Hoisington has been one of those teams that seems to make the playoffs every year, but the Cardinals can’t seem to make much noise once they get there. Hoisington has been in the 3A postseason each of the past years, but failed to make it past the opening round.
Coach: Zach Baird (First year at Hoisington)
2013 Recap: 4-5, made the Class 3A playoffs, lost in the first round to Holcomb
2014 Outlook: The Cardinals have their third head coach in five seasons as Zach Baird takes over the program. Baird served as an assistant coach for Hoisington last year, so he expects the transition to be a smooth one because he and the players are familiar with each other. The Cards are also set to join a new league in 2014 as they join Larned as new editions in the Central Kansas League.
Offense: Hoisington was young last season, as a result the Cardinals have eight starters returning from a team that made the 3A playoffs. The Cards have three players on the roster that got snaps at quarterback in 2013. The key to the offense though comes in the running game. Hoisington returns running back Nolan McCurry and offensive lineman Seth Owen, both first team all-league selections last season. Wide receiver K.C. Stephens, also an all-MCAA selection last year, should be a big part of the Hoisington offense, too.
Defense: The youth movement of a season ago also benefits the Cardinals on defense. Hoisington also has eight returning starters on D in 2014, led by five players who made the all-MCAA team. Senior defensive lineman Seth Owens had 23 tackles and two sacks last season. Junior Steffan Dolecheck added 50 tackles and three INTs. Both will be key for a defense that gave up more than 30 points three times in 2013.
Odds and ends: Hoisington hasn’t lost a league game in four seasons, having won the now defunct MCAA each of the four years it was in existence. The move to the CKL will provide a challenge as the Cards are one of the smaller schools in their new league.
“We’re excited to get into the league, I know it’s a good league,” said Baird. “There are some changes as far as who we play, so obviously some teams will be new to us. But we’re excited to get in there and play with them.”
If the Cards want to make it to playoffs in 2014, Ellsworth, Lyons and Sterling are the three teams that stand in their way.