Coach: Cliff Abbott (2-7 entering his second year as head coach at school; 2-7 overall)
2011 Recap: 2-7 overall, 0-4 league
Returning Starters: Offense 8, Defense 8
Returning Letterman: 32
2012 Outlook: -
Last season was all about changing. This year the Redskins have an abundance of returning starters so change will not be as prevalent. Coach Abbott’s spread offense will see the return of junior quarterback Britton Abbott.
“During the previous season many young players saw playing time which will help us this season,” said Caleb Cline, Redskin defensive coordinator.
After losing key receiver Micheal Sena, Abbott still has two go-to receivers. Junior Trenton Hammond and senior J.J. Lewis will pose equal threats to opposing defensive backs.
The offensive line lost two key anchors, All-WAC lineman Zach Stout and Gabe Beltran, to graduation. However, two returning seniors, Nicolas Perez and Michael Begley, will step up to take over leadership roles at the line-of-scrimmage.
Defensive Coordinator Caleb Cline installed a 4-3 defense last year and will look to build on it in 2012.
The defense is losing multiple leaders to graduation. The linebackers lost Justin McPhail at middle linebacker and the secondary lost All-WAC safety Michael Sena and cornerback Isaac Gallegos. Two offensive forces will play both sides of the ball in 2012. Britton Abbott and Hammond will step into leadership roles in the secondary as well.
The Redskins’ defensive line will lose nose guard Beltran but senior defensive lineman Mike Begley will step up into a leadership role as the lone returning starter.
Odds and Ends:
The six coaches that took over in 2011 will begin their second year at Liberal High School. The schemes are installed so perfecting them will be important to the Redskins’ success. Cline said the experienced coaching staff and abundance of returning starters will turn out a better result.
“We will be more competitive in the WAC this year,” Cline said.
Liberal catches a break on their schedule this season as defending 5A state champ Hutchinson moves out of their district, and out of their class as they move to 6A. Semi-final participant Bishop Carroll is still in the district, and the Redskins will have to travel to Wichita for that game in the season finale. Liberal also gets Goddard (road) and Goddard Eisenhower (home) in districts. The two schools played as a combined school last year.