Indians must replace starting QB in 2012.
Coach: Ryan Cornelsen (22-6 in three seasons at Hays)
2011 Recap: 8-2 overall, 3-1 in the league, lost in the opening round of the playoffs to Hutchison
The Indians return just three starters on offense and five on defense, but their roster is full of athletes that have contributed in other sports and saw time on the varsity squad last season.
"We must develop some offensive and defensive lineman, we will have almost an entire new group." said head coach Ryan Cornelsen. "We will have to utilize our speed and skill because we will be the smallest team in 5A."
Hays returns the top rusher in the WAC in David Cardinal. Cardinal rushed for 1,464 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior and was the WAC player of the year. But he will lose his all-conference backfield mates this season in Quarterback Austin Unrien (Honorable Mention All-WAC) and Full-Back Mark Mathis (First Team All-WAC). Those three were a big reason why the Indians won the WAC and made it to the first round of the playoffs.
Hays will look to either sophomore Alex Delton or senior Derek Bixenman to take over as quarterback for the Indians. Delton will be the starter heading into fall camp and he saw some action in mop up time for the Indians as a freshman. His development will be key to Hays High's success. The development of running back Emilio Mitchell will also be key. The senior transferred from California last season and gained All-WAC honorable mention status as a junior.
First team All-WAC selections Cade Sharpe and Kyler Meyers will lead a Hays defense that has a large number of the top players returning. The Hays defense gave up just barely more than 20 points a game in 2011. Toss out a 42 point outburst by rival Great Bend, and that number dips well below 20. The leadership of Fort Hays State signee Zach Binder will be tough to replace on the defensive line.
Odds and Ends:
Hays High broke a 16-year post-season drought last season, but now the Indians look to take the next step and actually get a play off win. The 2012 district for Hays includes Great Bend and Salina Central on the road, and will host Salina South.