“Ye who’s most physical wins the game”
Goddard’s rallying cry channels Shakespearean dialect; while their playing style resembles old school football
Head Coach: Scott Vang
2016 Record: 11-2
Highlights: Earned the program’s first-ever trip to the state championship game
Outlook: Goddard shouldst crusheth their opponent.
“One of the sayings we’ve got is ‘Ye who’s most physical will win the game”. That’s the law of physicality around here,” Scott Vang, Goddard head coach said. “We try to be be physical. We try to wear you out being physical all night. Some people don’t like it that way, don’t wanna see that we’re trying to finish plays,” Vang said. “I think that wears on people eventually.”
Vang lights up when he speaks of his offensive line--even if it’s in Old English. His frontline unit returns three all-league senior starters, including all-state center A.J. Vang and the Lions on the line don’t disguise their intentions.
“We’re still going to run the football. We’re still going to be physical. We’re still going to go downhill and get after you," Scott Vang, Goddard head coach said.
The objective is simple for Goddard: “Getting back to the state championship game. That would be awesome,” Blake Sullivan, Goddard senior quarterback said. “It’s hanging up on a poster in our locker room.”
May the odds be ever in their favor. Blake Sullivan is back under-center after throwing 28 touchdowns in 2016 and he will have a convoy of experienced targets to throw at. Senior Owen Beason flanks the outside. That duo ranked in the top 10 in in receiving in the AVCTL Div. II in 2016. Two other seniors, Zach True and Cole Caraway will add depth and experience to the wide out position.
“Our receiving corps is awesome,” Sullivan said. “We have a lot of really good guys that I can throw it to.”
The Lions got a stroke of luck when they acquired Wichita North transfer Darius Russell, who’s expected to compete for the starting tailback spot. Russell played quarterback for the Redskins in 2016 and is replacing departed senior Kody Gonzalez will be a priority in the backfield. The tailback leaves 1,866 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns in his wake.
“When we got out and we run the ball and we keep getting those five yard gains, first downs on the first drive, teams will start giving up right then and there and that’s when we know we’ve got them,” Sullivan said.
Since the Goddard school district split the football teams in 2012, the Lions had not advanced past the first round of the playoffs. That changed in 2016, when Goddard marched four rounds deep into the Class 5A postseason bracket and punched their ticket to the state championship game, where they fell one-point shy of a state title to Mill Valley.
Some players are part of a program, some play for a program, Goddard’s senior class built the program. That mortar was constructed on 2015’s senior class. While those players are not around to reap the fruits of their labor, the foundation they laid isn’t lost on 2017’s senior class.
“It’s almost like a dream to be able to get to the state championship,” Zach True, Goddard senior wide receiver said. “We’ve never made it through the first round as a program since the school’s split. It was fun to see our program and the fans and everything.”