Heights is coming off a solid 2013 in which it got better with each game. Another year with head coach Terry Harrison could have the Falcons flying high in 2014.
Coach: Terry Harrison (7-4 in one year)
2013 Recap: 7-4 Overall, 2-1 District (Made playoffs)
2014 District: Andover, Emporia, Kapaun Mt. Carmel
Returning Starters: 6 Offense, 6 Defense
Returning Lettermen: 13
Key Returning Players: Tre King, Armond McCray, Trenton Autry, Kyle Oneth, Chris Ivy, Tyler Depperschmidt, Tyas Turner, Garrison Freeman, Carlos Taylor, Trayon Hayes, Deonte Spires, Creighton Sanders
Heights will use a trio of running backs and continue to rely heavily on its run game.
Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The senior group of Tre King, Armond McCray and Trenton Autry will give the Falcons fresh legs on virtually every play.
King and Autry are almost identical physically. They are within one inch and 10 pounds of each other.
Blocking for this backfield will be one of the biggest guys in 5A in senior Chris Ivy. He’s 6’5” and weighs in at 280 pounds. Tyler Depperschmidt and Kyle Oneth will also line up to help move people out of the way.
Something that will hurt Heights in 2014 is the loss of Curtis Whitten. The stout running back transferred to 6A power Derby in the offseason, but head coach Terry Harrison has a plethora of guys waiting and wanting to step in to pick up the slack. Junior Garrett Haskins will be under center and provide the ability to throw and run, which gives Heights another level in an already deep offense.
The Falcons dropped 323 total points last year, a 29.4 points per game average. Not did Heights average more than four touchdowns a game, it showed the capability to really light it up. It scored at least 40 points in four games, including 55 against Topeka to open the playoffs. Heights was never shut out in 2013.
The Falcons will be stout on the defensive line. Three guys return on the line including senior tackle Carlos Taylor. Lining up on the ends are Trayon Hayes and Deonte Spires. Those three have an average weight of 225 pounds, so they will not be easy to get out of the way for opposing offenses.
The front should take some pressure off the defensive backs and linebackers. But if someone were to sneak through, Tyas Turner, Garrison Freeman and Creighton Sanders will be there waiting to knock them on their butt.
This unit gave up 19 points per game, a total of 209. It shut out three teams (South 45-0, Northwest 35-0, East 20-0) and allowed just three points against Dodge City, a 32-3 win. That’s nearly half the season worth of games and three points were given up. If Heights can turn in a performance like that again, it should have no problem increasing its win total from a year ago.
ODDS AND ENDS:
Heights opens the season with two straight games at home. First Southeast heads over then its South. The Falcons then go out to Dodge City. Their first real test will be against Carroll, which was a 45-12 trouncing at the hands of the Golden Eagles.
Heights’ district this year will be a tough one. Andover is coming off a 9-1 season where it went undefeated in the regular season, then it’s Emporia, and the Falcons will finish up against Kapaun, a state semifinalist a year ago.
This will be Harrison’s second year on the job and his continued relations with his players and coaches can only help this program. Harrison led the team to a 7-4 record in 2013 and appear to be improved on both sides of the ball.