Douglass had a winning league record last year and advanced to the first round of the state playoffs. The Bulldogs hope the momentum generated in 2013 will carry them to an even better mark this season.
Coach: Jeffrey Ast (14-24 at Douglass, fifth year)
2013 Recap: (5-5 overall, 5-3 in CPL, lost in first round of playoffs to Sedgwick).
Returning Starters: 4 offense, 6 defense
Returning Lettermen: 15
2014 District: Wichita Independent, Bluestem, Wichita Collegiate.
Optimism is high for the Bulldogs, who return 10 starters and 15 lettermen.
Seniors Austin Titus (second-team all-league) and Rip Fraley return to carry the ball in the pistol. However, the Bulldogs need to find someone to replace quarterback Chase Banister, who was honorable mention all-league. Douglass also lost two key players up front, leaving the task of uniting the line to Brody Caster. Look for wide receiver Chase Banos to help move the sticks as well.
Four stalwarts return in Ast’s 4-3 defense, led by linemen Austin Byers and Zach Strothers. Providing support behind them are senior Ethan Savoy, a first-team all-league defensive back last year, and linebacker Christian Strothers. Look for newcomers Coleman Hart (linebacker) and Lucus Alvarez (lineman) to step it up as well.
Odds and Ends:
Coach Ast has a simple goal for this season: To get better every day at the fundamentals of blocking and tackling. His reasoning is equally simple.
“We have a good nucleus of players returning, but we have to get better every day if we are going to compete,” he said. “The Central Plains League is very good, so we have to get better every day.”
Ast said the first game of the season (at Trinity Academy) is critical, simply because it is the first game. A little payback may be on the players’ minds as the Knights rolled by Douglass 30-6 last year.
Also on the Bulldogs’ schedule is 2013 state quarterfinalist Conway Springs, along with district opponent and 2013 state qualifier Wichita Independent.