Winfield High School football fans didn’t have much to cheer about after last year’s 1-9 campaign.
New coach Cody Spegal has travel cross-county from Troy Buchanan, and inherits a young and inexperienced squad.
He said the Warriors will have to go back to basics to build a successful program from the ground up.
“First off, we have to learn how to practice,” Spegal said. “Then, we have to learn to compete, and then, we have to learn how to win.”
Winfield’s hopes for an improvement rest in the right arm and legs of Wade Ellison. The junior has been converted from running back to quarterback, and will be counted on to run the spread offense the Warriors will be running this year.
“Wherever he goes, I feel we’re going to go with him,” Spegal said. “We expect to run him about 15 times a game to go along with his passing.
“We’re going to be riding him this year.”
Led by junior wide receiver Austin Carson and versatile tight end Cole Sams, Spegal said Ellison has a plethora of experienced targets to get the ball to, both long and short.
“We feel pretty good about our wideouts,” he said. “We’re going to spread it out, and get the ball downfield.”
Anchoring the offensive line tasked with protecting Ellison and opening holes for Winfield’s runners will be its guards, senior Ethan Karras and junior Hunter Dunn.
Sams will also contribute heavily to the Warriors’ blocking scheme as well, according to Spegal.
Lack of depth will force key players to contribute on both sides of the ball. Sams and Karras will play defensive end and tackle, respectively, and will be joined by senior defensive end Nathan Elchols on the outside.
Dunn and Ellison will also see double duty as Winfield’s starting linebackers.
“We’re pretty thin, but we’re trying to develop depth,” Spegal said. “We’re going to have to grow up pretty quickly.”