The last time Valley Center had a winning season Caleb Smith was a freshman on the team. Now in his second year as head coach, Smith and his players continue to build to get the program back to winning football.
Coach: Caleb Smith (2nd year at Valley Center, 0-8 record with the Hornets, 0-8 overall)
2013 Recap: 0-8 Overall, 0-5 in the AVCTL Div. II, 0-3 in districts
Last season was a struggle for the Hornets who failed to win a game. But there were signs of promise. In Week 2, Valley Center had a lead going into the fourth quarter before allowing a touchdown to fall 14-10 to Goddard. Against Arkansas City a couple of weeks later, the Hornets dropped a heartbreaker 13-12.
Returning Starters: Offense 7, Defense 3
Returning Lettermen: 30
2014 District: Maize South, at Maize, at Bishop Carroll
When a team gets a new coach and a new offense there are going to be growing pains. But in the second year Smith expects his team to have a better grasp with seven starters returning.
Under center, senior Dylan Scheer is back to run the offense for a second year. As a junior last year Scheer was a dual threat averaging over 10 yards per completion and over 4 yards per carry.
With Scheer in the backfield, Zach White will return at running back after missing last season with a broken ankle. Alec Wetig got significant carries last year at running back, but will move to receiver this season to give the Hornets a deep threat. Demarco King is a returning receiver who will give Scheer some options in the passing game.
No offense can work without a hard-nosed offensive line. The Hornets have plenty of experience up front. Two guards return with Myles Carter and Tanner Lamb. Putting the ball in play is Tyler Cotner at center giving Valley Center continuity at the center, quarterback exchange. Gavin Reeves returns as a tackle.
Defensively, Valley Center will be short on experience. Miles Balthazor was the defensive leader on the field, and is gone after graduation. It will be up to a green group to step into starting roles and take ownership in the unit.
The Hornets will have the most experience on the line of scrimmage with Mason Orr returning at defensive end and Jed Elliott returning at nose.
At linebacker Valley Center will have some strength as well. Chance Sowers is returning, and while Miles Balthazor has graduated, Evan Balthazor is coming back to the lineup as a middle linebacker after mission last season with a knee injury.
In the secondary, Smith is looking for Cole Coultis and Demarco King to step up as newcomers to the starting defense.
Odds and Ends:
It was 2001 the last time Valley Center had a winning season. Mike Smith, Caleb’s father was the head coach for the 8-1 season with Caleb a freshman on the team. Andover basketball coach Chad Wilmott was the quarterback.
The process to get back to consistently winning football games is filled with hard work. But Smith is more than impressed with this year’s senior class in putting in the effort and striving for the improvement of the program. With continued hard work, this program has the potential to return to its former glory.
When the districts roll around the Hornets will find out first hand where the bar is set in 5A. After opening with a strong Maize South team, Valley Center travels to Maize, and then Bishop Carroll. Both Eagle teams will have sights set on a state championship this year.