Wetmore Football 2018
Rick Schnacker is now in his fourth season as head coach of the WHS Cardinals eight-man football team.
The Cardinals are in the Twin Valley League and are in District 3 of the Eight-Man Division II classification.
The Cardinals went 3-6 overall last season and 2-4 in the TVL. The team has seven returning letterwinners but lost five to graduation last year – Kyler Vance, Ethan Osterhaus, Beau Henninger, Chanler Morfitt and Britton Myers.
Coach Schancker says the Cardinals will be young and “numbers will be a concern’’ again this season.
“We need to get stronger and more physical,’’ the coach said. “We hope to build on last season and move the program forward. Last season was our second full season of KSHSAA competition, and we’re trying to build and establish a program foundation. We competed well in some games, winning three last season,’’ he said. “We lost a good senior class to graduation.’’
Schnacker said the team has five returning offensive starters and five returning defensive starters.
Those five are:
*Senior Joel Hutfles, a 5-11, 175-pound, three-year starter at quarterback and linebacker.
*Senior Johnathan Hladky-Bailey, a 5-10, 145-pound, returning starter at end and defensive line.
*Junior Dakota Johnson, a 6-0, 220-pound returning starter at offensive and defensive line.
*Sophomore Kael McQueen, a 5-10, 120-pound, returning starter at running back and defensive back.
*Sophomore Ross Shumaker, a 5-11, 180-pound, offensive and defensive lineman.
Coach Schnacker also listed two other players as key returners and letter winners:
*Junior Kevin Shumaker, a 5-11, 130-pound, end and defensive basck.
*Sophomore Landon Blue, a 5-9, 100-pound running back and defensive back.
Coach Schnacker said that a key to the team’s success this season will be the ability to rely on quarterback Hutfles’s experience for a large part of the offensive output. He also said McQueen will take some snaps as a quarterback, also, this season.
Since the Cardinals lost their offensive backfield to graduation last season, Hutfles and McQueen may need to rotate at that position, also, the coach said.
Another key to the team’s success this season will be the improved play of Hladky-Bailey and Kevin Shumaker at the receiver positions.
On the offensive line, coach Schnacker said, Ross Shumaker and Johnson “have experience and will need to be ready to play.’’ Plus, the coach said the team “will need to find linemen.’’
On the defensive side of the ball, the coach said, Hutfles returns at lineback and McQueen and Kevin Shumaker have experience as defensive backs. Still, the coach said the team will need to find more defensive backs.
Coach Schnacker said Hanover could be the toughest team in the TVL this season and could win the league crown. Clifton-Clyde, Frankort and Axtell also will be tough this season, he predicted, with Linn, Onaga, Blue Valley and Wetmore following.
In district play, the coach again picked Hanover to win it withg Frankfort, Axtell, Doniphan West, Onaga, Blue Valley and Wetmore following.