool said. “Once we forced him into it, he took to it and was pretty good at it,” Pool said. Pool said that Circle’s quality will make up for its lack of manpower.

BY JOANNA CHADWICK The Wichita Eagle

Collegiate coach Mike Gehrer spent the summer getting to know his new team. Gehrer, who returns to Collegiate after coaching the Spartans from 1990-2004, developed relationships with his team during weight lifting and conditioning. He’s seen what they can do through those same sessions, and the overwhelming thing he learned? “Our team speed is definitely a weapon,” said Gehrer, whose team moved up to Class 4A. Running back Isiah Franklin, who had 513 rushing

yards before an injury sidelined him, is quick up the middle and outside, and he can catch, as well. Teams won’t be able to focus only on him because Collegiate will expand its passing game with junior quarterback Landon Root, who transferred from Kapaun Mount Carmel. “His ability to throw the ball and put the ball on the perimeter, that makes us hard to defend when you have a tailback like Isiah Franklin,” said Gehrer, who replaced Bill Messamore, now an assistant coach. Gehrer plans for the offense to be balanced with 60 percent passing. “(Root) can make the short passes and the long passes,” Gehrer said. “… He throws

the ball well.” Root replaces senior Markus Phox, Collegiate’s quarterback the past two seasons. Phox has moved to receiver. “Markus is going to be a college football player, but not a college quarterback,” Gehrer said. “This (move) really plays into that, for both of those guys…. Markus’ real asset is making people miss in space.” Phox joins receivers Spenser Schooler, who had 15 catches for 421 yards in 2011, and Connor Fleming, who also has speed. “We have three (players) running 4.4 (second 40-yard dashes),” Schooler said of himself, Phox and Franklin. “We’ve got speed.”


14G THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

CENTRAL KANSAS LEAGUE TEAMS Halstead Jonah McKee Cory Armendariz Alex Thibault Timothy Glassco

5-4 5-6 5-4 5-10

155 QB 170 FB 165 RB-DB 175 DL

will lead a Swather backfield that possesses plenty of speed and depth. Schedule: Friday, at Halstead; Sept. 7, at NickSr. Sr. erson; Sept. 14, Haven; Sept. 21, Hillsboro; Sept. Sr. 28, at Kingman; Oct. 5, at Pratt; Oct. 12, Circle; Sr. Oct. 19, at Maize South; Oct. 25, El Dorado.

Coach: Marc Svaty, fifth season. 2011: 6-3 Notes: McKee and Armendariz return to lead an experienced Dragon offense. McKee threw for 866 yards last season and Armendariz lead the team in rushing with 1,030 yards. Schedule: Friday, Hesston; Sept. 7, at Lyons; Sept. 14, at Smoky Valley; Sept. 21, Sterling; Sept. 28, Pratt; Oct. 5, at Kingman; Oct. 12, at Marion; Oct. 19, Moundridge; Oct. 25, Hillsboro.

Haven Trae Regier Zach Hendrickson Jed Beachy Dalton Arbuckle

5-9 5-8 5-10 6-0

175 RB-LB 180 FB-LB 175 WR-LB 165 WRDB

Hesston 6-2 6-6 5-11 5-11

215 RB-LB 215 QB:Jr. 190 FB-LB 175 RB-DB

Lucas Sinclair Mitchell Day Christian Ratzlaff Tyrell Thiessen

5-11 165 QB-DB 5-7 135 RB-DB 6-2 170 WRDB 5-11 260 RB-LB

Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr.

Coach: Lance Sawyer, first season. 2011: 5-5 Notes: Sinclair will be the one of the few new starters in the Trojan offense. Led by Day and Thiessen, depth and experience will be big assets Sr. to Hillsboro’s season on both sides of the ball. Schedule: Friday, at Lyons; Sept. 7, Sterling; Sr. Sr. Sept. 14, Nickerson; Sept. 21, at Hesston; Sept. Sr. 28, Smoky Valley; Oct. 5, Remington; Oct. 12, at Moundridge; Oct. 19, Marion; Oct. 25, at Halstead.

Coach: Mike Self, second season. 2011: 2-7 Notes: Regier and Hendrickson will showcase the Wildcats’ flexbone offense this year. Expectations are growing for Haven with 17 starters returning this season. Schedule: Friday, Eureka; Sept. 7, at Pratt; Sept. 14, at Hesston; Sept. 21, Smoky Valley; Ssept. 28, at Belle Plaine; Oct. 5, Nickerson; Oct. 12, Garden Plain; Oct. 19, at Kingman; Oct. 25, Trinity Academy.

John Birch Wyatt McKinney Marcos Duran Ryan Schadler

Hillsboro

Sr. Sr. Jr.

Coach: Marc Marinelli, third season. 2011: 8-3 Notes: Hesston returns six starters on a defense that helped guide them to a 6-1 league record and a 4-0 division record last season. Birch

Kingman Austin Massey Nick Meng Zach Andersen Ryan Boroughs

5-11 6-0 6-0 6-0

170 170 200 190

RB-LB TE-DB FB-LB OL-LB

Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr.

Coach: Curtis Albin, second season. 2011: 2-7 Notes: Having to play with many underclassmen last season will be to Kingman’s benefit. Anderson and Boroughs look to build upon all-league seasons as sophomores. Schedule: Friday, at Sunrise; Sept. 7, at Smoky Valley; Sept. 14, Pratt; Sept. 21, at Nickerson; Sept. 28, Hesston; Oct. 5, Halstead; Oct. 12, at Hutchinson Trinity; Oct. 19, Haven; Oct. 25, Garden Plain.

Lyons Lukas Padilla Luis Rascon Ryan McClure Alan Pina

5-9 5-8 5-11 6-1

165 RB-DB 155 RB-LB 165 QB-DB 190 OL-DL

Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr.

Coach: James Johnston, first season. 2011: 1-8 Notes: Johnston takes over the Lions after 24 seasons at South Barber. Padilla and Rascon will give Johnston an experienced backfield that will compete well in the CKL. Schedule: Friday, Hillsboro; Sept. 7, Halstead; Sept. 14, at Sterling; Sept. 21, at Pratt; Sept. 28, Nickerson; Oct. 5, at Smoky Valley; Oct. 12, at Ellsworth; Oct. 19, SE-Saline; Oct. 25, at Salina Sacred Heart.

Nickerson Sean Rodriguez Tyler Owen Ryan O’Tool Bailey Zulkoski

6-0 6-0 6-1 5-10

190 RB-DB 190 RB-LB 190 QB 195 LB

Jarod Gilmore Skylar Dean Anthony Cannata Robbie Eggleston

5-9 5-10 5-10 6-1

195 OL-LB 170 DB 185 RB 190 DL

Smoky Valley Spencer Bird Holden Hendricks Mark Klaasen Jake Rogers

6-0 6-3 6-4 5-10

185 180 215 160

OL-LB Jr. WR-DL Sr. DL Sr. WR-LB Sr.

Coach: Chris Hattabaugh, fourth season. 2011: 4-5 Notes: Nine starters return on defense for the Vikings including all four linebackers. Returning all-league players Bird and Hendricks will lead Smoky Valley’s offense. Schedule: Friday, at Sterling; Sept. 7, Kingman; Sept. 14, Halstead; Sept. 21, at Haven; Sept. 28, Sr. at Hillsboro; Oct. 5, Lyons; Oct. 12, McPherson; Sr. Oct. 19, at Chapman; Oct. 25, at Abilene.

Sr. Sr.

Coach: Max Heinlein, seventh season. 2011: 4-5 Notes: Experience will not be an issue for the Panthers as they return their entire offensive backfield as well as eight starters on defense. Schedule: Friday, Pratt; Sept. 7, Hesston; Sept. 14, at Hillsboro; Sept. 21, Kingman; Sept. 28, at Lyons; Oct. 5, at Haven; Oct. 12, Cheney; Oct. 19, Andale; Oct. 25, at Buhler.

Pratt

Sept. 14, at Kingman; Sept. 21, Lyons; Sept. 28, at Halstead; Oct. 5, Hesston; Oct. 12, at Hugoton; Oct. 19, Ulysses; Oct. 25, at Larned.

Sterling Riley Galyon Kirk Engelland Austin Maxwell Jed Dierksen

5-10 6-1 6-4 6-2

185 QB-DB 180 RB-DB 225 OL-LB 255 OL-DL

Coach: Matt Hendricks, fourth season. 2011: 7-3 Notes: The Black Bears return only three starters on offense. Sterling will look to combat its loss of experienced skill position players with its size on the offensive front. Schedule: Friday, Smoky Valley; Sept. 7, at Sr. Hillsboro; Sept. 14, Lyons; Sept. 21, at Halstead; Sr. Sept. 28, Ellinwood; Oct. 5, at Medicine Lodge; Sr. Oct. 12, La Crosse; Oct. 19, at Inman; Oct. 25, Sr. Stanton County.

Coach: Forrest Mazey, second season. 2011: 4-6 Notes: Gilmore and Dean return to lead a team that will look for several players to fill key roles on the offensive side of the ball. Fall practices will determine who plays quarterback. Schedule: Friday, at Nickerson; Sept. 7, Haven;

GAME OF THE WEEK ON FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE

7 LIVE GAMES!

Aug. 30

Bishop Carroll at Wichita Heights

Sept. 21

Aug. 31

Hutchinson at Salina Central

Sept. 7

Topeka Hayden at Topeka High

Sept. 14

McPherson at Rose Hill

Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 19 Oct. 26

Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Frontenac at Pittsburg St. Mary’s Colgan Andover at Andover Central Derby at Hutchinson Rose Hill at Wichita Collegiate Salina South at Great Bend


WWW.KANSAS.COM

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 15G

OTHER CENTRAL PLAINS LEAGUE TEAMS

GARDEN PLAIN OWLS

Belle Plaine Ryan Willms Austin Johnson Sebastian Brown Quay Hervey

McCormick

Bauer

Clark

At a glance Coach: Brad McCormick, first season Last season: 11-2, lost in Class 3A semifinals Last five seasons: 53-8 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Top skill players Player Dylan Clark Denver Doyle Tim Bugner Caleb Arnold

Ht. 6-0 6-2 5-11 6-0

Wt. 175 200 180 200

Pos RB-DB RB-LB WR TE-DB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Top linemen Player Joe Bauer Tyler Puetz Travis Simon Wyatt Lehner

Ht. 6-0 6-0 6-1 6-4

Wt. 215 225 220 205

Pos OL-LB OL-DL OL-DL TE-DL

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

2011 results at Bluestem

W,75-7

Doyle

W,48-0 W,53-6 W,19-13 (OT) W,64-0 W,63-0 W,21-14 L,28-21 W,44-38 W,42-29 W,18-15 W,50-34 L,38-14

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

Patrick Hurd Cooper Minnick Adam Wolfe Logan Haworth

6-5 5-9 5-10 6-0

Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

235 165 155 220

OL-DL RB-LB WR-DB OL-DL

Sr. So. Jr. Jr.

Douglass at Chaparral Belle Plaine Trinity Academy (at Circle) at Cheney Conway Springs at Haven Hutchinson Trinity at Kingman

6-1 5-10 5-10 6-1

295 160 150 220

OL-DL QB-DB WR-DB RB-LB

5-11 5-11 6-2 5-10

215 160 175 135

FB-LB RB-DB OL-DL OL-LB

Coach: Jeff Ast, third season, 6-13. 2011: 5-5. Notes: Douglass has a young team this year, but returns three key juniors from last season. The Bulldogs will need to focus on improving fundamentals such as tackling and blocking in order to be successful. Schedule: Friday, at Garden Plain; Sept. 7, Sunrise; Sept. 14, at Medicine Lodge; Sept. 21, Wichita Independent; Sept. 28, Bluestem; Oct. 5, at Trinity Academy; Oct. 12, at Chaparral; Oct. 19, at Belle Plaine; Oct. 25, Conway Springs.

Bryant Wornkey Tyler Small Nathan Leibham Logan Berthoff

Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

5-11 6-1 5-10 5-11

190 260 150 180

RB-LB OL-DL WR-DB OL-LB

Plain’s loss to Sedgwick. He awaits trial on child sex-related charges. The stability McCormick offered in the midst of chaos within the football program and the community was noticeable because he was retained as coach, and Garden Plain’s entire coaching staff, including 2011 interim coach, is returning. The Owls lost leading rusher Joey Capul but have been successful in replacing top backs in the past. This season the job of feature back falls to Dylan Clark, also a standout defensive back.

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Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Coach: Faron Kraft, second season, 4-6. 2011: 4-6. Notes: Medicine Lodge will depend on its offense with the return of most starters. Wornkey will lead the offense, returning from his seven touchdowns and 442 rushing yards. Schedule: Friday, at Wichita Independent; Sept. 7, at Bluestem; Sept. 14, Douglass; Sept. 21, at Chaparral; Sept. 28, at Inman; Oct. 5, Sterling; Oct. 12, at Ellinwood; Oct. 19, Sublette; Oct. 25, La Crosse.

Coach: Justin Burke, third season, 8-11. 2011: 1-8.

Owls’ eventful 2011 in the past

Jr. Jr. Jr. So.

Medicine Lodge

Chaparral Clay Wilcox Zack Duwe Major Weiss Conner Dickey

Douglass Ryker Greenbaum Avery McNelly Hunter Ackerman Braiden Seal

Coach: Kyle Wallis, second season, 3-7. 2011: 3-7. Notes: After ending a 29-game losing streak and making its first playoff appearance in school history last season, Bluestem looks to continue its momentum with the return of five offensive starters and six defensive starters. Schedule: Friday, at Conway Springs; Sept. 7, Medicine Lodge; Sept. 14, Chaparral; Sept. 21, Belle Plaine; Sept. 28, at Douglass; Oct. 5, at NE-Arma; Oct. 12, Remington; Oct. 19, at Sedgwick; Oct. 25, at Wichita Independent.

What Garden Plain does well: "I think we’re going to run the ball well like we always have, and just focus on the little things. We know our assignments well, like the back of our hands, and can run them over and over again." What has to improve: "Communication, probably, on defense right now. That’s the most important thing we have to work on right now, so we can stop the run easy and stop the pass."

since Conway Springs beat the Owls in the Class 3A semifinals after Garden Plain eked out a regular-season win. If Garden Plain is circling "It’s in the back of our heads the Oct. 5 football game against Conway Springs on its probably a little bit, but for calendar, it’s only because the the most part we focus on week-to-week," first-year Owls are circling all games. Garden Plain coach Brad Certainly that one carries McCormick said. significant intrigue because the teams split two games last Garden Plain survived, and season and have one of the thrived last season in the face of fiercest rivalries in the state. adversity, going 11-1 before the But Garden Plain’s schedule loss to eventual champion Concan be treacherous in other way Springs ended its season places, too, so focusing on just one win shy of the 3A title game. one could be dangerous. Former Owls coach Todd The revenge factor will play Puetz was arrested in Octoa role in the Week 6 game ber, three days after Garden

OL-DL OL-DL OL-DL RB-DB

Bluestem

TIM BUGNER ON HIS TEAM

BY JEFFREY LUTZ The Wichita Eagle

235 210 200 175

Coach: Brian Seba, fourth season, 8-19. 2011: 5-4. Notes: The offensive and defensive lines will be particularly strong with the return of Willms. The senior experience will lead the team in an attempt to achieve consecutive winning seasons for the first time in 20 years. Schedule: Friday, Cheney; Sept. 7, Trinity Academy; Sept. 14, at Garden Plain; Sept. 21, at Bluestem; Sept. 28, Haven; Oct. 5, Wichita Independent; Oct. 12, at Conway Springs; Oct. 19, Douglass; Oct. 25, at Chaparral.

Puetz

Cheney Douglass at Conway Springs at Independent Belle Plaine at Hutchinson Trinity Sedgwick Halstead SE-Saline Collegiate Beloit Conway Springs

5-11 6-3 5-11 5-10

Notes: The combination of QB Duwe and All-CPL receiver Weiss will be important in order for the Roadrunners to avenge last year’s disappointing season. The young defense will be a challenge for Chaparral. Schedule: Friday, Trinity Academy; Sept. 7, Garden Plain; Sept. 14, at Bluestem; Sept. 21, Medicine Lodge; Sept. 28, at Wichita Independent; Oct. 5, at Cheney; Oct. 12, Douglass; Oct. 19, Conway Springs; Oct. 25, Belle Plaine.


16G THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

CHENEY CARDINALS

Brack

H.-Nordahl

Higgins

At a glance

Biehler

Ht. Wt. Pos 5-10 165 WR-DB

Yr Sr.

6-0 180 RB-LB 5-8 150 WR-DB 5-11 170 WR-LB

Sr. Sr. Jr.

Ht. 6-2 6-3 6-3 6-2

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Wt. 290 275 280 175

Pos OL-DL OL-DL OL-DL TE

L,27-6 L,48-0 W,16-15 W,46-0 L,49-12 W,23-20 L,22-19 L,33-14 W,27-14

2012 schedule at Belle Plaine Independent Trinity Academy at Conway Springs Garden Plain Chaparral at Nickerson at Buhler Andale

Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

Top linemen

Carl Leahy

Martin

At a glance

Hutchinson Trinity at Garden Plain at Chaparral Bluestem Conway Springs at Medicine Lodge Andale at Maize South Trinity Academy

Top skill players

Player Clayton Hufford Gabe Schomaker Tanner Wulf Miles Craig

Hufford

2011 results

Coach: Cory Brack, first season Last season: 4-5 Last five seasons: 24-21 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player Chad HarbourNordahl Tommy Hill Jared Giefer Layne Higgins

Hill

CONWAY SPRINGS CARDINALS

Top skill players Ht. 6-5 6-0 5-11 5-11

Wt. 240 160 185 160

Pos QB-LB RB-FS RB-LB RB-LB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

Ht. 6-0 5-11 6-0 6-3

Wt. 225 215 250 260

Pos C-DE OG-DT OT-DT OT-DL

Yr Sr. Sr. Jr. So.

Top linemen Player Levi Bond Derek Martin Ethan Roth Logan Creek

JARED GIEFER ON HIS TEAM What Cheney does well: “My senior class has had three coaches, so we’ve grown pretty close as a group. Having Coach Brack come on and really try to emphasize team pride is big to us because that’s something important to us and you see that translated to our weight room and our mentality in preparing for the year.” What has to improve: “Last year we had a couple of games where we had the game won and at the end of it things just kind of fell apart on us. We need to work on finishing, on being able to close things out.”

Deep Cardinals welcome coach

two-minute trip to the grocery store usually turns into about 30 minutes.” Brack already appears to Cory Brack discovered have rejuvenated a program something quickly after he with its third coach in three took the job as the Cheney years. football coach in May. It also doesn’t hurt that he That 40-minute commute inherits 11 returning starters, to Wichita South he thought he’d left behind? That wasn’t including a handful of Allnecessarily time he would be Central Plains League picks. “The effort from these kids, getting back … despite the led by the seniors, has just mere 90 seconds it would been tremendous,” Brack now take to drive from his said. “You ask them to do home to his office — Brack something and it gets done … and his wife have lived in no questions asked.” Cheney the entire time he The Cardinals’ open with a coached at South, moving winnable spate of three there to be close to family. games — Belle Plaine, In“That’s the thing about coaching here, the communi- dependent and Wichita Trinty support is really awesome,” ity — before getting into a brutal stretch where they face Brack said. “It also means a BY TONY ADAME The Wichita Eagle

Garden Plain and Conway Springs back to back then finish the season with backto-back games against Buhler and Andale. “(Brack) has totally turned around the mentality toward weights and how we work in the weight room,” senior wide receiver-defensive back Jared Giefer said. “It’s been better than what it has been before since the moment he got here.” The Cardinals have a considerable amount of weight up front, which will be key with a new starter at quarterback — either senior Austin Martin or junior Tyler Amsink. Brack said Martin and Amsink would battle for the starting job in camp.

Anderson

Loveland

At a glance

Top skill players Ht. 6-2 5-8 5-9 5-10

Wt. 190 150 175 175

Pos QB-S RB-LB RB-LB RB-LB

Yr Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr.

Top linemen Player Luke Anderson Wyatt Gooden Matt Medrano Drew Bonfiglio

Ht. 5-11 6-0 6-3 5-9

Wt. 205 195 275 170

Pos OL-LB OL-DL OL-DL OL-LB

Yr Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

at Medicine Lodge at Chaparral Conway Springs at Trinity Academy Garden Plain at Bluestem Douglass at Collegiate Belle Plaine

Rowe

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

, Bluestem at Caney Valley at Independent Cheney Trinity Academy at Garden Plain Belle Plaine at Chaparral at Douglass

What Conway Springs does well: “We’re committed to being the most physical team anybody has to face all season and running the ball in the style we’re used to. We want to be big and physical with teams, to be the aggressors.” What has to improve: “We have a lot of guys that aren’t necessarily inexperienced, but they haven’t been starters and haven’t had to be completely relied on before. Because they haven’t been starters you have to consider them unproven, but I think they’re ready to make a big impact.”

Conway keeps single-wing going step, and just starting with putting your foot right where it needs to be after the snap,” said senior offensive lineman There will be a time this Derek Martin, a returning season when the Conway starter. “You want to be preSprings offense finds itself cise and that comes from lined up against a bigger, practicing it over and over more experienced opponent. With only four starters back again.” Junior Ethan Roth (6-foot, for the defending Class 3A 250) and sophomore Logan champions on offense — and Creek (6-3, 260), should give the biggest of those being 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarter- Conway Springs some muchneeded size up front – Marback/running back Tanner tin is 5-10, 195 and fellow Wood — this is inevitable. In facing this challenge, the returning starter Levi Bond is Cardinals’ preparation will be 6-1, 225 – but more imporcrucial, followed by precision. tant to the team will be the “So much relies on that first newcomers learning the nuBY TONY ADAME The Wichita Eagle

McDaniel

Dobler

Green

At a glance L,48-7 L,36-7 L,80-0 L,40-7 L,64-0 L,29-0 L,56-12 L,63-0 L,53-14

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

W,65-0 W,55-8 W,80-0 L,19-13 (OT) W,49-12 W,53-13 W,56-6 W,69-15 W,69-0 W,46-8 W,55-13 W,39-21 W,38-14 W,49-7

ances of the single wing to keep opponents off-balance. Fourth-year coach Matt Biehler and longtime assistant Gregg Hullinger — both part of all seven of the Cardinals’ state titles since 1998 — coach the offensive line together. “On paper, we have kids that aren’t starters, but they’ve got a lot of playing time,” Biehler said. Ryan Pauly (6-1, 155) is a returning starter at running back and 5-10, 175-pound junior Brady Bodine backed up but got some carries last season.

TRINITY ACADEMY KNIGHTS

2011 results

Coach: Jarrod Hibler, second season, 0-9 Last season: 0-9 Last five seasons: 12-34 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player Matt Loveland Grant Campbell Karson Rowe Carter McCausland

Medrano

at Belle Plaine Douglass at Independent Garden Plain at Cheney Trinity Academy at Medicine Lodge Chaparral Kingman Douglass Sedgwick Scott City Garden Plain Silver Lake

DEREK MARTIN TALKS ABOUT HIS TEAM

INDEPENDENT PANTHERS

Hibler

Wood

2011 results

Coach: Matt Biehler, fourth season, 36-3 Last season:13-1, won Class 3A title Last five seasons: 58-6 Projected 2012 playoff team? Yes

Player Tanner Wood Ryan Pauly Brady Bodine Alex Stanley

Pauly

Medicine Lodge at Cheney Conway Springs at Douglass Chaparral at Belle Plaine Sedgwick at Remington Bluestem

Top skill players Ht. 6-0 6-0 5-10 6-2

Wt. 185 170 170 180

Pos RB QB WR TE

Yr So. So. Sr. Sr.

Top linemen Player Grant Meyerhoff Lane Dobler Eric Hansen James Eades

Poulos

2011 results

Coach: Jared McDaniel, first season Last season: 4-5 Last four seasons: 17-19 Projected 2012 playoff team? No

Player Tyler Burns Matt Jones D.J. Green J.J. Poulos

Meyerhoff

Ht. 6-2 6-0 6-2 6-3

Wt. 250 190 210 225

Pos OL-DL OL-DL OL-DL DL

Yr Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr.

at Douglass Bluestem at Medicine Lodge Independent at Chaparral at Conway Springs Maize South Andale at Cheney

W,33-22 W,51-7 L,26-13 W,40-7 W,36-22 L,53-13 L,42-10 L,57-3 L,27-14

2012 schedule Friday Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 25

at Chaparral at Belle Plaine at Cheney Garden Plain at Conway Springs Douglass Collegiate at Augusta at Rose Hill

MATT LOVELAND ON HIS TEAM

D.J. GREEN ON HIS TEAM

What Independent does well: “We have a good group of seniors, we’ve been together for a long time. We have good chemistry. We’re not the biggest team, so we have to rely on each other.” What has to improve: “Team speed — we need to be even faster overall. We know we’re not the biggest team, so we need to make plays.”

What Trinity does well: “Being united as a team. It helps all aspects of the team if upperclassmen are there to help underclassmen.” What has to improve: “Learning the new offense, and not having breakdowns on defense during the game.”

Seniors should aid Independent New-look Knights set to spread BY TOM SEALS The Wichita Eagle

Independent struggled through a winless football season in 2011 under firstyear coach Jarrod Hibler. There’s one difference in this season’s team that has been apparent to Hibler. “Last year we had zero seniors on the roster, so we were looking for a leader, looking for that guy all year,” Hibler said. “This year we’re looking at a roster with 10 seniors, most of them have three years starting experience. Most of them should not have a problem with leadership.” That leadership has shown

in a more serious work ethic during summer workouts. “Last year we had guys who would take a day off because they were busy or they were tired,” Hibler said. “This summer we’ve been a lot more consistent.” The Panthers’ offense was a work in progress, often playing from a spread formation while adding elements of the flex-bone. The progress was slowed by an injury to quarterback Matt Loveland. Hibler said Loveland is healthy again for his senior season, and his return will be noticeable — in addition to playing quarterback he was a starter on defense and returned kicks.

“His biggest asset is his mind, he’s a very cerebral player and always knows what’s going on.” Independent will make use of a variety of players in the backfield with Loveland. Hibler said he has six running backs who could play each game, led by junior fullback Karson Rowe. Defensively, the Panthers — who are not especially large — will try to play to their strengths. “We’ve designed our team on angles and speed,” Hibler said. “We want to force the tempo and force the offense’s hand. We don’t want to sit back and take the offense’s best shot.”

BY TOM SEALS The Wichita Eagle

Trinity Academy players and coaches have had to speed up the introductory process this summer. Jared McDaniel was hired as coach in early July, and so he had limited time with his new players before practices began in August. Still, McDaniel and his staff chose to change offensive schemes, installing a spread offense. He said he was satisfied with the progress in midAugust, saying that players had the basics down. “We still need to work the finer things out, the timing,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel will rely on an experienced roster. He said the Knights’ line, led by senior Grant Meyerhoff, will provide consistency. “I think we can depend on them,” McDaniel said. He doesn’t think the change in schemes will be a problem for linemen. “We don’t want them sitting there thinking, we want them firing off the ball.” Trinity also has the benefit of talented skill players. Sophomore Tyler Burns and senior D.J. Green were integral parts of last year’s offense. Burns rushed for 843 yards, and Green picked up 587 on the ground. McDaniel said Burns’ speed,

quickness and change of direction make him dangerous. “We need him to be a gamechanger for us. So far he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do,” McDaniel said. Green provides more than just yards on offense. “He’s a great team leader for us,” McDaniel said. “He’s a hard worker. Kids are going to rally around him.” Sophomore Matt Jones will take over at quarterback, the player most responsible for learning the intricacies of a new offense. “He throws the ball well,” McDaniel said. “We need to teach him how to read defenses, make good decisions.”


WWW.KANSAS.COM

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 17G

Conway Springs follows lead of versatile star Kansas State-bound Tanner Wood does it all for Cardinals. ■

BY TONY ADAME The Wichita Eagle

CONWAY SPRINGS — It’s early in the morning and Tanner Wood is controlling the stereo in the Conway Springs locker room with a smile on his face and a Kansas State hat tilted on top of his head. He blasts a song by country rapper Bottleneck — “Homegrown Country Folks” — and finishes up a workout, laughing as the half-dozen or so teammates left in the weight room cut up with each other and ask Wood to play some Tech N9ne so they don’t come off as too “country.” An hour later, the group poses for a picture, arms draped around each other in a scene that could be from any era in the storied history of a program that has won seven Class 3A titles since 1998, including a 49-7 romp in last year’s title-game win over Silver Lake. And if this era belongs to any player, it’s Wood — a 6-foot-5, 240-pound senior running back/quarterback in the Cardinals’ offense and a hybrid linebacker/rush end on defense who grew up loving Nebraska but is now headed to play for Kansas State despite suitors from all over the country, including Tennessee, Oregon and Southern California. He’s projected to be a college defensive end. “We knew when Tanner was

DERBY From Page 6G passing-receiving camp before football started. He produced.” Clark knew Shantz was athletic when he saw him playing basketball in P.E. class — and dunked over a defender during a 3-on-3 game. Shantz asked for the Derby playbook soon after transferring, but Clark held off, wanting to teach him the ins-and-outs of the offensive system himself. When Shantz could finally spend time with Clark discussing football, it was a rush of information that wasn’t easy to sift through. “There’s a lot of sets, a lot of plays,” Shantz said. “… There’s tons of formations, tons of plays out of formations. The other thing is, there’s no huddle, it’s all hand-signaled in. That took me a while to get it figured out.” It was much more difficult than at Buhler, where he had played in the same offense since elementary school. Although Shantz had proven himself at Buhler, helping lead the Crusaders deep into

Mike Hutmacher/The Wichita Eagle

Conway Springs defensive end Tanner Wood has made an oral commitment to Kansas State. in our middle-school program that we’d have a special player when he got to high school,” Conway Springs coach Matt Biehler said. “And a lot of it has to do with the senior leadership he came up under. They really brought him into the fold and showed him what we expect. “And now, he’s that leader showing the younger kids the way.” The Cardinals open up the the 4A playoffs his sophomore and junior seasons, Derby junior Jeremy Dunham was expected to be this season’s starter. Shantz won the job, though. “They are cut from the same cloth,” Clark said. “All Chandler has is a year of physical maturity. Dunham is just as special as Chandler. “…. (Shantz) is a very special thrower. We’re trying to get him to not have so much zip on shorter passes. He throws a tight spiral and there’s a lot of things we can do (now) that we haven’t been able to do. He can throw that deep route, the deep comeback. His arm and legs lengthen the field, so there’s always that deep threat.” Shantz needs to work on his footwork and touch on the ball, but he knows that. The key for Clark is, he doesn’t want Shantz to put all the expectations, all the pressure on himself. Derby’s got a good team, a good defense, a good offense around him. “I don’t want him to try to do too much,” Clark said. “I don’t want him to try to be the hero on every play. ‘We have enough (players) to go around you to let them do their job, too.’ ”

JOANNA CHADWICK’S LEAGUE FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS City League 1. Carroll 2. Heights 3. Northwest 4. Kapaun 5. East 6. Southeast 7. South 8. West 9. North Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division I 1. Hutchinson 2. Derby 3. Salina South 4. Salina Central 5. Newton 6. Maize 7. Campus Division II 1. Andover Central 2. Eisenhower 3. Maize South 4. Arkansas City 5. Goddard 6. Andover 7. Valley Center Division III 1. Rose Hill 2. McPherson 3. Buhler 4. Mulvane 5. Winfield 6. El Dorado

Division IV 1. Collegiate 2. Andale 3. Wellington 4. Clearwater 5. Circle 6. Augusta Central Plains League 1. Conway Springs 2. Garden Plain 3. Cheney 4. Trinity Academy 5. Chaparral 6. Douglass 7. Medicine Lodge 8. Belle Plaine 9. Bluestem 10. Independent Central Kansas League North 1. Halstead 2. Smoky Valley 3. Hillsboro 4. Sterling 5. Lyons South 1. Hesston 2. Nickerson 3. Pratt 4. Kingman 5. Haven

season Friday at Bluestem. Wood had 88 tackles as a junior to go with three interceptions and a fumble recovery, and is the No. 3-rated player in the state according to Rivals.com. In Conway Springs’ single-wing offense, Wood is comfortable throwing, blocking or running with the ball. “He can put his hand down and blitzes really well,” Biehler said. “But we let him play

CARROLL From Page 2G great leadership skills.” “I’ve been working a lot on technique and footwork,” Palmer said. “… I’m really excited, though, with all our receivers and running backs.” In addition to Denning and Henning, there’s Derek Bongartz and Scott Linnebur, who averaged 10 yards per catch. Senior Bryce Harvey, who had 548 receiving yards, suffered an anterior-cruciate ligament injury, but hopes to return in the postseason. “Matt Denning is as explosive as anyone we’ve ever had,” Schuckman said. “But with our receivers, teams will have a hard time singling any of them out. That helps the running game.” The running game with Hernandez and Goolsby, and junior Tory Smith could be what sets apart Carroll, which

sideline to sideline so he can just go make plays wherever the ball goes. The nice thing about him is we can put different alignments in there and he picks things up very quickly.” This season, Wood must help show the way for 15 new starters, including younger brother Travis, a sophomore split end/outside linebacker. “We’re really close because we’re the only two kids in the family,” Wood said. “And this

year is extremely important for me because I want to show (Travis) how it’s done. “I feel like he’s good on his own, but I also still feel like I need to protect him a little bit.” The two brothers were inseparable this summer, lifting weights almost every day and heading to Wichita for speed and agility sessions on Friday with a group led by trainer Brian Butler – working out

“Matt Denning is as explosive as anyone we’ve ever had. But with our receivers, teams will have a hard time singling any of them out. That helps the running game.” Alan Schuckman, Carroll coach has eight offensive starters back. How can teams focus on Palmer’s passing game, when the Eagles can run so effectively? “It comes down to those running backs have to be physical,” Schuckman said. “We’re physical up front, but we need our running backs to be more physical than they were last year. … We talk about being a physical runner, but it’s blocking, too. We weren’t very good blockers from the running back position.” Hernandez can be a bruising running back, while Goolsby, only the second freshman to play varsity for Schuckman (a kicker was the other), can make the quick

cuts and outrun the defense. He broke a 300-yard shuttle team record heading into his freshman season. There’s also an experienced line, with Barrientos, Matt Johnson and Joseph Frangenberg. As for defense, Carroll is experienced on the defensive line with Zach Befort and Patrick Dugan. But after them, Carroll must count on young players. “The key for us is finding 11 guys who will play great defense,” Schuckman said. “The offense coming back, it’s a nice thing to have. We have a lot of guys who have made big plays in big games. Then again, I don’t think that’s the difference maker as far as

alongside K-State linebackers Arthur Brown and Jonathan Truman, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Joe Hastings and Philadelphia Eagles draftee Bryce Brown. “It’s pretty fast-paced, pretty serious workout sessions,” Tanner said. “You feel like you’re going to throw up the whole time … and when you’re done you just want to die. You don’t even want to drive home you’re so tired.” Along with their teammates, they also went to a full-contact camp in Haysville and several camps at Kansas State, where Tanner committed before his junior season after being recruited by defensive ends coach Joe Bob Clements. “I grew up loving Nebraska, but when they moved out of the Big 12 my entire family kind of shifted to Kansas State,” Wood said. “(Clements) has a lot of the qualities that people I look up to have and we just had an instant connection … even after I committed he’s come down to talk to me and we’ll just sit and talk football for like 45 minutes.” It’s a commitment that hasn’t changed how Wood treats people — or how they treat him. And all involved credit Conway Springs’ closeknit atmosphere for keeping him humble in his burgeoning stardom. “(Tanner) is a good leader, he helps people out and he treats people really well,” Travis said. “I know I’m going to cherish this season playing with him … we’ve got a young group but I think we’re going to step up.”

winning football games. We have to be able to stop other teams.” Carroll opens against Heights, which has scored 66 points in two straight wins over Carroll. And the western half of Class 5A remains strong with Emporia, Salina South and Hays. So the Eagles are confident but cautious. “We’re going to respect every opponent,” Palmer said. “We’ll trust our abilities, but give them the respect they deserve. And we’re going to do what we think it takes to win. “Hard work and commitment, that’s how we’ll beat other teams. … When we go out on Friday nights, we’ll know that we’ve done everything we can to prepare and we’ve done it the right way and we’ve given it our all.” Check Joanna Chadwick’s VarsityKansas.com blog at blogs.varsitykansas.com. Reach her at 316-268-6270 or jchadwick@wichitaeagle.com.

THE VARSITYKANSAS.COM PRESEASON RANKINGS Class 6A 2011 record in parentheses 1. Hutchinson (11-2) preview is on page 8G. 2. Olathe South (12-1) is the defending 6A champ and returns QB Frankie Seurer and OL Braden Smith. 3. Derby (8-4) preview is on page 6G. 4. Gardner-Edgerton (6-3) moves up to 6A. RB Traevohn Wrench (2,424 yards) could be one of state’s best. 5. Wichita Heights (12-1) preview is on page 3G. Others: Garden City (7-3), Junction City (6-3), Lawrence (6-4), Lawrence Free State (6-3), Manhattan (9-1), Olathe East (9-3), Olathe North (5-4), SM East (6-5), SM West (7-4), Topeka (4-5), Wichita Northwest (7-3)

Class 5A 1. Bishop Carroll (10-2) preview is on page 2G. 2. Blue Valley (11-2) finished second in 5A. Returns nine starters, including OL Clay Rhoades, who has committed to Missouri. 3. Bishop Miege (9-2) returns QB Montell Cozart (2,448 passing yards), who has committed to Kansas. LB Brad Ivey also returns. 4. Salina South (4-6) preview is on page 8G. 5. Hays (8-2) only has seven starters back, but with RB David Cardinal (1,464) and LB Cade Sharp (51 tackles), Hays will be tough again. Others: Andover Central (6-4), Emporia (7-4), Great Bend (4-4), Kapaun Mount Carmel (8-3), Mill Valley (7-3), Pittsburg (6-3), Salina Central (5-4), St. Thomas Aquinas (4-5)

Class 4A 1. Holton (8-2) lost to Rose Hill in first round of playoffs. LB Trent Tanking is one of state’s best. 2. Rose Hill (13-1) preview is on page 12G. 3. Topeka Hayden (11-2), which lost to

Rose Hill in the 4A semifinals, has eight returning starters. 4. Wichita Collegiate (8-3) preview is on page 13G. 5. Andale (5-6) preview is on page 11G. Others: Abilene (10-1), Buhler (11-1), Chanute (8-4), Concordia (8-2), Eudora (12-2), Fort Scott (8-2), Hesston (8-3), Louisburg (5-6), McPherson (7-3), Mulvane (8-3), Paola (8-2), St. James Academy (4-5), Ulysses (8-2)

games in two seasons, three to Meade. QB Quinn Kendrick is a running and passing threat. Others: Centralia (10-3), Doniphan West (9-2), Ellis (5-5), Ell-Saline (2-7), Lyndon (8-2), Oakley (7-3), Olpe (5-4), Onaga (4-5), Washington County (4-5)

8-Man I

1. Madison (13-0) preview in on page 18G. 2. Ness City (8-2) is experienced and the Class 3A offense will rely on Garrett Flax and Dalton Gantz. 1. Conway Springs (13-1) preview is on 3. South Gray (11-1) will be strongest on page 16G. the offensive and defensive lines, but few 2. Silver Lake (12-2) finished second in 3A to Conway Springs and returns 15 start- veteran players return from second-place team. ers. 4. Macksville (10-1) will rely on players 3. Scott City (11-1) lost its only game to Conway Springs but a veteran team is led by who were in backup roles in 2011, including QB Tanner Tranbarger. He led the team in QB Brett O’Neil (1,467 passing yards). tackles (132). 4. Garden Plain (11-1) preview is on 5. Clifton-Clyde (7-2) has 12 starters page 15G. back, including RB Alex Deaver (1,296 5. Beloit (9-3), which scored 544 points rushing yards). in 2011, returns 16 starters, including QB Others: Hodgeman County (5-3), Little Payton Vetter. Others: Caney Valley (11-1), Galena (8-4), River (7-3), Marmaton Valley, Rawlins County (4-5), South Haven (11-1), Udall (7-3) Hoisington (5-4), Neodesha (8-2), Phillipsburg (7-3), Pittsburg Colgan (11-1), Riley 8-Man II County, (8-3) Rock Creek (9-4), Rossville (9-2), Sacred Heart (6-4), Sedgwick (10-1), 1. Baileyville (12-1), runnerup in 2011, Wellsville (10-1) has played in four straight title games and returns nine starters.. Class 2-1A 2. Wallace County (8-2) has five offensive and seven defensive starters back. QB 1. Meade (10-1) lost four starters on its Gavin Mote and RB Eli Kuhlman return. OL, but Trevin Weins, Chris Hardaway and 3. Chetopa (6-4) returns its offensive line Jett Little combined for about 3,000 rushing and 14 starters. QB Dylan Price had 2,722 yards. yards of total offense. 2. LaCrosse (12-1) returns RBs Levi 4. Hope (10-1) has advanced to the playMorss (1,302 rushing) and Kip Keeley (828 offs 17 of 18 seasons. Six returning starters rushing) from its team that narrowly lost to are key to extending that run. Centralia in the title game. 5. Thunder Ridge (13-0) graduated tal3. Plainville (10-2) is a veteran team that had its best season in nearly three decades. ented seniors, but program’s depth could be an issue. RB Trevor Axelson (1,323 rushing) returns. Others: Ashland (9-1), Cheylin (8-2), 4. Smith Center (8-2) moves down into Hanover (4-4), Otis-Bison (10-2), Victoria 2-1A, where it was 79-1 from 2004-09. (6-5). FB-LB Kyler Atwood is the key returner. 5. Stanton County (9-2) has lost four


18G THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

CAPSULES OF AREA SMALL-SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAMS Note: Names and player information are compiled through surveys and interviews with coaches. Area teams not profiled did not return requested information by The Eagle.

Argonia Coach: Luke Greenwood, fourth season, 16-11. 2011: 4-5. Top players: Hunter Gaddie, RB-DB, 5-9, 165, sr.; Lance Conklin, QB, 6-0, 165, sr.; Garrett Thompson, FB-LB, 6-0, 185, sr.; Gus Tracy, TE-LB, 5-11, 165, sr.; Kaleb Dickerson, DL, 5-9, 165, sr. Notes: Argonia will have a strong core to work around with five seniors. Schedule: Friday, at Udall; Sept. 7, Cedar Vale-Dexter; Sept. 14, Norwich; Sept. 21, at Cunningham; Sept. 28, Attica; Oct. 5, at Stafford; Oct. 12, South Barber; Oct. 19, at Caldwell; Oct. 25, Burrton.

Central-Burden

Goessel

Coach: Romney Runyan, first season. 2011: 9-2. Top players: Kasey Biddle, QB-DB, 5-10, 150, sr.; Austin Mettling, RB-LB, 180, sr.; Brett Magner, RB-LB, 5-9, 185, sr.; Zach Koppelman, C-DT, 6-1, 205, sr. Notes: The Raiders will have a strong line to lead the offense, and plenty of speed on the defensive side. Schedule: Friday, Caldwell; Sept. 7, at Flinthills; Sept. 14, at Sedan; Sept. 21, Yates Center; Sept. 28, Cedar Vale-Dexter; Oct. 5, at West Elk; Oct. 12, Oxford; Oct. 19, Udall; Oct. 25, South Haven.

Coach: Garrett Hiebert, first season. 2011: 1-8. Top players: Trey Schmidt, QB-DB, 6-0, 180, sr.; Nic Buller, E-DB, 6-0, 160, sr.; Shane Goerzen, WR-DB, 5-3, 120, sr.; Brian Hiebert, OL-DL, 6-3, 195, jr.; Zach Showalter, E-LB, 5-9, 190, jr.; Mark Schmidt, FB-LB, 5-9, 180, jr. Notes: Goessel’s offense will be its strength this season with experienced skill players and a solid offensive line. The Bluebirds’ offense will force their opponents to defend the run and the pass, but must be able to run the ball better in order to set up passing. Schedule: Friday, at Centre; Sept. 7, CantonGalva; Sept. 14, at Southern Cloud; Sept. 21, Burrton; Sept. 28, at Tescott; Oct. 5, at St. John’s Military; Oct. 12, Chase; Oct. 19, at White City; Oct. 25, Hope.

Centre

Coach: Lance Vandeveer, 14th season, 103-81. 2011: 0-9. Top players: Vince Ramirez, OL-DE, 6-0, 170, sr.; Tyler Nemeckek, C-NG, 5-10, 210, sr. Notes: The Bulldogs will again be lacking in size, but will have more team speed this season. Schedule: Friday, Oxford; Sept. 7, at Central Christian; Sept. 14, South Barber; Sept. 21, at Caldwell; Sept. 28, at Argonia; Oct. 5, Norwich; Oct. 12, at Cunningham; Oct. 19, at Kiowa County; Oct. 25, Stafford.

Coach: Kelly Steiner, seventh season, 28-29. 2011: 4-5. Top players: Kyle Methvin, QB-LB, 5-11, 185, jr.; Houston Svoboda, HB-CB, 5-6, 155, sr.; Kendall Harding, DE, 5-10, 170, sr.; Justin Deines, E-S, 6-1, 160, sr.; Chad Mueler, G-LB, 5-11, 170, jr.; Tanner Peterson, G, 5-11, 185, jr.; Terren Thompson, CB, 5-9, 150, jr. Notes: Centre is expecting the experience a young squad gained last season to benefit them this year. Schedule: Friday, Goessel; Sept. 7, at Wakefield; Sept. 14, at Lebo; Sept. 21, Burlingame; Sept. 28, at Peabody-Burns; Oct. 5, Cedar Vale-Dexter; Oct. 12, Hartford; Oct. 19, at Flinthills; Oct. 25, Madison.

Burrton

Cunningham

Coach: Aaron Glendening, first season. 2011: 2-7. Top players: Caleb Hurst, QB-CB; Davon DeMaris, RB-LB; Daniel Bingham, RB-DB; Tommy Seymour, OL; Nathan Harper, OL; Joey Burr, DL. Notes: The Chargers return a lot of experience, including quarterback Caleb Hurst. Schedule: Friday, at Fairfield; Sept. 7, Stafford; Sept. 14, Tescott; Sept. 21, at Goessel; Sept. 28, Chase; Oct. 5, at White City; Oct. 12, Hope; Oct. 19, at Southern Cloud; Oct. 25, at Argonia.

Coach: Lance McGuire, seventh season, 22-32. 2011: 1-8. Top players: Zach Chamber, Conor Hamilton, Nick Huhman, Jordan Schaller, Dylan Moran, Michael Westerman. Notes: The Wildcats return seven starters on both the offensive and defensive sides. Schedule: Friday, Pretty Prairie; Sept. 7, at Pratt Skyline; Sept. 14, at Caldwell; Sept. 21, Argonia; Sept. 28, at Norwich; Oct. 5, Fairfield; Oct. 12, Attica; Oct. 19, at Stafford; Oct. 25, South Barber.

Attica

Caldwell Coach: Sean Blosser, second season, 5-4. 2011: 5-4. Top players: Alec Webster, RB-DB, 5-11, 170, sr.; Colton Wahley, OL-LB, 5-11, 200, sr.; Jahue Arnett, RB-OL-LB, 6-0, 185, sr.; Cole Dierking, TE-DE, 6-1, 175, sr.; Rhett Lee, TE-DE, 5-9, 150, jr.; Darin Ward, QB-DB, 5-8, 145, so.; Trent Kendrick, RB/DB, 5-9, 160, so. Notes: Blosser is hoping a summer of hard work will pay off for his team led by four seniors. Schedule: Friday, at Central-Burden; Sept. 7, Udall; Sept. 14, Cunningham; Sept. 21, Attica; Sept. 28, at Stafford; Oct. 5, at South Barber; Oct. 12, at South Haven; Oct. 19, Argonia; Oct. 25, at Norwich.

Cedar Vale-Dexter Coach: Justin Strodtman, first season. 2011: 1-8. Top players: Colton Massey, QB-LB, 5-10, 160, so.; Devon Ames, RB-WR-DB, 6-0, 165, sr.; Colt Rose, OL-LB, 5-11, 215, sr.; Jacody Bratcher, LB, 5-7, 150, so.; Kaden Boatman, DB, 5-10, 155, so.; Dalton Sweeney, DB-5-9, 160, jr. Notes: Just a sophomore, Massey has proven to be a strong vocal leader at quarterback for the Spartans. Schedule: Friday., Flinthills; Sept. 7, at Argonia; Sept. 14, at South Haven; Sept. 21, Sedan; Sept. 28, at Central-Burden; Oct. 5, at Centre; Oct. 12, West Elk, Oct. 19, at Oxford; Oct. 25, Udall.

Eureka Coach: Austin Wuthrich, third season, 9-10. 2011: 4-5. Top players: Cody Ray, RB, 5-8, 145, sr.; Logan Hays, RB, 6-1, 195, jr.; Wes Moots, WR, 6-5, 180, jr.; Quade McCoy, OL, 6-3, 250, jr.; Paul Wilson, OL, 6-0, 230, jr. Notes: A very young team, Eureka has one senior returning with varsity experience. Schedule: Friday, at Haven; Sept. 7, at Oswego; Sept. 14, NE-Arma; Sept. 21, Neodosha; Sept. 28, Caney Valley; Oct. 5, Cherryvale; Oct. 12, at Humboldt; Oct. 19, Burlington; Oct. 25, at Fredonia.

Fairfield Coach: Chuck Bisbee, fourth season, 22-27. 2011: 3-6. Top players: Brennyn Pankratz, TE-CB, sr.; Aaron Ewy, G-NG, sr.; D.J. Serviss, FB-TE-DE, sr.; Steven Knoche, TB-CB, sr.; Trace Basye, TE-DE, sr.; Wayne Schoenecker, TB-QB-S, jr.; Ryan Ewy, QB-SS, jr.; Jared McKinney, C, jr.; Nate Hargitt, TB-C, jr. Notes: The Falcons will be a bigger and faster team this season, and will be the most experienced squad Bisbee has had in his four years. Schedule: Friday, Burrton; Sept. 7, at Pretty Prairie; Sept. 14, at Kinsley; Sept. 21, South Central; Sept. 28, at Pratt Skyline; Oct. 5, at Cunningham; Oct. 12, Kiowa County; Sept. 19, at St. John; Oct. 25, Macksville.

Hutchinson Central Christian Coach: Jay Walter, seventh season, 6-36. 2011: 0-9. Top players: Jacob Blessing, QB-DB, 5-10, 165, jr.; Matt Rich, TE-DE, 5-10, 175, jr.; Brandon Heide, FB-LB, 5-11, 170, jr.; Ethan Price, TB-OLB, 5-7, 160, so.; Jeremy Richards, TB-C, 5-7, 155, sr.; Aaron Krehbiel, OL-DL, 5-8, 185, jr. Notes: Defense will be a strength for the Cougars, who will rely on speed and aggressiveness. Central Christian will play club football this season, but will enter KSHSAA next season. Schedule: Friday, Canton Galva; Sept. 7, Attica; Sept. 14, at Stafford; Sept. 21, Little River; Sept. 28, at Udall; Oct. 5, at Rock Hills; Oct. 12, Flinthills Christian; Oct. 25, at St. John’s Military.

Hutchinson Trinity Coach: Brad Hollinger, first season. 2011: 6-3. Top players: Tom Mailoux, RB-LB, 6-0, 190, sr.; Isaac Thibault, RB-DB, 5-9, 165, sr.; Spencer Truman, RB-DB, 5-10, 160, jr.; Jerome Miller, OL-DL, 6-6, 260, jr.; Joey Hale, OL-LB, 6-0, 215, so. Notes: The return of all-league linebacker Tom Mailoux will strengthen the defense for Hutch Trinity. Truman made 28 of 30 PATs last season. Schedule: Friday, at Salina Sacred Heart; Sept. 7, at Moundridge; Sept. 14, Inman; Sept. 21, at Remington; Sept. 28, Sedgwick; Oct. 5, Marion; Oct. 12, Kingman; Oct. 19, at Garden Plain; Oct. 25, at Haven.

Inman Coach: Mike Vernon, first season. 2011: 2-7. Top players: Tyler Cottam, RB, 5-11, 163, jr.; Alex Ropp, OL, 6-2, 278, sr.; Zach Ryan OL, 6-1, 213, sr.; Justin Friesen, QB, 6-1, 168, jr.; Cody Seiler, LB, 6-2, 175, sr.; Josh Miller, DB, 5-7, 160, sr. Notes: Inman returns most of its team from last season, but will have to adjust to a new coaching staff. The Teutons expect to use its strong running offense, led by Cottam. Schedule: Friday, Moundridge; Sept. 7, at Bennington; Sept. 14, at Hutchinson Trinity; Sept. 21, Marion; Sept. 28, Medicine Lodge; Oct. 5, at LaCrosse; Oct. 12, at Herington; Oct. 19, Sterling; Oct. 26, at Ellinwood.

Madison Coach: Fred McClain, 14th season, 132-32. 2011: 13-0. Top players: Willie Derryberry, RB-LB, 6-0, 175, sr.; Matthew Glazier, OG-LB, 6-0, 190, sr.; Nick Young, OG-NG, 6-2, 290, sr.; Dallas Thompson, RB-DB, 6-0, 218, jr.; Hayden Serrer, C-LB, 5-10, 214, jr.; Ed Alvarez, RB-C, 5-9, 160, sr.

Notes: After finishing an undefeated season and claiming the 8-Man I title, Madison returns most of its core. The running game will be strong with Derryberry and Thompson. Madison is on a 26-game win streak, the state’s longest. Schedule: Friday, Baileyville; Sept. 7, at Marais des Cygnes Valley; Sept. 14, at Hartford; Sept. 21, Flinthills; Sept. 28, Wichita Home School; Oct. 5, Lebo; Oct. 12, at Burlingame; Oct. 19, Peabody-Burns; Oct. 25, at Centre.

Marion Coach: Grant Thierolf, 26th season, 144-84. 2011: 5-4. Top players: Taylor Heidebrecht, QB-CB, 5-10, 155, jr.; Brody Carroll, SB-LB, 5-9, 150, sr.; Isaac Baldwin, OT-DT, 5-11, 222, sr.; Spencer Fugitt, OG-LB, 6-1, 214, sr.; James Jones, SB-CB, 6-3, 182, jr.; Jacob Harper, WR-S, 6-2, 173, sr. Notes: Marion will depend on Heidebrecht taking over quarterback to work with Jones and Carroll to carry the ball. Isaac Baldwin returns to lead the defense, despite the loss of three starters from last year. Schedule: Friday, at Ell-Saline; Sept. 7, Sedgwick; Sept. 14, Bennington; Sept. 21, at Inman; Sept. 28, Sunrise Christian; Oct. 5, at Hutch Trinity; Oct. 12, Halstead; Oct. 19, at Hillsboro; Oct. 25, at Moundridge.

Moundridge Coach: Courtney Moddelmog, fourth season, 12-19. 2011: 5-5. Top players: Daniel Ratzlaff, RB-LB, 5-10, 190, sr.; Kyle Huxman, OL-LB, 6-0, 185, jr.; Seth Diederich, OL-DL, 6-2, 210, jr.; Garrett Higgins, TE-LB, 6-1, 185, jr.; Matt Castor, RB-LB, 5-8, 185, jr.; Dale Asher, OL-LB, 5-11, 180, jr. Notes: Moundridge only returns one running back, Ratzlaff, but will look to fill the remaining running back and quarterback positions with senior transfers Shawn Wadley and Antoine Washington, along with younger players. This will be the first year in Class 3A for Moundridge. Schedule: Friday, at Inman; Sept. 7, Hutchinson Trinity; Sept. 14, at Ell-Saline; Sept. 21, at Bennington; Sept. 28, Remington; Oct. 5, at Sedgwick; Oct. 12, Hillsboro; Oct. 19, at Halstead; Oct. 25, Marion.

Norwich Coach: Lucas Schroeder, second season, 3-6. 2011: 3-6. Top players: Brandon Depriest, WR-LB, 5-10, 154, sr.; Jackson Coleman, QB, 5-9, 141, jr.; Lucas Lohrman, OL-LB, 5-9, 145, jr.; Cale Goebel, WR-DB, 5-10, 145, so.; Daniel Behrens, WR-DB, 5-7, 138, so.; Brandon Mace, OL, 5-9, 205, so. Notes: Norwich returns five starters on offense that averaged 314 yards of total offense and 29 points. Coleman will make the offense go after nine touchdowns and 839 yards last year. Schedule: Friday, at South Haven; Sept. 7, Oxford; Sept. 14, at Argonia; Sept. 21, Pretty Prairie; Sept. 28, Cunningham; Oct. 5, at Attica; Oct. 12, Stafford; Oct. 19, at South Barber; Oct. 25, Caldwell.

Oxford Coach: Shawn Burkes, eighth season, 24-43. 2011: 3-6. Top players: Gage Burkes, QB-DE, 6-3, 181, sr.; Garret Kennedy, C-NG, 6-4, 270, sr.; Brett Ross, RB-LB, 5-8, 170, sr.; Gary Palmer, TE-FS, 5-11, 165, sr.; Tom Lawlis, G-LB, 5-8, 172, jr.; Alex Jones, G-DE, 5-11, 170, sr. Notes: Oxford looks to improve after an injury-filled season, returning all starters on both sides. Defense will be a particular strength. Schedule: Friday, at Attica; Sept. 7, at Norwich; Sept. 14, Flinthills Christian; Sept. 21, at Udall; Sept. 28, South Haven; Oct. 5, Sedan; Oct. 12, at Central-Burden; Oct. 19, Cedar Vale;

Oct. 25, at West Elk.

Peabody-Burns Coach: David Pickens, eighth season. 2011: 4-5. Top players: Austin Savage, RB-DL, 5-11, 200, sr.; Hunter Pickens, QB-LB, 6-0, 190, sr.; Lucas Larsen, OL-DE, 6-0, 200, sr.; Xavier Jabary, DL, 5-10, 200, jr. Notes: Led by Savage and Pickens, PeabodyBurns enters its second 8-Man I season. It’s also in a new district. Schedule: Friday, at White City; Sept. 7, Little River; Sept. 14, at Burlingame; Sept. 21, at Canton Galva; Sept. 28, Centre; Oct. 5, at Hartford; Oct. 12, Flinthills; Oct. 19, at MadisonHamilton, Oct. 25, Lebo.

Pratt Skyline Coach: Jon Novotny, sixth season. 2011: 6-3. Top players: Brandon Baird, FB-LB, 5-9, 190, sr.; Sam Howell, DL, 5-10, 170, sr.; Dustin Weber, RB, 5-10, 150, so.; Blake Lee, QB, 5-9, 190, so. Notes: After graduating eight seniors, including five all-league players, Baird and Howell represent the only two seniors on a team built with many underclassmen. Baird looks to build upon an all-league season at linebacker. Schedule: Friday, at South Barber; Sept. 7, at Cunningham; Sept. 14, at South Central; Sept. 21, Otis-Bison; Sept. 28, Fairfield; Oct. 5, at Kiowa County; Oct. 12, St. John; Oct. 19, at Macksville; Oct. 25, Kinsley.

Pretty Prairie Coach: CT Young, 11th season. 2011: 8-2. Top players: Alex Mains, QB, 5-10, 150, sr.; Justin Haflich, RB-TE, 6-0, 160, sr.; Tyler Markus, RB-DB, 5-10, 162, sr.; Stetson Broce, WR-DB, 6-5, 200, sr. Notes: A deep skill position unit returns to build upon last season’s first-round playoff loss to South Gray. Filling holes on the offensive and defensive fronts will be a crucial part of the Bulldogs’ season. Schedule: Friday, at Cunningham; Sept. 7, Fairfield; Sept. 14, Baileyville; Sept. 21, Norwich; Sept. 28 Little River; Oct. 5, at Central Plains; Oct. 12, Canton-Galva; Oct. 19, Lincoln; Oct. 25, at Solomon.

Remington Coach: Chris Lawler, ninth season. 2011: 3-6. Top players: Kyle Regier, RB-LB, 6-1, 175, sr.; Kale Zonnefeld, WR-DL, 6-3, 170, sr.; Jake Abrahams, OL-DL, 6-0, 220, sr.; Will Johnson, OL-DL, 5-10, 205, jr. Notes: Experience is strong with eight starters return on offense. With depth in question, health will be an important part of Remington’s season. Schedule: Friday, Bennington; Sept. 7 at Ell-Saline; Sept. 14, SE-Saline; Sept. 21, Hutch Trinity; Sept. 28, at Moundridge; Oct. 5, at Hillsboro; Oct. 12, at Bluestem; Oct. 19, Wichita Independent; Oct. 25, Sedgwick.

Sedan Coach: Mick Holt, third season. 2011: 8-1. Top players: Nick Kimple, QB-DB, 5-11, 160, sr.; Austin Filtingberger, FB-LB, 5-9, 160, sr.; Zane Mills, RB, 6-0, 155, jr. Notes: Sedan will look to the backfield trio of Kimple, Filtingberger and Mills to guide the way. Coming off an 8-1 record, they will need to fill several spots after graduating six starters. Schedule: Friday, at Yates Center; Sept. 7, Uniontown; Sept. 14, Central-Burden; Sept. 21, at Cedar Vale-Dexter; Sept. 28, West Elk; Oct. 5,

at Oxford; Oct. 12, Udall; Oct. 19, at South Haven; Oct. 25, Burlingame.

Sedgwick Coach: Jeff Werner, seventh season. 2011: 10-1. Top players: Logan Thompson, RB-LB, 6-2, 225, sr.; Dalton Brandt, RB-LB, 5-9, 180, sr.; Nic Johnson, WR-LB, 5-10, 155, sr.; Trey Tucker, OL-DL, 6-0, 210, jr. Notes: Sedgwick will look to Brandt to build upon his 945 rushing yards. Seven starters return in the Cardinal defense. Schedule: Friday, at Olpe; Sept. 7, at Marion; Sept. 14, Salina Sacred Heart; Sept. 21, Ell-Saline; Sept. 28, at Hutch Trinity; Oct. 5, Moundridge; Oct. 12, Wichita Independent; Oct. 19, at Bluestem; Oct. 25, at Remington.

South Barber Coach: Tim Rector, first season. 2011: 8-3. Top players: Jace Thurman, WR-DB, 6-0, 155; Lane Hess, OL-DL, 5-8, 225; Conner Black, TE-LB, 6-1, 210. Notes: South Barber lost in the second round of the 8-Man II playoffs to eventual runner-up Baileyville, and hopes to improve on that run this season. Schedule: Friday, Pratt Skyline; Sept. 7, South Haven; Sept. 14, at Attica; Sept. 21, Stafford; Sept. 28, at Macksville; Oct. 5 Caldwell; Oct. 12, at Argonia; Oct. 19, Norwich; Oct. 25, at Cunningham.

South Haven Coach: David Hughes, 25th season. 2011: 11-1. Top players: Austin Showman, QB-LB, 6-1, 185, sr.; Lane Cully, FB-LB, 6-1, 205, sr.; Jonnie Skinner, OL-DL, 6-1, 180, sr.; Hunter Ray, TE-DL, 6-2, 170, sr. Notes: Showman and Cully will be looked upon to counter a lack of depth on the offensive line. South Haven will also be making the move from 8-Man II to 8-Man I. Schedule: Friday, Norwich; Sept. 7 at South Barber; Sept. 14 Cedar Vale-Dexter; Sept. 21, West Elk; Sept. 28, at Oxford; Oct. 5, at Udall; Oct. 12, Caldwell; Oct. 19, Sedan; Oct. 25, Central-Burden.

Sunrise Academy Coach: Trey Hall, sixth season. 2011: 7-3. Top players: Zach Howell, QB, 6-2, 192, sr.; Weston Brewster, WR, 5-10, 160, sr.; Zach Sleppy, WR, 6-2, 180, jr.; Jake Berdan, WR, 5-10, 160, so. Notes: Coming off 4,208 passing yards, Howell will lead a talented offense. Depth will help Sunrise against a schedule of schools from several classifications. Schedule: Friday, Kingman; Sept. 7, at Douglass; Sept. 14, Hoisington; Sept. 21, at Valley Center; Sept. 28, at Marion; Oct. 5, Fredonia; Oct. 12 at Community Christian; Oct. 19, at Christ Prep; Oct. 26, at Lighthouse Christian.

Udall Coach: Wyatt Williams, seventh season. 2011: 7-3. Top players: Michael Propst, QB-LB, 6-3, 190, sr.; Deshon Stiner, RB, 5-9, 150, sr.; Adam Lunderman, WR, 5-11, 160, so.; Heath Satterlee, LB, 5-10, 150, sr. Notes: Propst and Stiner will anchor the offense that has plenty of skill-position depth. Udall will look to improve upon its first-round playoff loss, 46-45 to Marmaton Valley. Schedule: Friday, Argonia; Sept. 7, at Caldwell; Sept. 14, at West Elk; Sept. 21, Oxford; Sept. 28, Central Christian; Oct. 5, South Haven; Oct. 12, at Sedan; Oct. 19, Central-Burden; Oct. 25, at Cedar Vale-Dexter.


BY RANDY COVITZ Kansas City Star

ANSAS CITY, Mo. — During the offseason, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel and his wife, Lauren, followed a nightly routine. Eat dinner, put the kids to bed and then haul out the white grease board and colored markers. Lauren opened the Chiefs’ fifth new playbook in four years and called out a play or a formation. Matt had seconds to draw it up on the board, explain the nuances of the play, repeat the call in the huddle and give the snap count until he

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got it right. She also used flash cards and quizzed the quarterback on new code words new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll brought with him — terms such as “bingo” and “bomb” — that would describe protections or formations. “My wife was a collegiate athlete, a team captain of a national champion,” Cassel said of Lauren, who played volleyball at Southern California, “and she understands the demands and respects the process. She really got after it.” Few, however, can truly understand the demands and responsibilities thrust on Cassel, now in his fourth season as the Chiefs’ starter.

Cassel, 30, is in a make-or-break season with the Chiefs. He’s in the fourth year of the five-year, $63 million contract he signed when the Chiefs acquired him from the Patriots at the start of the Scott Pioli regime in 2009. He’s 18-21 as a starter with the Chiefs, though he bounced out of a hospital bed fewer than two weeks after an appendectomy and sparked them to an AFC West title in 2010. He missed the last seven games of 2011 because of a broken hand. Cassel was booed at the All-Star Game’s celebrity softball game at Kauffman Stadium last month, but his No. 7 jersey jumps off the

shelves at sports shops all over town. “Quarterback is always a focal position,” Cassel said. “The thing about our fans … I’ve been asked about the boos at the softball game, but the fact of the matter is I’m in the grocery store, and people come up and say, ‘I support you, great job …’ and I’m out with my wife, and they come up to us, thanking us, offering to buy us a drink. “I live here year-round. A lot of people think I go back to California. I don’t. I love Kansas City. I love being here, and the people have been amazing to myself and my Please see CHIEFS, Page 3I


2I THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

WWW.KANSAS.COM

Chiefs not in hurry for results from Poe BY RANDY COVITZ Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — During the 2012 NFL Draft, the Chiefs were caught in a classic dilemma. Do they draft for need, or do they take the best player available with the 11th pick? The need was glaring. The Chiefs ranked 26th against the run in 2011, and a major reason for that was their lack of a run-stuffing nose tackle who could take on double teams and free their linebackers to make plays in the backfield, not four to six yards downfield. The retirement of veteran Kelly Gregg exacerbated the need at the position, so the Chiefs looked long and hard at the top-rated nose tackle in the draft, Dontari Poe, a 6-foot-3, 350-pound behemoth from the University of Memphis. Poe was a risky pick. He played in 35 games, with 30 starts, at Memphis from 2009-11 and averaged fewer than three tackles in a nonBCS conference. He had five career sacks for a team that went 3-21 in his last two seasons. However, Poe, a two-time Tennessee Class 3A shot-put champion in high school, caught everyone’s attention at the NFL scouting combine. He led all participants in the weight room by squatting 700 pounds and bench-pressing 225 pounds 44 times while also showing some nimble feet. The question became, was he a workout warrior or a cornerstone for a defense for the next five years? “This isn’t baseball,” Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said. “It’s not about numbers and stats at that position. That’s an easy way to oversimplify things. “It’s about doing the job, doing it well, being consistent and being tough physically, mentally, emotionally. He played really well (at Memphis), and he played almost every snap at 350 pounds. That’s why we videotape games and watch guys play.” The Chiefs also did an exhaustive analysis comparing the college careers of Poe to other nose tackles, including B.J. Raji, who taken ninth overall by the Green Bay Packers in 2009. Here’s what they saw: In the measurables, Poe was a

great upside.” Brandt got a good glimpse into Poe’s humble nature when calling him to invite Poe to attend the NFL Draft last April. Poe displayed no sense of entitlement when talking to Brandt. “You really get a good feeling about certain guys,” Brandt said. “He didn’t say, ‘Well, let me ask my agent …’ or ‘Where am I going to be drafted?’ He said, ‘You’re not kidding me, are you? Can I bring my mom and dad?’ “I told him his name was all over the board. He might be drafted eighth, he might be drafted 28th and have to sit there a long time … I didn’t know. But he was enthusiastic, fun to be around, and for a guy who had never been out of Memphis, it was culture shock to come to a place like that.” Poe liked everything about New York — “except for the traffic,” he said — and was a bundle of nerves when the draft began. And the one team he wanted to draft him was Kansas City. “Not knowing where you’re going to be the next couple of years of your life was nerve-racking,” he said. “But at the same time, I knew I was going to get picked. David Eulitt/Kansas City Star Some people didn’t know that much. Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe, the team’s first-round draft pick in April, waits to take the field against the St. “I was hoping it was the Louis Rams in last week in St. Louis. The Chiefs hope Poe clogs the middle and allows linebackers to make more plays. Chiefs. I liked the whole situation they had when I “You’ve got to be a man to half-inch taller and nine “I play football. That’s ton, Keith Traylor and Vince pounds heavier than Raji. what I’m here to do,” he said. play inside. Everybody knows came for a visit. I liked evWilfork. Steady, workmanerything about it. I heard a that. You’ve got to have a But Poe ran the 40 in 4.90 “Whatever my coaches tell like pluggers without much seconds; Raji ran it in 5.23. me to do, I’m guessing that’ll mean streak in you, but most lot of things about coach flash and dash. people think you just go wild Pleasant … and everybody In the production category, be the best thing for me. So “The guy has a lot of poknows how RAC (Crennel) Raji, then a fifth-year senior tential,” Chiefs defensive line for me to just listen to people and tear things up, but can develop defensive lineyou’ve got to be technically at Boston College, made 92 coach Anthony Pleasant said. and say I’m ready to this or men. So getting a chance to sound.” tackles (53 solo, 39 assists) do that because they said “At that position, it’s very work with those two was a Gil Brandt, the former in 51 games (36 starts). Poe important those guys … keep something, that’d be wrong blessing.” Dallas Cowboys personnel made more tackles — 101 (57 the center off the linebackon me. Crennel has established his director who helps coordisolo, 44 assists) — in far few- ers. It’s not a glorified posi“I don’t playoff pressure; I line of expectations for Poe er games. play off my ability and trying nate the NFL combine, betion, but they have to play this season. lieves Poe will develop into Raji had 12 career sacks (7 the technique in the defense. to do the best I can. I’m not 1 “I told him no matter what the kind of player the Chiefs really thinking about that “He could have a great ⁄2 in his fifth season) to Poe’s everybody says, if you work envision. game in our eyes, but in your point of it. I’m just trying to five sacks in three seasons. to get better and be able to “I don’t think he was an be the best Dontari Poe I can eyes, he probably had a bad But Poe had eight quarterhelp this team win, then you underachiever in college,” be.” back hurries to Raji’s four; 21 game. But at the end of the 1 are valuable for this team,” Brandt said. “A lot of times It takes a bit of a mean day, as long as we win, he ⁄2 tackles for loss to Raji’s Crennel said. “So that is the with young guys who are streak to succeed at nose gets glory because he al29; and four forced fumbles bigger, they don’t compete as approach that I want him to tackle in the NFL, and Poe’s lowed inside linebackers to to Raji’s one. take, to help this team win. If hard because it’s so easy for mild-mannered ways off the make plays.” Raji started one game as a them. The guy has unbeliev- he will do the things that we Poe’s role in the preseason field can be misleading. rookie before becoming a need him to do, then that “He has it in him,” Pleasant able ability. To be as big as was as a backup to Anthony full-time starter in 2010, will help the team win. And he is, and to be as quicksaid, “but I have to keep Toribio in the Chiefs’ base when the Packers won the then we’ll all be happy.” footed as he is … he didn’t bringing it out of him.” 3-4 defense, though Poe Super Bowl. Last year, he Whatever success Poe and So does Crennel, who con- know how to use his hands subbed in with the nickel started 16 games for the the Chiefs might have, he real well. second straight year and was defense as a pass rusher. But stantly stands over Poe at hopes to remain as humble “That’s a big thing they’ll practice every day. being a part-time player selected to the Pro Bowl. as the day he was drafted. improve him on. They will “He never lets me take off came as a disappointment to The Chiefs hope Poe fol“I stay within myself,” Poe use him in pass-rush situa(a play),” Poe said. “If I do some fans who might have lows a similar path and fills said. “I’ve been humble all tions, and he’ll be really expected more from a premi- something wrong, I hear the role of such previous my life; why change now? about it from him and all the good. Poe has a great attinose tackles in Romeo Cren- um draft pick. I’m staying how I am.” tude. I think the guy has coaches … It didn’t bother Poe. nel’s system as Ted Washing-

Time for defensive line to be more than promising long its massive defensive front, the Kansas City Chiefs have some expensive beef. It belongs to Glenn Dorsey, the fifth overall pick in the 2008 draft; Tyson Jackson, chosen No. 3 in the 2009 draft; and rookie Dontari Poe, who was taken 11th overall in the 2012 draft. It’s one of the Chiefs’ strong points as they prepare for the 2012 season. It could be argued that the Chiefs have the most potent D-line in the AFC and perhaps all of football. Dorsey and Jackson, out of LSU, have been game-changers since arriving in the league. And the Chiefs were so blown away by Poe’s consistency at Memphis during his college career that general manager Scott Pioli and his minions would have been irresponsible not to have taken him at No. 11. Yes sir, the Chiefs’ defensive line is the envy of every NFL general manager. By the way, everything you read in the previous three paragraphs is a lie. A dirty, cheap lie. Truth is, the Chiefs look rather silly for picking Dorsey and Jackson so high in backto-back drafts. It’s not fair to call either a player a bust, but it’s not accurate to say they have lived up to expectations, either. You’ve got to hand it to

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BOB LUTZ COMMENTARY

Davis Eulitt/Kansas City Star

Glenn Dorsey Pioli for having the gumption to take another defensive lineman in the 2012 draft, considering the way Dorsey and Jackson have slogged along so far in an effort to reach the potential the Chiefs drafted them for. Poe, though, looks like he’ll get the first crack at starting in the middle of the Chiefs’ 3-4 alignment, with Dorsey and Jackson on either side. There’s a lot of beef there, all right, but it hasn’t been the filet mignon the investment made would indicate. And while the Chiefs look like a legitimate playoff con-

Shane Keyser/Kansas.City Star

Tyson Jackson tender in the AFC West, it sure would help seal the deal if the trio of first-round picks who man the defensive front play the way they’re paid. The Chiefs should have a stout defense, even with their best pass rusher, linebacker Tamba Hali, out for the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons because of a violation of the NFL’s substanceabuse policy. But can the defense be all it can be without a solid – that’s all, solid – contribution from the three behemoths up front? They need to squash the

John Sleezer/Kansas City Star

Dontari Poe opposition’s running game so that the rest of the Chiefs’ defense can zone in on slowing down passing attacks. There’s a talented group of defensive backs, led by returning safety Eric Berry and cornerback Brandon Flowers, who is on the cusp of being special. But how much will the Chiefs miss Flowers’ companion at cornerback, Brandon Carr, who left via free agency to join the Dallas Cowboys? Veteran Stanford Routt steps in to replace Carr, but that’s a downgrade. Hali and Derrick Johnson,

another former No. 1 pick who took some time to come into his own, are two of the top linebackers in the league. The other starting linebackers, Jovan Belcher and Justin Houston, are still young and trying to prove themselves. The Chiefs are so young defensively. Routt and Johnson are 29, no other projected starter is older than the 28-year-old Hali. That’s cause for both enthusiasm and caution. There could be a whole lot of upside with this defense, but can such a young group pull together and be consistent from the

start of the season to the finish? Remember, Kansas City gave up 41 and 48 points to Buffalo and Detroit in the first two games of the 2011 season before pulling it together some defensively. The Chiefs looked especially crisp on defense after Romeo Crennel, who had been the team’s defensive coordinator, took over after Todd Haley was fired as coach with three games remaining. In those three, the Chiefs handed Green Bay its first loss, lost in overtime against Oakland and beat the Denver Broncos, all while allowing only 33 points. I think Crennel is the perfect coach to lead a young defense and without the offense-first Haley calling the shots, he’ll make the Chiefs a defense-first team. The offense is in able hands with quarterback Matt Cassel (shame on you Chiefs fans for showering him with boos at the All-Star softball game) and a nice group of weapons. The Chiefs will go as far as their defense takes them. It’s time now for Jackson and Dorsey to play consistently like first-round draft choices should play. And Poe has to be more than just a tease. If they get it done, the Chiefs’ season has no limits. But if you hear the names of backups like Anthony Toribio, Brandon Bair, Jerrell Powe, Amon Gordon and Allen Bailey a lot, it means those three No. 1s are still spinning their wheels and the Chiefs have probably ended up somewhere in a ditch.

Reach Bob Lutz at 316-268-6597 or blutz@wichitaeagle.com.


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SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 3I

KC thinks Crennel right fit, right time BY ADAM TEICHER Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time in years, the Chiefs appeared to be all about business in training camp. There were no player fights, practice was more about football than conditioning and they looked prepared for their first preseason game. If camp was notable for one thing, it was the peaceful nature. To even a casual observer, it was difficult to miss. “This is a much calmer team than it was last year at this time,’’ said former Cowboys personnel director Gil Brandt, who came through Chiefs camp in St. Joseph, Mo., this month. “It’s a much more relaxed camp.’’ For that, everyone credited the calming presence of new coach Romeo Crennel, whose even demeanor couldn’t be much different from that of the former coach, Todd Haley. The Chiefs had three volatile seasons under Haley, who led the Chiefs to a division title in one of them but took them to an under .500 record in the others. So is all this peacefulness a sign that Crennel is the right coach for the Chiefs at the right time? “He is the right guy for the Chiefs,’’ Brandt said. “(General manager Scott Pioli) realized it.’’ Crennel seems to be that. As one of the NFL’s top defensive coordinators of the last decade, his credentials were in order. The Chiefs were obviously ecstatic to be playing for him at the end of last season when he was made interim coach for the final three games after Haley was fired. The Chiefs went 2-1 and were the only team to beat Green Bay during the regular season. They came within a blocked field goal against Oakland of winning the AFC West championship and making something from a previ-

preparation that he and the coaching staff had in those last three games, it was pretty clear he needed to be the guy.’’ It didn’t work for Crennel in Cleveland. After the Browns went 6-10 and 4-12 in Crennel’s first two seasons, they appeared to break through in 2007, finishing 10-6. But that record was proven a fluke the next season when things collapsed. The Browns again finished 4-12 and this time Crennel didn’t get another chance. “The roster was bad,’’ said former Chiefs quarterback Rich Gannon, now a TV game analyst for CBS. “They didn’t have a quarterback. The Brady Quinn thing didn’t work out. They have Derek Anderson and he’s not a starter in this league. That was a disaster. If you don’t have a quarterback, it’s tough to win. “Pioli and Romeo see the game the same way. They’ve worked together. They know how they want to build a football team. The Chiefs have a talented team. A lot of people are talking about San Diego to win that division or Denver with Peyton Manning. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are a good football team.’’ Crennel is doing some things differently this time. He will remain as defensive coordinator, a duty he didn’t have while he coached the Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star Browns. “There’s something to be Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel works with the defense during the team’s training camp in early August at said for the second time Missouri Western, in St. Joseph, Mo. around for a lot of coaches,’’ Gannon said. “Look at (Bill) But the difference in the “I think I saw more in the for nine years and with three ously wretched season. Belichick. His first experience Chiefs in those three weeks teams, including the past two last three weeks than what I There was just one trouwas dramatic, helped in large didn’t go well. seasons with the Chiefs. Pioli saw in the years from afar. I bling factor, but it was a big “He may do some things part by Crennel’s first deciwatched how he handled seemed unconcerned about one. Crennel failed as coach differently his second time certain situations with players sion, the one Haley wouldn’t of the Cleveland Browns from Crennel’s record with the around. I think he feels better make to replace struggling and could see they trusted Browns. 2005 through 2008, compilabout his staff. The thing I “I looked at what happened and respected him. I watched quarterback Tyler Palko with ing a 24-40 record before he like is that he’s going to stay Kyle Orton. him navigate this team there,’’ Pioli said. “I also was fired. “He was very consistent and involved with the defense. I through some things very talked to people who were Coaches with a winning he motivated the team to play think that’s really important. percentage of .375 in one job there. But I lived with Romeo well. He went through these in three really difficult games It got him the job in the first things thoughtfully, ratiofor three years in New York. often don’t get another place. Just to turn it over to and gave you a chance to nally.’’ chance. So hiring Crennel, in We were together day to day somebody else would be a win,’’ Pioli said. “(With) the Pioli wouldn’t be specific for a number of years with this respect, seemed to be a players’ response to his coach- mistake. That’s a good thing about what he saw from New England and for a cougamble. Crennel in those three weeks. ing and his style and also the for him.’’ ple more here. Pioli worked with Crennel

CHIEFS

CASSEL’S BIG FIVE

From Page 1I wife. You hear this stuff, a lot is written about the fans not liking Matt Cassel, but since being here, I haven’t experienced that. I’ve experienced a lot of people who are very supportive and positive.” Still, anything less than an AFC West title, or at least a wild-card playoff berth, will be considered a failure this season — and Cassel, in the public’s eye, will be the scapegoat. Cries for drafting and developing a quarterback for the future will be loud in 2013 if the Chiefs stumble in mediocrity this year. “He can be good enough for us to win a championship,” Pioli said of the quarterback he brought with him from New England after Cassel, in his first opportunity to start since high school, took over for an injured Tom Brady and went 11-5 in 2008. “I’ve seen teams with situations similar to what the Patriots had in 2008 make changes with a quarterback, and the team completely tanked. That team won 11 games — not in spite of him, but because of him, at times. “In 2010, we (Kansas City) won games because of him. Go back to that St. Louis game, when he’s coming off having his appendix removed. He not only makes plays … the things he did changed the energy in the course of that football game. Running with the ball and running for first downs when he wasn’t supposed to be running, by the way. He’s one of the toughest football players I’ve been around.” If there was any question whether Cassel had control of the Chiefs’ new offense, it came on the second play of the second series of their preseason opener against Arizona. Cassel wasn’t sure the play Daboll sent in would work, so he audibled to an inside running play. It may not be unusual for Peyton Manning or Drew Brees to change plays at the

Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel is working with his fifth offensive play-caller in his four years in Kansas City. Chan Gailey: Fired by Haley before 2009 season. Todd Haley: Called plays after firing Gailey. Charlie Weis: Hired as coordinator in 2010. Bill Muir: Promoted when Weis left for Florida. Brian Daboll: Hired by Chiefs this offseason.

Seth Perlman/Associated Press

Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel throws during the first quarter of a preseason game against St. Louis. line of scrimmage, but Chiefs quarterbacks in recent years have not had that privilege. This year, coach Romeo Crennel and Daboll have done away with that philosophy. Chiefs quarterbacks can change plays as they see fit. Cassel went with an inside handoff to Peyton Hillis, who bolted 28 yards to the Arizona 33, setting up a touchdown. Those late-night chalk talks and flash-card sessions paid off. “Coach Daboll preaches, if you see something and you have a reason for getting us out of a bad play, then let’s do it,” said Cassel, who appears much more at ease this season than in his three tempestuous years under former coach Todd Haley. “That makes it fun, and it

makes you part of the offense … and you have to study that much harder.” Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston, playing in his first game with the team, was amazed at how Cassel ran the offense, because quarterbacks did not change plays at the line during his six years in Houston. “I’ve been impressed not just with the way Matt delivers the ball, or the way he bounces around, but his command of the offense,” Winston said. “How many audibles, and how many different things Daboll has asked him to do … in the Arizona game, he checked to multiple different plays … he knew what was going to best suit us, and he got to it. That’s a lot harder for a quarterback to do in this

league than people realize. “He’s got the full playbook at his disposal. I like it when a quarterback knows what he’s doing, and Matt Cassel knows what he’s doing. He has a grip on this offense, and when you have a quarterback like that, it only makes sense to give him more reins. He’s the one out there, he’s the one who sees things, and at the end of the day … Matt Cassel doesn’t have to make plays just with his arm. He can make plays with his eyes with his audibles.” Some of that playbook has its roots with the Patriots, where Daboll spent 2000-06 as a receivers coach and Cassel was Tom Brady’s backup for two of those years. But Daboll added his own touches from his time as

coordinator at Cleveland and Miami during the past three years. “He does what every good

offensive coordinator does,” Cassel said. “He looks at our personnel and who does what the best. So we try to utilize their strengths rather than just run plays to run plays. He looks at, ‘What does Dexter McCluster have?’ He has great quickness. ‘What does Jon Baldwin do?’ You go down the list and try to create a package that utilizes peoples’ strengths.” So being surrounded by all this talent — including running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki, who are returning from knee surgeries; newcomers Hillis, Winston and tight end Kevin Boss; and starting receivers Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston — must be putting even more pressure on Cassel to win big this season, right? “It takes pressure off me,” he said. “If you can get the ball in the playmakers’ hands, and let them make the plays, it makes it a little easier on you.”

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Chiefs lean hard on free-agent pickups and the others chose to sign with the Chiefs. “Heck, I was on the opposite side of them for the past seven years … KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eric “I don’t think it was about Winston sampled the best other teams not wanting us. I barbecue Kansas City has to think it’s four guys who want offer when the Chiefs brought to win, and they see this is a him in for a free-agent visit. place that can win … this The big tackle, who spent place won two years ago … the past six seasons in Housand there’s no reason this ton, hit Gates first, followed team can’t win the AFC West by Jack Stack. And, to seal the this season.” deal, the Chiefs brought in ribs Another benefit to signing from Oklahoma Joe’s. Routt, Winston and Boss is “In three days, three differthat, because they were reent shirts had stains,” general leased by their previous manager Scott Pioli said of teams, they don’t count Winston, who had been cast against the Chiefs in the comadrift by the Texans despite pensatory pick formula. For starting the last 87 consecevery unrestricted free agent a utive games. team loses, it receives a comWinston was one of four key pensatory draft pick until it free agents the Chiefs signed signs an unrestricted free during the offseason. In each agent. case, the players’ previous The Chiefs lost four unreteams no longer wanted their stricted free agents this year services for either salary-cap (quarterback Kyle Orton, reasons or because they didn’t fit in new systems. John Sleezer/Kansas City Star John Sleezer/Kansas City Star Orlin Wagner/Associated Press Dave Einsel/Associated Press fullback Le’Ron McClain, tackle Barry Richardson and Tight end Kevin Boss and Carr) but signed just two, cornerback Stanford Routt, KEVIN BOSS, TE: PEYTON HILLIS, RB: STANFORD ROUTT, CB: ERIC WINSTON, T: Hillis and quarterback Brady who had signed big contracts Big target with a Super Bowl A battering-ram of a back, Not a bad replacement for Free-agent right tackle Quinn. Winston, Boss and in 2011 with the Raiders, were ring (as a Giant) pairs nicely he’s the thunder to Jamaal Brandon Carr, who departed becomes immediate starter Routt don’t count in the forreleased by Oakland’s new Charles’ lightning. with Tony Moeaki. via free agency. after solid run in Houston. mula. management. And running All four newcomers will also back Peyton Hillis was an “I’m looking at this as a new contribute as much to the 45-yard reception in the Gicalling me, where other plactackle; Routt (three years, unrestricted free agent after locker room as they will on the beginning,” Hillis said. “This ants’ Super Bowl XLII victory es, it was, ‘Hey, I hope you $19.6 million) replaced detwo seasons with the Clevefield. was the perfect place for me. over New England. make it in for a visit’ … It felt parted free agent Brandon land Browns, who did not “Kevin Boss has brought a With Coach Daboll and the “This is a tight end-friendly Carr at right cornerback; Boss good to be wanted.” show much interest in renumber of things to this footoffense,” Boss said. “Tony and system they have here, and Boss spent four years with (three years, $9 million) will signing him. ball team,” Pioli said. “He is an being in tandem with Jamaal I talk about all the games, the New York Giants, includshare tight end duties with The Chiefs considered each Charles, who’s one of the best absolute professional … a getting on the field together ing the Super Bowl champiof the four newcomers a good Tony Moeaki; and Hillis (one tremendous makeup guy. We investment and anything but a year, $2.8 million), will divide onship season of 2007, before and creating mismatches, and backs in the league, I feel it want to keep bringing in playit’s nice to have him back. The can be good for me here. It signing as a free agent last carries with Jamaal Charles. gamble. ers to upgrade our talent, and will be good to be in a tanpossibilities are endless, real“Anytime you get cut from a year with Oakland, where he “Every one of them has been we also want to bring in playcaught 28 passes for 368 yards ly. The nice thing this year was dem, somewhere I can fit in a starter,” Chiefs coach Romeo place, you want to go someers who upgrade our commuand don’t have to carry the having spring practices and where where you’re wanted,” and three touchdowns. Crennel said, “so when you nity and represent the organiload.” not having that lockout like “Coming from New York to can get that kind of experience said Winston, who blocked for Routt ranked second on the zation the right way. This guy Oakland and then to here, this last year, where a lot of the and ability, it helps your team. three 1,000-yard rushers, is off the charts as a human Raiders with four interceprookies or new guys didn’t feels like a great fit, a classy including NFL rushing leader “We still think that they being.” tions and took on the role as learn the playbook until we Arian Foster in 2010, and was organization from the top have some gas in their tank, “Eric Winston has a big the Raiders’ No. 1 cover corner down,” Boss said. “Coming on got to training camp. an integral part of Houston’s and we’re going to use it. In personality,” Pioli added. “He following the departure of “I worked with Matt (Casmy visit, sitting down with first playoff team in franchise the NFL, a lot of things hapis a leader, he is really smart everybody, it’s made me excit- sel) all summer to work on our Nnamdi Asomugha to Philahistory last season. pen, a lot of guys become … without being overbearing. timing. Staying in Kansas City delphia. Routt, who also was ed. I hope to be here for a “More so than anything, available, and if you think the He still has a lineman’s menguilty of a league-leading 17 to throw together was helpmore so than the offense we’re while.” guy can fit in your program tality in a very good way. He’s penalties last season in OakThe Chiefs hope to pair Boss ful.” going to run, more so than the and in your system, you try another good player for the land’s man-press coverage, Hillis also spent the offwith Moeaki in the type of coaching staff, you can tell and bring the guy in. Now, rest of the young players to two-tight end formations that season in Kansas City with his should be more comfortable they really wanted me here. you’re not always successful, see how to be a professional.” new teammates and is reunit- opposite the Chiefs’ Brandon have proven so successful in because sometimes guys have To me, that was important. I It made the investment in all ed with offensive coordinator Flowers in a scheme that plays New England and elsewhere think anybody wants to go their agendas and it may not those barbeque dinners worth off the receiver. Brian Daboll, who served in the past few years. Boss somewhere where they’re be here, but these guys chose it. “We saw here a team that caught a career-best 42 passes that role for Cleveland in 2010 us and we feel good about it.” wanted as a professional. “Well,” said Crennel, “you was very, very good last year when Hillis rushed for 1,177 “Scott called me, (offensive- for New York in 2009, and in Winston, who signed a conhave to recruit a little bit, and even better the year befive career playoff games, Boss yards and 11 touchdowns line coach Jack) Bicknell tract for four years worth up because you do have competifore, when they won the AFC while catching 61 passes for has caught eight passes for called me, coach Crennel to $22 million, became the tion.” West,” Routt said of why he 142 yards, including a crucial 477 yards and two scores. called me … everybody was immediate starter at right BY RANDY COVITZ Kansas City Star

THE NEW GUYS

THE CHIEFS ADDED DEPTH WITH FOUR KEY OFFSEASON ACQUISITIONS

Trio of knee recoveries give KC some hope BY ADAM TEICHER Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When he played for the Minnesota Vikings early in his career, Rich Gannon was back on the field just six months after surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament before. The Chiefs’ trio of ACL survivors — running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki — had about 10 months of rehab before they rejoined their teammates for practice at the start of training camp in July. Things worked out well enough for Gannon, who moved on to the Chiefs and later Oakland, where he was the NFL’s MVP in 2002. So the Chiefs have nothing to worry about with Charles, Berry and Moeaki, right? Maybe. And maybe not. “Most people don’t know what it takes to come back from this injury and this surgery,” said Gannon, who now calls games as an analyst for CBS. “There’s a lot that goes into it. It takes time. You have to get comfortable, get that confidence back that your knee is strong enough to absorb the pounding. Eventually, you have to get to the point where you’re not thinking about it. “Just from the twisting and torqueing and all of that stuff, you’re going to have inflammation, and they’ll have to take care of that. They’ll have to ice their knees all the time. Once you have that injury and have that surgery, you can almost guarantee yourself another 45 to 60 minutes of rehab a day for the rest of your career. You have to take extra time warming it up. You’ve got to make sure you cool down properly and ice it. You have to make sure you listen to your body.” So there’s a danger in counting on these three players to the extent the Chiefs

success. “The return of Berry is so important to this defense, so I don’t think they will give up the points that they did last year,” former Cowboys personnel director Gil Brandt said. “And Moeaki is important to the Chiefs, too. He’s a good player but Charles is a great player. Anytime you have somebody like Charles who can score a touchdown anytime he touches the ball, that’s great. It looks to me like he’s a wiser, more confident player. You can see how hard he worked in the offseason to get healthy. I think you can see how much football means to him. A lot of guys take rehab as a vacation. I think he went down there to (noted orthopedic surgeon James) Andrews in Pensacola, and if Dr. Andrews told him to work three hours a day, I think he worked four. “When you talk to Charles, John Sleezer/Kansas City Star Colin E Braley/Associated Press Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star he has no apprehension. Some people in his situation Eric Berry Jamaal Charles Tony Moeaki like for you to believe they’re now they kind of forget about not worried. This guy is not very quickly. With other peo- rushing in 2010, but their are. The Chiefs during the production dropped off great- it and can start concentrating worried. He shocked me how ple, it really takes a long offseason signed a veteran confident he is. The transition more on playing the game.” ly last season after Charles time. A professional athlete free agent at each of their period comes until he gets hit While the issue is troubleleft the lineup. The Chiefs respective positions, but they has resources that most peothe first time. Then it’s over. some for Berry and Moeaki, lost Berry a handful of plays ple don’t have. They have still need Charles, Berry and Most of these guys, a high access to all the most modern into the season and promptly it’s particularly menacing for Moeaki to return healthy if percentage of them, that have Charles. allowed 89 points without equipment. They’ve had all they’re to make a success of this surgery come back and “Running back would be him in their first two games. the time they need to do a this season. Moeaki caught 47 passes as a one of the most difficult posi- are stronger than ever beproper rehabilitation. They So far, the results with the cause they work so much on don’t have to do this on their rookie in 2010; without him, tions to have this injury,” three players have been enGannon said. “Those guys run rehabilitation.” Chiefs tight ends caught a couraging. Each has played in lunch break. So they’ll get Charles, Berry and Moeaki up between the tackles and back to what they were more total of 34 last season. all of the team’s preseason The Chiefs gave each player you just don’t who’s going to appeared to take their rehabs quickly than the average games. hit you and where it’s coming seriously. They didn’t practice some rest during training person. “They’re as healthy as they from. He’s running through a with the Chiefs during the camp, but their workloads “But you still worry. There can be,” Chiefs general manoffseason, when they worked hole and all of a sudden were similar to what they are athletes who still don’t ager Scott Pioli said. “Knock off to the side with team Charles is going to have a would have been had they get back to what they were wood, they’re as healthy as trainers instead. linebacker going down to not been injured. before the injury and before they can be up to this point. But each moved with such “I think after they take that that knee. the surgery. They just don’t It’s just a matter of time will agility in those workouts that “I think it will be different first hit and they realize that get that muscle strength tell.” it appeared they could have for all of them. Moeaki will they didn’t hurt the knee, back. So there’s really no The story time tells could be doing some pushing, push- practiced then. they can play and do what guarantee.” be different for each of the “I’m going to work hard ing around guys who are a they’ve done in the past,” The Chiefs have plenty at three players. and let the hard work pay off lot of times bigger than him. Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel stake. They believe they’ve “There’s a fairly wide varion Sundays,” said Charles, That will make things hard said. “Once they get over ability from one person to the built a strong contender for who was talking for himself that, then I think they’re good for him, at least at first. For next,” said Ronald Grelsamer, the AFC West championship but could have been speaking to go. That’s been my experi- Eric Berry, it shouldn’t be as and that task becomes more an associate professor of for Berry and Moeaki as well. difficult. He just has to get ence from what I’ve seen. challenging if any of the orthopedic surgery and knee “That is why I am here. I am Then they say, ‘Hey, the knee guys down to the ground.” surgeon at Mount Sinai Med- three don’t return as strong here to get better, so every Charles is also arguably held up. It’s strong, and I can as they were before. ical Center in New York. more important to the Chiefs’ day I come in, I work hard.” do what I need to do.’ So The Chiefs led the NFL in “Some people bounce back

RETURNING FROM ACL INJURIES


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SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012 ■ THE WICHITA EAGLE 5I

FANTASY LEAGUES

A change of scenery

■ The class of 2012 offers potential and peril.

Eagle news services

Offseason player movement is the name of the game in today’s NFL. Each year, more than 20 offensive skill-position players of note move via trade or free agency. What’s rare is the free agent who improves his fantasy stock in the season after leaving his previous team. In 2011, only Darren Sproles, Willis McGahee and Reggie Bush measurably improved their fortunes after changing teams. Matt Hasselbeck and Sidney Rice inched up their respective rankings, but neither approached previous fantasy highs. Meanwhile, following the historic trend, the list of teamswapping duds was exhaustive. Even Kevin Kolb, last offseason’s most coveted prize, couldn’t work his way up to fantasy respectability despite landing his first starting job at Arizona. Once again, the number of fantasy-relevant players changing zip codes this season is extensive. There were more than 70, and more are likely to come. Who will stick their landings? Who will fall flat on their tushes? Let’s examine the most significant offseason moves of 2012, broken down by the projected impact on each player’s fantasy value.

Eagle news services

Denis Poroy/Associated Press

Wide receiver Robert Meachem joins the Chargers, where’s he’s likely to be the featured receiver.

Movin’ on up

These players will be hard-pressed to match last year’s results Tim Tebow, QB, Jets. He’s more likely to ruin Mark Sanchez’s fantasy value than improve his own stock. Wildcat QBs don’t make fantasy stars.

Mike Tolbert, RB, Panthers. We loved him when he filled in for the oft-injured Ryan Mathews in San Diego, but Tolbert’s talents will be wasted behind two accomplished backs and a TD-poaching quarterback in Carolina. Brandon Jacobs, RB, 49ers. As long as Frank Gore is healthy, Jacobs won’t have much value. He may steal a goal-line plunge or two, but that’s about it. Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers. A top-10 finish is hard to envision for Jackson in his first year playing catch with Josh Freeman. Laurent Robinson, WR, Jaguars. If you think he’ll come anywhere close to his 11-touchdown season of 2011, I’ve got some Dunder Mifflin stock I’d like to sell you. Visanthe Shiancoe, TE, Patriots. If you were a freeagent tight end in the witness protection program, there’d be no better landing spot than New England.

Call it a wash For better or worse, these players should post comparable results to last season Matt Flynn, QB, Seahawks. No longer relegated to backing up Aaron Rodgers, Flynn was paid handsomely to cure Seattle’s aerial woes. Hard to believe he won’t wrest the starting job from Tarvaris Jackson, but fantasy relevance is still likely out of reach.

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Peyton Hillis, RB, Chiefs. One of 2011’s fantasy busts, Hillis is determined to rebound. But he must do so as Jamaal Charles’ understudy. Michael Bush, RB, Bears. Unfortunately for Bush, Matt Forte is not as injury-prone as Darren McFadden. He’ll continue to be a valuable handcuff, at best. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears. Marshall has never ranked higher than ninth among fantasy wideouts, even during his glory days with Jay Cutler in Denver. After quietly ranking 13th in Miami in 2011, don’t overestimate his upside. Mario Manningham, WR, 49ers. As in New York, he’ll have a few shining moments. Just not enough of them to write home about. Josh Morgan, WR, Washington. The former disappointing 49er is now gearing up to disappoint Washington fans. Jerome Simpson, WR, Vikings. Don’t expect more highlight-reel feats from Simpson in Minnesota’s low-octane passing attack. He’ll begin the season by serving a threegame suspension. Kellen Winslow, TE, Seahawks. A borderline fantasy receiver in 2011, he’ll offer similarly modest returns in Seattle. Dallas Clark, TE, Buccaneers. Injuries robbed Clark of his mojo in 2010, and he’ll be hard-pressed to find it in Tampa Bay.

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Mike Tolbert moves to the Panthers, where he’s less likely to get carries ... and touchdowns.

first time

Look for improved production from these seven Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos. His first completion will be an improvement over the lost season of 2011. Still, the future Hall of Famer has yet to take a hit to test his surgically repaired neck. He is the ultimate high-risk, high-upside player, for the Broncos and his fantasy owners. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals. The Law Firm moved his practice out of New England, where he was perennially underutilized, to Cincinnati, where he is expected to become the focal point of the Bengals’ ground attack. That should lead to more week-toweek consistency and significant upside. Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington. He scored all six of his touchdowns in just three games last season. If Garcon seizes his presumed role as Robert Griffin’s favorite target, he’ll trade his boom-orbust track record for more reliable production. Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots. What better place than New England to prove his league-leading 2010 season wasn’t a fluke? But Lloyd can only soar so high with Wes Welker and those pesky tight ends competing for touches. He has nice upside, but don’t expect miracles. Robert Meachem, WR, Chargers. He gets an upgrade from role player to featured starter. Meachem lacks Vincent Jackson’s dominating talent, but he should be a steady contributor most weeks, assuming he can get on the same page with Philip Rivers. Jacob Tamme, TE, Broncos. Manning made Tamme fantasy-relevant as a Colt in 2010, and should do the same for him in Denver.

Rookies are a mixed bag Most seasons, your best bet when assessing the fantasy prospects of a rookie class is to focus on the running backs. First-year quarterbacks should be avoided like the plague, or synchronized swimming. Rookie receivers occasionally achieve fantasy stardom, but it usually takes them a while to ramp up. Last season was no ordinary season. Injuries and ineffectiveness plagued the Saints’ Mark Ingram and the Dolphins’ Daniel Thomas, the cream of the 2011 running back crop. The top performer at the position was Washington’s Roy Helu, who scraped his way into the top 30 thanks to a late-season surge. Meanwhile, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton served notice that his transition from college would be seamless, with a colossal 422-yard, three-total-touchdown debut. Bengals receiver A.J. Green reeled in a 41-yard TD on his first reception, and added 124 yards and another score in week two. Julio Jones topped 100 yards receiving in three of his first six games as a Falcon. Those results were all the more shocking given the lockout-shortened offseason and abbreviated training camps. So what are we to make of this year’s freshmen prospects? Will we see a return to ground-based normalcy, or perhaps more aerial fireworks from the most highly touted pair of rookie passers to enter the NFL in years? Are any receivers worth a flier? Remember that when evaluating the fantasy potential of any rookie, talent is rarely the most decisive factor.

More relevant is the opportunity presented to the player, which is also a multi-faceted equation. Does the newcomer have a clear path to a starting gig? Will he join a high-powered offense, or one where the punter is the most lethal weapon? Is he healthy heading into the season, or has he missed invaluable preseason reps due to nagging injuries? With these caveats in mind, let’s examine the Class of 2012.

Give them their due Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington. Newton forever raised the bar, and the pressure, on rookie quarterbacks to perform at a high level, even when they join lousy teams. Like Newton, RG3 will be as dangerous on the run as he is when passing, so he should pad his fantasy value with rushing scores. Don’t expect him to put up recordsetting passing numbers out of the gate, but Griffin is clearly poised for early stardom. Trent Richardson, RB, Browns. Until he underwent a “minor” arthroscopic procedure on his left knee, Richardson was soaring to ridiculous heights on mock draft boards. Though the Browns are optimistic the draft’s third overall pick will be ready for the season opener, the red flags are flapping briskly in Cleveland. This was Richardson’s second left knee surgery in six months. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers. Those searching for value in this rookie class would be wise to look south, where Martin, a former Boise State star, is poised to secure a starting job in a healthier offense. Only LeGarrette Blount stands in his way. Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos. With Knowshon Moreno steadily underperforming his

way out of Denver, Hillman is expected to be the primary backup to Willis McGahee. Assuming his preseason hamstring injury isn’t serious, Hillman should assume thirddown duties early on. But don’t be surprised if he slowly supplants McGahee as the Broncos’ primary backfield threat. David Wilson, RB, Giants. Now that Brandon Jacobs is a 49er, the understudy role to Ahmad Bradshaw is wide open. Wilson, a first-round pick from Virginia Tech, is a talented runner with a history of fumbling problems at the collegiate level. That won’t fly in the NFL, but the Giants have fixed those problems before (see Barber, Tiki).

Look, but don’t touch Andrew Luck, QB, Colts. He’ll start from day one for a humbled team in desperate need of offensive firepower. Luck seems destined for greatness, but it will take him longer to achieve fantasy relevance than fellow draftee Griffin, simply because Luck doesn’t figure to score much as a rusher. Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns. The starting quarterback for the Browns wouldn’t be draft-worthy even if he weren’t a rookie. Robert Turbin, RB, Seahawks. It now appears that Marshawn Lynch won’t face suspension this season for his recent DUI arrest, so Turbin’s impact in 2012 will be limited, barring an injury to the starter. Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars. On the plus side, Blackmon is a supremely talented athlete with good hands and tons of upside. Then there are the negatives: a second DUI arrest in June that could yield a seasonopening suspension, a runcentric Jaguars offense.


6I THE WICHITA EAGLE ■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012

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Cartwright gets new chance with 49ers BY JANIE MCCAULEY Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Rock Cartwright never got to say a proper goodbye to his mother eight years ago. She never told him when doctors discovered a thin film covering her heart that restricted blood flow and ultimately caused her untimely death, fearing her youngest son would be worried sick. That was her nature, and also his. By the time Cartwright received word from a cousin that his mom was in the hospital in his hometown of Conroe, Texas, on Memorial Day 2004, he was too late. She was gone at just 46. “There was nothing they could do about it,” he said Tuesday. “It kind of happened unexpectedly.” To this day, the San Francisco 49ers special teams standout and running back keeps Johnetta Cartwright close each time he steps onto the football field – and that hasn’t changed as he changes teams for the third time in his 11-year NFL career. The 32-year-old Cartwright, a former Kansas State running back, has a picture of her on his phone and looks at it before every game. He wears a pendant with his initials on one side and her full name and the years she lived on the other. “I hate that my mom had to leave at such an early age,” he said. “It’s life. She’s in a better place now. I definitely feel she’s always with me. She watches down on me.” Cartwright will be filling a big special teams void after

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

San Francisco 49ers running back Rock Cartwright keeps his mother Johnetta Cartwright close each time he steps onto the football field — and that hasn’t changed as he changes teams for the third time in his 11-year NFL career. He’s getting his chance with the 49ers. the spring departure of Blake Costanzo, who signed a twoyear contract with the Chicago Bears. Ask Cartwright and he will say, over and over again, that he is willing to do whatever the 49ers need to make another run at a Super Bowl that was right within reach last season. Perhaps that’s why he is a perfect fit in coach Jim Harbaugh’s unselfish, team-first system that worked so well last year. Cartwright has 228 career carries for 956 yards

and six touchdowns, with another two catches for scores. It was his late maternal grandmother, Betty, who gave him the nickname Rock when he was 9 and a budding baseball player. He stopped growing in high school – he stands 5-foot-8 – and switched from linebacker to running back. “My grandmother gave me the nickname Rock Baby when I was younger because I was kind of clumsy,” Cartwright recalled. “Then all my

buddies, they just started calling me Rock. It kind of fits because I didn’t grow any. I’m 5-8 and it fits me well. I’m fine with it, I enjoy it. It kind of stuck. There you have it. It doesn’t bother me. It’s cool with me. I wasn’t going to shed that. My grandma started it. She was really special to me. It’s a great thing to have.” With the Niners, Cartwright doesn’t have to adjust to a big cross-country move this time as he did following his first eight seasons with the Wash-

NFC SCHEDULES NORTH

EAST

SOUTH

WEST

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Atlanta Falcons

Arizona Cardinals

Sept. 9

Indianapolis

Noon

Sept. 5

at N.Y. Giants

7:30

Sept. 9

at Kansas City

Sept. 13

at Green Bay

7:20

Sept. 16

at Seattle

3:05

Sept. 17

Denver

Noon

Sept. 9

Seattle

7:30

Sept. 16

at New England

3:25

Noon

Sept. 23

at San Diego

3:05

Sept. 23

Philadelphia

3:05

7:30

Sept. 30

Carolina

Noon

Sept. 30

Miami

3:05 7:20

Noon

Sept. 23

St. Louis

Noon

Sept. 23

Tampa Bay

Oct. 1

at Dallas

7:30

Oct. 1

Chicago

Oct. 7

at Jacksonville

3:05

Oct. 14

at Baltimore

Noon

Oct. 7

at Washington

Noon

Oct. 4

at St. Louis

Oct. 22

Detroit

7:30

Oct. 21

at Carolina

Noon

Oct. 14

Oakland

Noon

Oct. 14

Buffalo

Oct. 28

Carolina

Noon

Oct. 28

N.Y. Giants

3:25

Oct. 28

at Philadelphia

Noon

Oct. 21

at Minnesota

Noon

Nov. 4

at Atlanta

7:20

Nov. 4

Dallas

7:20

Oct. 29

San Francisco

7:30

7:20

Nov. 11

at Philadelphia

3:25

Nov. 11

at New Orleans

Noon

Nov. 4

at Green Bay

Noon Noon

3:05 Noon

Nov. 4

at Tennessee

Nov. 11

Houston

Nov. 19

at San Francisco

7:30

Nov. 18

Cleveland

Noon

Nov. 18

Arizona

Noon

Nov. 18

at Atlanta

Nov. 25

Minnesota

Noon

Nov. 22

Washington

3:25

Nov. 25

at Tampa Bay

Noon

Nov. 25

St. Louis

Dec. 2

Seattle

Noon

Dec. 2

Philadelphia

7:20

Nov. 29

New Orleans

7:20

Dec. 2

at N.Y. Jets

Noon

Dec. 9

at Carolina

Noon

Dec. 9

at Seattle

3:25

3:25

Dec. 16

N.Y. Giants

Noon

Dec. 16

Detroit

3:05

3:25 Noon

Dec. 9

at Minnesota

Noon

Dec. 9

at Cincinnati

Dec. 16

Green Bay

Noon

Dec. 16

Pittsburgh

Dec. 23

at Arizona

3:25

Dec. 23

New Orleans

Noon

Dec. 22

at Detroit

7:30

Dec. 23

Chicago

3:25

Dec. 30

at Detroit

Noon

Dec. 30

at Washington

Noon

Dec. 30

Tampa Bay

Noon

Dec. 30

at San Francisco

3:25

Noon

Sept. 5

Dallas

7:30

Sept. 9

at Tampa Bay

3:25

Sept. 9

at Detroit

7:20

Sept. 16

Tampa Bay

Noon

Sept. 16

New Orleans

Noon

Sept. 16

Washington

3:05

7:20

Sept. 20

N.Y. Giants

7:20

Sept. 23

at Chicago

Noon

7:20

Noon

Noon

Detroit Lions

New York Giants

Sept. 9

St. Louis

Sept. 16

at San Francisco

Sept. 23

at Tennessee

Noon

Sept. 20

at Carolina

Sept. 30

Minnesota

Noon

Sept. 30

at Philadelphia

Oct. 14

at Philadelphia

Noon

Oct. 7

Cleveland

Oct. 22

at Chicago

7:30

Oct. 14

at San Francisco

Oct. 28

Seattle

Noon

Oct. 21

Washington

Nov. 4

at Jacksonville

Noon

Oct. 28

at Dallas

Nov. 11

at Minnesota

Noon

Nov. 4

Pittsburgh

Nov. 18

Green Bay

Noon

Nov. 11

at Cincinnati

Nov. 22

Houston

Dec. 2

Indianapolis

11:30 a.m. Noon

Carolina Panthers

St. Louis Rams Noon

Sept. 30

at Atlanta

Sept. 30

Seattle

Noon

Oct. 7

Seattle

3:05

Oct. 4

Arizona

7:20

3:25

Oct. 21

Dallas

Noon

Oct. 14

at Miami

Noon

Noon

Oct. 28

at Chicago

Noon

Oct. 21

Green Bay

Noon

3:25

Nov. 4

at Washington

Noon

Oct. 28

x-New England

Noon

3:25

Nov. 11

Denver

Noon

Nov. 11

at San Francisco

Noon

Nov. 18

Tampa Bay

Noon

Nov. 18

N.Y. Jets

3:25 Noon

Nov. 25

Green Bay

7:20

Nov. 26

at Philadelphia

7:30

Nov. 25

at Arizona

Dec. 3

at Washington

7:30

Dec. 2

at Kansas City

Noon

Dec. 2

San Francisco

Noon

Dec. 9

at Buffalo

Noon

3:05

Dec. 16

Minnesota

Noon Noon

Dec. 9

at Green Bay

7:20

Dec. 9

New Orleans

3:25

Dec. 9

Atlanta

Dec. 16

at Arizona

3:05

Dec. 16

at Atlanta

Noon

Dec. 16

at San Diego

Dec. 22

Atlanta

7:30

Dec. 23

at Baltimore

Noon

Dec. 23

Oakland

Noon

Dec. 23

at Tampa Bay

Dec. 30

Chicago

Noon

Dec. 30

Philadelphia

Noon

Dec. 30

at New Orleans

Noon

Dec. 30

at Seattle

3:25 Noon

3:25

x-at London

Green Bay Packers

Philadelphia Eagles

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

Sept. 9

San Francisco

3:25

Sept. 9

at Cleveland

Noon

Sept. 9

Washington

Noon

Sept. 13

Chicago

7:20

Sept. 16

Baltimore

Noon

Sept. 16

at Carolina

Noon

Sept. 9

at Green Bay

3:25

Sept. 24

at Seattle

7:30

Sept. 23

at Arizona

3:05

Sept. 23

Kansas City

Noon

Sept. 16

Detroit

7:20

Sept. 30

New Orleans

3:25

7:20

Oct. 7

at Indianapolis

Sept. 30

N.Y. Giants

Sept. 30

at Green Bay

3:25

Sept. 23

at Minnesota

Noon

Noon

Oct. 7

at Pittsburgh

Noon

Oct. 7

San Diego

7:20

Sept. 30

at N.Y. Jets

Noon

Oct. 14

at Houston

7:20

Oct. 14

Detroit

Noon

Oct. 21

at Tampa Bay

Oct. 21

at St. Louis

Noon

Oct. 28

Atlanta

Noon

Oct. 28

at Denver

Noon

Oct. 7

Buffalo

3:25

7:20

Oct. 14

N.Y. Giants

3:25

7:30

Oct. 18

Seattle

7:20

Noon

Oct. 29

at Arizona

7:30

Oct. 28

Jacksonville

Noon

Nov. 5

at New Orleans

7:30

Nov. 5

Philadelphia

Nov. 4

Arizona

Noon

Nov. 11

Dallas

3:25

Nov. 11

Atlanta

Noon

Nov. 18

at Washington

Noon

Nov. 18

at Oakland

3:05

Nov. 11

St. Louis

3:25

7:20

Nov. 26

Carolina

7:30

Nov. 25

San Francisco

3:25

Nov. 19

Chicago

7:30

Noon

Dec. 2

at Dallas

7:20

Dec. 9

at Tampa Bay

Nov. 18

at Detroit

Nov. 25

at N.Y. Giants

Dec. 2

Minnesota

Dec. 9

Detroit

Dec. 16

at Chicago

Noon

Dec. 13

Cincinnati

Dec. 23

Tennessee

Noon

Dec. 23

Washington

Dec. 30

at Minnesota

Noon

Dec. 30

at N.Y. Giants

Noon

Minnesota Vikings

7:20

Nov. 29

at Atlanta

7:20

Nov. 25

at New Orleans

Noon

Dec. 9

at N.Y. Giants

3:25

Dec. 2

at St. Louis

7:20

Dec. 16

Tampa Bay

Noon

Dec. 9

Miami

3:05

Noon

Dec. 23

at Dallas

Noon

Dec. 16

at New England

7:20

Dec. 30

Carolina

Noon

Dec. 23

at Seattle

3:25

Dec. 30

Arizona

3:25

Washington Redskins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3:25 Noon

Seattle Seahawks

Sept. 9

Jacksonville

Noon

Sept. 9

at New Orleans

Noon

Sept. 9

Carolina

Sept. 16

at Indianapolis

Noon

Sept. 16

at St. Louis

3:05

Sept. 16

at N.Y. Giants

Noon

Sept. 9

at Arizona

3:25

Sept. 23

San Francisco

Noon

Sept. 23

Cincinnati

Noon

Sept. 23

at Dallas

Noon

Sept. 16

Dallas

3:05

Sept. 30

at Detroit

Noon

Sept. 30

at Tampa Bay

Oct. 7

Tennessee

Noon

Oct. 7

Atlanta

Oct. 14

at Washington

Oct. 21

Arizona

3:25

3:25

Sept. 30

Washington

3:25

Sept. 24

Green Bay

7:30

Noon

Oct. 14

Kansas City

Noon

Sept. 30

at St. Louis

Noon

3:25

Oct. 14

Minnesota

3:25

Oct. 21

New Orleans

Noon

Oct. 7

at Carolina

3:05

Noon

Oct. 21

at N.Y. Giants

Noon

Oct. 25

at Minnesota

7:20

Oct. 14

New England

3:05

Oct. 25

Tampa Bay

7:20

Oct. 28

at Pittsburgh

Noon

Nov. 4

at Oakland

3:05

Oct. 18

at San Francisco

Nov. 4

at Seattle

3:05

Nov. 4

Carolina

Noon

Nov. 11

San Diego

Noon

Oct. 28

at Detroit

7:20

Nov. 11

Detroit

Noon

Nov. 18

Philadelphia

Noon

Nov. 18

at Carolina

Noon

Nov. 4

Minnesota

3:05

Nov. 25

at Chicago

Noon

Nov. 22

at Dallas

3:25

Nov. 25

Atlanta

Noon

Nov. 11

N.Y. Jets

3:05

Noon

Dec. 2

at Green Bay

Noon

Dec. 3

N.Y. Giants

7:30

Dec. 2

at Denver

3:05

Nov. 25

at Miami

Noon

Dec. 9

Chicago

Noon

Dec. 9

Baltimore

Noon

Dec. 9

Philadelphia

Noon

Dec. 2

at Chicago

Noon

Dec. 16

at St. Louis

Noon

Dec. 16

at Cleveland

Noon

Dec. 16

at New Orleans

Noon

Dec. 9

Arizona

3:25

Dec. 23

at Houston

Noon

Dec. 23

at Philadelphia

Noon

Dec. 23

St. Louis

Noon

Dec. 16

x-Buffalo

3:05

Dec. 30

Green Bay

Noon

Dec. 30

Dallas

Noon

Dec. 30

at Atlanta

Noon

Dec. 23

San Francisco

3:25

Dec. 30

St. Louis

3:25

x-at Toronto

ington Redskins. He played the past two years with the Oakland Raiders. Harbaugh and the 49ers are counting on Cartwright filling a key spot for an opportunistic unit that developed its own quirky identity last season – not to mention its own theme song in Future’s “Tony Montana.” “I know I’m able to run the football at this level. I know I’m able to play special teams at this level, at a high level,” Cartwright said. “Any time I’m able to carry the ball, I’m always trying to show I can still play at a high level.” Cartwright has a fan in three-time Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore, that’s for sure. “He’s a hard worker. He’s very smart,” Gore said. “He’s a great guy in the locker room, in the running back room. He’s been around a lot of great backs and I ask him a lot of questions about the other great backs, what they do and what they didn’t do, pick his head. I’m happy he’s over here. Whatever role coach wants him to do, he goes 100 percent.” Yet Cartwright isn’t counting on a roster spot just yet. He is living in a hotel less than a mile from team headquarters, his belongings in a storage unit in Oakland until he knows whether he’ll be sticking around for the season. “I’ve never gone into a year saying, `I’m going to make the team,’ ” he said. Cartwright has developed that humble, cautious approach along the way – in part because of what he went through losing his mom.

He had just spent time with her the previous days as he prepared to return to Washington, D.C., for a minicamp that day in 2004. They had just gone out to eat at her favorite chicken restaurant, and the day before she passed Cartwright sat on her lap on the porch and brought out her favorite soda. “The day before we were doing things that were saying goodbye, but I didn’t know it at the time,” he said. His mom needed to stop smoking and start eating better, but she “didn’t really abide by the rules. That kind of scared me.” Cartwright has taken charge of his health and is clear of heart disease symptoms at this stage – and he’s determined to be a positive example for his daughters, 12-year-old Brianna and 3-year-old Jaida. Brianna remembers her grandma, and even Jaida asks questions when Cartwright takes them along to visit her gravesite whenever he is home. Cartwright is now playing at a fit 209 pounds, down from his high of 265 in junior college and the 237 he weighed at the NFL combine before being selected by the Redskins in the seventh round of the 2002 draft out of Kansas State. “Self-discipline plays a part in everything. I don’t take anything for granted,” Cartwright said. “I don’t take the next day for granted. That’s why I go out and try to play so hard, because you never know when that opportunity isn’t going to be there anymore. You have to seize the moment.”

Questions pop up as Cowboys prepare for regular season BY DAVID MOORE Dallas Morning News

SAN DIEGO — The Dallas Cowboys landed in Southern California 26 days ago with two healthy starting receivers and a Pro Bowl tight end. They return with all three nursing injuries. They began training camp determined for the interior of the offensive line to develop continuity. They return desperate to get the three projected starters to line up next to each other for the first time. A team that missed the playoffs three of the last four seasons got under way hoping to receive a boost from its draft class. But as the Cowboys returned to Dallas last week, three of their seven picks played in a preseason game. A franchise optimistic the groundwork for success would be laid must wonder if the necessary work was done. It comes as no surprise that the Cowboys accentuate the positive. In Jason Garrett’s culture, injuries simply bring forth opportunity. The coach doesn’t acknowledge concerns, only challenges. “I think we had an outstanding camp,” Garrett said. “Training camp is where you lay the foundation for your team. I thought we did a great job in the off-season of getting ourselves ready for training camp. Since we were out here, our team really worked very, very hard.” There were highlights. Garrett used the same word to describe Tony Romo that he did the camp. Outstanding. Running back DeMarco Murray was a beast. So was receiver Dez Bryant before he went down with patellar tendinitis in his right knee. More on what the Cowboys have to say on the injury front later. Cornerback Brandon Carr, a former Chief, was as good as advertised. Maybe better. The defense was much further along than it was at this stage last season. The Cowboys’ first-team defense allowed no points and 119 yards in five possessions during two preseason games. That group allowed 20 points and 269 yards in five possessions over two games

last preseason. And that’s without four starters in the front seven against the Chargers. “I’m excited about our defense,” Romo said. “I keep sitting over there with a smile on my face knowing how good they are. ”A quarterback’s best friend and one he can rely on more than anything else is the defense. If you have a great defense, it makes your job and your life in general a lot easier and more enjoyable. “Really, it’s exciting to see the way they’ve been practicing, the way they’ve been competing and the way they’ve been playing.” Life is also easier and more enjoyable with a healthy cast around you. At least Bryant didn’t go out until Monday. Receiver Miles Austin missed the majority of camp with a nagging hamstring. Tight end Jason Witten has been out for more than a week with a lacerated spleen. The Cowboys signed Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings in free agency to start on either side of center Phil Costa. But none of those three took the field at the same time during camp. Third-round pick Tyrone Crawford and sixth-round pick James Hanna played in both games. First-round pick Morris Claiborne made his debut against the Chargers. They have been the only members of this draft class healthy enough to play in those games. “It’s the nature of training camp,” Garrett said. “Guys get hurt on our team, guys get hurt all across the league. That’s been happening for a long, long time. ”We’re thankful for the most part we have a plan for these guys coming back. We’re all pointing to get these guys back for the Giants game.“ The Cowboys open the regular season against the New York Giants in two weeks. The biggest question marks at this stage are Witten and cornerback Mike Jenkins. Every other key player who is injured at the moment is expected to play. ”I know we have some guys banged up,“ Romo said. ”We’ve got to get a lot of guys healthy, but we laid the foundation.”


Special section 3, Wichita Eagle