After winning two games last year, the Eagles try to keep the momentum building.
Coach: Curtis Albin (1st year at Kingman, 8th year head coach, 36-29 overall record)
2010 Recap: 2-7 overall record, 1-5 in the Central Kansas League, 1-3 in the CKL South Division, 1-2 in districts
Returning Starters: Offensive 8, Defensive 8
Offense: Kingman will have the opportunity to build on some of last season’s success with a number of returners back at some key positions. Up front paving the way for the offense, the Eagles have three players returning to the offensive line. Seniors Will Cousins, Skyler Goyen and Blaine Boswell give Kingman a wealth of experience on the line to set the table for the skill positions.
Returning to take the snaps is sizeable senior Mikabe Erdman. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Erdman threw 4 touchdowns and rushed for another in 2010. With the trio of classmates up front protecting him, Erdman will have a chance to improve on those numbers this year.
Senior bruiser Bryan Suenram will return to the backfield to take the handoffs from Erdman. Last season, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound running back picked up 211 yards on the ground, averaging 4.31 yards per carry. Suenram is a threat to break a big play, with his longest run going for 50 yards last season. He also found the end zone twice last season.
Mike Meng provides a big senior target at the tight end position. Meng’s catches were limited last season as a junior, but he made the most of the catches he had. With only two catches, Meng had 48 yards receiving for an average of 24 yards per catch.
Defense: The return of linebacker Blaine Boswell will be a huge plus for the Eagles. Last season, Boswell tallied 65 tackles and was the team’s second leading tackler. Boswell’s ability to sniff out plays will be a big part of Kingman’s success. Joining Boswell is another play-making linebacker Austin Massey. As a sophomore last season, Massey was the fifth leading tackler on the team with 47 tackles. Coming into his junior season, Massey has the potential to hit another gear in what could be a bright career. Mike Meng fills out the position and brought 36 tackles to the Kingman defense last season.
Kingman will also be fortunate to have the team’s leading solo tackler last year Bryan Suenram back. Last season, Suenram recorded 23 solo tackles for the Eagles. As a defensive back, Suenram has the ability to make the open-field tackle. Mikabe Erdman will rejoin Suenram in the secondary. Last season Erdman brought 24 tackles to the table. Nick Meng will also give the Eagles another good player in the secondary.
On the line of scrimmage, Kingman has some players returning that can make plays. Will Cousins gives the Eagles strength up front with an astounding 45 tackles last season. Only Boswell and Massey had more tackles last year among the returning players. Skyler Goyen is also an athletic lineman who can help finish a play quickly. Goyen’s 38 tackles gives the Eagles 83 returning tackles at the line of scrimmage from last year and a solid core up front.
Odds and Ends: The past few years have not been kind to Kingman. New coach Curtis Albin points to small roster numbers and a lack of confidence as a weakness of the first version of his Kingman team. But Kingman was able to put something positive together last season to give the team a reason to begin to start to feel good again.
Last season, with wins over Haven and Medicine Lodge, Kingman won two more games than it had won in the previous two seasons combined. Even in at least one loss, the Eagles had something positive to take away. Although Hillsboro beat Kingman last season, the Eagles were within a touchdown of tying the Trojans, a playoff team from last year.
With the amount of key players from last season coming back for another run, the Eagles may put together some more wins, giving the team more and more to be confident about.
How will the Eagles stack up in the CKL this year? Check out the league prediction blog.