The Wildcats underwent some rebuilding during head coach Dustin Dooley’s first season. Improvements have been made to the El Dorado team, and in 2012 they are looking to reach the post-season for the first time since 2008.
Coach: Dustin Dooley (entering his 2nd year as head coach at El Dorado 1-8 overall)
2011 Recap: 1-8 overall, 1-4 in league, 1-2 in district
2012 District: Maize South, at Circle, at Hesston
Returning Starters: Offense 9, Defense 9
Returning Lettermen: 22
Offense: There is no question that the El Dorado offense has struggled in the past, but last season they made some headway and showed progress from 2010.
“In 2010 El Dorado averaged 1.4 points and allowed 53,” said Coach Dooley. “In 2011 we averaged 16 points and allowed 40. These numbers are obviously not great, but they show a remarkable improvement.”
A big returner for the Wildcats in 2012 is their junior quarterback Travis House. In his sophomore season, House was the leading scorer on the team as he ran into the end zone 4 times and threw 8 touchdown passes. House has an arm, but he also has a strong kick. He was perfect in his field goal attempts making all 3, and he put 12 of his 17 extra-point attempts between the posts as well.
Senior Tyson Jones led the running game with 402 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns last season. Jones also caught 8 passes and averaged 10.8 yards per carry. The passing game was big for the Wildcats with 1,337 passing yards throughout the year. Senior receivers Trevor Crain, Kyle Macy, and Austin Hughey will be responsible for taking advantage of House’s arm, and last year they seemed to do so. Crain averaged 76.9 receiving yards per game, while Macy and Hughey combined to have 394 receiving yards in 2011.
Seniors Quentin Cluster and Marcus Walker are also returning for the Wildcats. The twosome will work to keep a powerful block on the offensive line inside their I formation offense.
Defense: This season Crain and juniors Seth Head, junior Matt Harvey, Tucker Sherman will play as linebackers within the 4-4 defense. Crain led the defense with 71 tackles, while House and Harvey together had 90 tackles. The defense gave up an average of 40.7 points per game last season, and allowed 1,876 more rushing yards than passing yards.
The Wildcats return three defensive backs in Hughey, Macy, and fellow senior Cole Reinhardt. Newcomers Justin Eustice and Ryan Foster are potential players who could join with the returners to create a tougher Wildcat defense.
For El Dorado to be successful in their competitive 2012 schedule, the team must remember the lessons learned last season.
“Since day one we have preached that building our program would be a marathon and not a sprint,” said Coach Dooley. “There is no quick fix solution. It will require hard work, determination, and tons of effort.”
Odds and Ends: Coach Dooley highlighted the significance of off-the-field training last season, and feels his team is opening up to its overall importance.
“We feel our kids are buying into this philosophy,” said Coach Dooley. “And most importantly (they are) understanding the importance of strength and conditioning to a program’s development.”
The Wildcats did not have an ideal season in Dooley’s first year, but with the hard work underwent over this summer they may notice more improvements.
“Our coaching staff is excited about the 2012 campaign, although we have much work to accomplish,” said Coach Dooley. “We play arguably the toughest 4A schedule in the state.”