WICHITA, Kan.—Kapaun’s youth, in a worst-case scenario, has the potential to be an Achilles heel that could derail playoff expectations. However, that is an absolute worst-case scenario that more than likely will not happen. With just six returning players, the Crusaders have many questions that will be answered soon.
Coach: Dan Adelhardt (44-28 in seven seasons at Kapaun, 93-51 in 14 years overall)
2011 Recap: Finished 8-3. Kapaun won its district and beat McPherson 32-31, but lost to eventual state champion Hutchinson 42-14 in the next round.
Returning Starters: 3 Offense, 3 Defense
Key Returning Players: Roc Cyphert (OL), Nick Heiland (RB), Alex Lutz (OL), Timmy Hamilton (DE), Josh Wondra (OLB), Alex Schutz (DB)
2012 District: Wichita West (@Heights), Ark City, Andover Central
The Kapaun offense returns just three starters from last year’s playoff squad. To say this team will be inexperienced is an understatement. However, the three players returning are three important positions. Roc Cyphert and Alex Lutz, both seniors, come back to anchor a big offensive line. Four players on the Crusaders’ offensive line weight at least 235 lbs. Craig Lantz and Huy Ho will be on the line with Cyphert and Lutz.
The combination of those guys and the return of running back Nick Heiland, Kapaun’s run game could be quite potent in 2012. The Crusaders will need to depend on the offensive line and its run game because quarterback Landon Root transferred to Collegiate during the offseason. The loss of Root is not devastating to this team, but it certainly doesn’t help anything. Kapaun will look to sophomore Coen Rasmussen to take the snaps.
Kapaun was the third-highest scoring offense in the city league in 2011. It came just three points short of the 400-point mark. Heights scored 643 and Carroll put up 410. It was second in the league with 36.1 points per game. Kapaun was a run-heavy offense last season, anyway, so there might not be much change in the way the Crusader offense is ran.
Much like its offense, Kapaun’s defense returns just three players from last season’s squad. However, the three players are in important parts of the field. Senior Timmy Hamilton will anchor the defensive line for the Crusaders at defensive end. Barrett Locke, a junior, will be at the other end of the line of Hamilton at the end position.
Kapaun will depend on its three returning defensive guys to lead the rest of this young, inexperienced defense. Josh Wondra will line up at outside linebacker as the only returning player at linebacker. He will line up alongside Joseph Hayes and Henry White at linebacker.
The Crusader defense allowed more yards than its offense gained in 2011, a statistic that absolutely needs to change in 2012. The Kapaun offense gained 3,073 yards and its defense allowed 3,145. Although it scored 16 more points per game than its opponents, it’s numbers like this that separate good teams from great teams.
Kapaun’s defense has its work cut out if it wants to become a stauncher unit. This defense will be inexperienced, so in order to become a force to be reckoned with, a lot of work needs to happen.
ODDS AND ENDS:
Kapaun’s roster is chalk-full of juniors. Those juniors will get more playing time this year, which won’t hurt the 2012 team at all. In 2013, Kapaun could be one of the top teams in the state with all the young players gaining so much experience this year. This is certainly a junior-laden team, so it will be interesting to see how the Crusaders grow into the roles for the team.
Kapaun is included in the district with Wichita West, Ark City and Andover Central. The toughest test for the Crusaders will likely be against Andover Central, the last game of the season. So if it can get past an improved West squad and Ark City, Kapaun’s matchup with Andover Central has the potential to have no ramifications for the Crusaders.