Jackson Heights Football Preview 2019
After an exceptional 2018 season that saw the Cobras get as far as the sectional playoffs, Jackson Heights High School head football coach Caleb Wick is looking forward to taking his team further as he enters his eighth year of leading the team.
“We are going to be a pretty senior-heavy team that loves to play the game the right way,” Coach Wick said. “Our seniors will be going for their fourth-straight league title.”
The Cobras finished last year with a 9-2 record and as champions of the Northeast Kansas League, said Wick, who has an overall record of 48-21 as the Cobras’ head coach. Last year’s team also took district and regional honors in Class 1A.
This year, Wick, assisted by Tobias Cowdin and Greg Nilges, is looking to seniors Carson Williams and Cooper Williams, first-team all-state picks from last year, to lead the charge.
“Cooper is looking to bring more leadership this year with another great year on the field,” Wick said. “And Carson has been starting since freshman year.”
On offense, senior Cable Wareham is coming back for one more season as quarterback, behind an offensive line that includes Carson Williams, seniors Trey Manuel and Riley Watkins, juniors Colby Doyle and Taylor Wamego and sophomore Hudson Roles.
Cooper Williams, junior Dylan Thompson and sophomores Grant Amon and Jason Bosley will be on hand as running backs, with seniors Joel Kennedy and Alex Stirton as tight ends.
The Cobra boys will also have lots of returning experience on the defensive side, with Carson Williams, Wamego, Doyle, Roles and Manuel on the defensive line, Amon, Bosley and Watkins as linebackers, Kennedy and Stirton at defensive ends and Cooper Williams and Thompson in the back at safety.
“Keys for us during the course of the year, just like any other small school, would be staying healthy,” Wick said. “Also, if we come together as a team, I think we can be very special. I think the ceiling for this team is the highest we have had here; now, they just have to put it all together.”
If they can do that, he said, they will likely find themselves excelling in the playoffs, but they must take it one practice, one day and one game at a time.
“The main focus for us this year is working on ourselves each and every day trying to get better,” Wick said. “Every team’s goal at the end of the year is to be playing their best football.”
Wick said this year’s schedule will present a significant challenge, particularly with a tough five-game stretch in which the Cobras will go up against Atchison County, Maur Hill, Olpe, Valley Heights and Troy.
“Our kids know that we have a target on our back each and every week and will get each team’s best shot,” he said. “I know Olpe, Valley Heights and Troy will be in the top eight teams in the eastern part of the state in 1A, and Maur Hill is bringing back an all-state quarterback and has always been a perennial playoff-caliber team.”
Another team that Wick said will present a challenge is ACCHS, which he said “might have the two best athletes in the league — they have a ton of speed and will be very difficult to contain.”
“I really am looking forward to watching our team grow each and every week, but if I had to circle a couple of games on the calendar, they would be Olpe and Valley Heights,” he added.
Wick predicts that Pleasant Ridge and Maur Hill will lead the Northeast Kansas League this season, followed by JHHS, ACCHS, Jefferson County North, Horton, Oskaloosa and McLouth.
The Cobras’ 2019 regular season will begin on Friday, Sept. 6 with a home game against Horton to be held in conjunction with Jackson Heights’ 50th anniversary celebration.