WICHITA, Kan.—Wichita North returns 17 starters from 2011’s squad and 19 lettermen. The experience on this year’s team for the Redskins could prove invaluable to a team struggling for wins.
Coach: Kelley Sayahnejad (1-17 in two seasons)
2011 Recap: Finished 1-8, started 0-8 and beat Campus in the final game of the season.
Returning Starters: 8 Offense, 9 Defense
Returning Lettermen: 19
Key Returning Players: Leon Williams (RB), Torian Gonzalez (WR/DB), Daniel Mathiasen (OL), Nate Muci (LB/TE), Kaelen Elliot (DL), Sean Bernard (LB/RB), Caleb Franklin (DL/FB)
2012 District: South (@Heights), @ Northwest, @Campus
All but three offensive starters are returning for the Redskins in 2012, including three linemen. An experienced offensive line can prove to be invaluable to a North high team that has struggled the past few seasons. Over the past five years, North has won just seven games. However, with a good, experienced offensive line, a team can do incredible things.
The Redskins also have a player named Daniel Mathiasen. He stands in at 6’8” tall and weighs in at an amazing 310 lbs. This young man has the potential to be a great player based solely on his size. Against a smaller team, he could block two defensive players if he really wanted to. Mathiasen, who will anchor the line, is expected to open huge holes for North’s running backs.
Much like the line, North will see the team’s top three rushers return for 2012. Leading the way will be Leon Williams, a back that is a “quick runner with good vision,” said head coach Kelley Sayahnejad. Field vision is just as important as the ability to run fast and strong. The ability to get where you’re going is one thing, the ability to see and get to where you’re going is something completely different. Now, Williams, Sean Bernard and Caleb Franklin have a line that will help in that endeavor.
Everytime wide receiver Torian Gonzalez caught a pass in 2011, on average it would be worth 12 yards. To put it simply, Gonzalez needs to catch more passes in 2012. Regardless of how many passes he caught in 2011, he needs to get more in 2012.
The team’s leading tackler in 2011 is back on the squad. Sean Bernard, a linebacker, recorded 82 tackles in eight games and hopes to produce an even better 2012. In order for North to win more than two games this season, everyone will need to produce an even better 2012.
Mathiasen will play on the defensive line as well as the offensive line. He will be able to fill some of the bigger holes created by North’s opponents. If Mathiasen has any speed, he provides a big defensive weapon for the Redskins as a player that can rush the quarterback or knock down some runners.
Caleb Franklin finished 2011 with 43 tackles. He will need an improved 2012 season to have a major effect on the team’s success. Franklin is a physical football player, but also a solid wrestler. Franklin took fifth place at the state wrestling tournament last winter.
ODDS AND ENDS:
North’s second game of the year comes at Bishop Carroll. The Golden Eagles have a shot at winning the 5A state title and will probably be the toughest challenge for the Redskins. However, North starts the season with a game at Carpenter Stadium against East, which is a good opportunity for the Redskins to start the season on the right foot.
The Redskins may make the state playoffs in 2012. With a district of South, Northwest and Campus, North has a solid chance of winning all three of those games as every team except the Redskins are in the middle of a rebuild.