Royal Valley Football Preview 2019
The Royal Valley Panther football team points to a strong core of returning senior players as its number one strength this season.
The Panthers are looking to improve from a year ago when the team finished with a 2-7 overall record and a 2-4 league record in the Big 7 League.
The Panthers are led by head coach Jake Lott who is in his sixth year at Royal Valley. Coach Lott is assisted by David Boucher, Peter Pfannesteil and Josh Jackson.
“This year’s team should be a senior heavy team with plenty of experience,” coach Lott said. “The team is putting in a lot of work in the weight room and improvement occurred over the course of the summer. With an experienced senior class and a few key underclassman additions, this year’s team is hungry to get back on the winning side.”
The Panthers lost only four seniors from last year’s team: Brandon Rodewald, Karsen Smith, Bryce Garrison and Kobe Mills.
Returning starters for the Panthers include senior Komesh Spoonhunter (6’4”, 280, OT/DT) who is a three-year starter and was first team all-league; senior Jaiden Wamego (6’3”, 280, OT/DT) who is a three-year starter; senior Gavin Cumpton (5’11”, 165, QB/FS) who is a three-year starter and was first team all-league; senior Greg Koon (6’1”, 265, OG/DT) who is a two-year starter and was honorable mention all-league; senior Chance Lyming (5’9”, 175, RB/LB) who is a two-year starter and is the leading returning rusher; senior Tegan Ruddy (5’11”, 190, RB/LB) who is the leading returning receiver; senior Zach Burger (5’9”, 210, OG/DE); and senior Edgar Higine (5’6”, 215, OL/DT).
Returning top prospects for the Panthers are senior AJ Hastings (6’, 210, OL/DT) who played in the DL rotation last season; junior Cole Dressman (5’10”, 175, QB/DB) who saw time in the secondary last season; junior Noah Schnacker (6’1”, 240, OL/DE) who saw time at DE last season; junior Colin Everts (6’2”, 150, WR/CB); junior Skylar Mechtley (5’10”, 170, RB/LB) who is the third leading returning rusher; sophomore Levi Parrett (6’2”, 180, TE/LB) who started games late in the season at TE and LB; and sophomore Will Kralicek (6’2”, 230, OL/LB) who started games late in the season at LB.
Lyming and Spoonhunter were also All-County picks last season while Cumpton and Koon were honorable mention All-County.
Coach Lott made the following preseason league picks - first place – Sabetha Bluejays, second place – Holton Wildcats, third place – Jeff West Tigers, fourth place – Nemaha Central Thunder, fifth place – Royal Valley Panthers, sixth place – Perry-Lecompton Kaws, seventh place – Hiawatha Red Hawks and eighth place – Riverside Cyclones.
“The biggest key for us will be health,” Lott said. “The experienced core of the team needs to stay healthy that way the rest of the team’s depth can be slowly brought along to contribute. The senior class has been playing and contributing a lot the last couple of years. They now need to take the next step as seniors and be leaders of this team.’’
Coach Lott said summer workouts were key for the Panthers.
“The summer was key for this team, getting into the weight room and improving their athleticism. We need more players to be added to the core of the team,’’ Lott said. “Team camp and other football oriented work is also key to bring younger players along.”
The Panthers will rely on their senior leaders to help bring the team together for a successful season.
“Our number one strength is the experience in the senior class. The second strength is the line of scrimmage. Royal Valley should have plenty of linemen and depth to back them up. Their size and strength should be the core unit of the team,’’ Lott said. “The team will rely on the offensive and defensive lines to be the rock. Weaknesses will be our depth. Behind this senior class is two smaller classes of juniors and sophomores, with the sophomore class only having three to four kids. This exposes our depth in the skill positions. We need to be able to keep our upperclassmen healthy in order to keep our younger players off the field until they are ready to go.’’
The first game for the Panthers will be Friday, Sept. 6 at Perry-Lecompton.