By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Former Kremlin-Hillsdale coach and administrator Steve Hoffsommer always said a good football season usually means a school year.
That’s something K-H principal and first-year head coach Jeremy Breshears is embracing as he makes his debut tonight at home against Waukomis.
Turning around a program that’s been 2-28 the past three years starts with the opener.
“The opener sets the tone for the season,’’ Breshears said. “It’s all about morale and mindset. Football is about 80 percent mental and a win would definitely help the morale of the kids.’’
The same is true for the Chiefs under second-year head coach Jon Claborn. Waukomis opened last season with a 42-22 win over the Broncs, only to drop the next nine games.
“We’re trying to push it in the right direction and the best way to do that is to win a few football games,’’ Claborn said. “Every game is important to us. I tell the kids we play 10 one-week seasons. Our focus is on this Friday. We’ll worry about the rest of them when we get there.’’
The Broncs “did a good job,’’ against powers Cherokee and Pond Creek-Hunter in a scrimmage last week, Breshears said.
“We still have a lot of things to work on,’’ he said. “But we’re definitely getting better every day. The kids are working hard and seem motivated about playing football.’’
Claborn has noticed that after watching films of Kremlin-Hillsdale’s two scrimmages.
“They’re better than I want them to be,’’ he said. “They’re a lot better than they were before. Their defensive front plays and comes forward to make tackles. We will have to get after them.’’
Claborn said Waukomis is better too after giving up an average of 50.3 points a game last season.
“It’s a good, even match for both of us,’’ Claborn said. “Hopefully, we have prepared them the last three weeks and they can do it once the lights come on.’’
The Broncs will attack the Chiefs with a backfield that includes quarterback Andre Lizar, fullback Cass Bittle and tailback J.J. Stubblefield. Lizar and Stubblefield battled for the starting quarterback’s job.
“We have another year of maturity,’’ said Breshears, who was an assistant coach last season. “We’re way ahead of where we were last year. I’m pleased with how our backfield has developed.’’
Claborn said the keys for the opener are usually keeping penalties and turnovers down. Big plays in special teams usually happen more.
“We just want to go out and play assignment football,’’ Claborn said. “We want to play a clean game.’’
The Chiefs will go with a lineup on offense with Chance Mullens and Zach Prince at the ends, Quinn Newman and Jared Lawson at the guards, Donny Pace at center, Justus Crites at quarterback, Ryan Coontz at fullback and Gage McCartney at fullback.
The defense will have Dustin Breeze and Coontz at ends, Stetson Edwards and Lawson at tackles, McCartney at middle linebacker, Aaron Harrington and Prince at corners and Crites at safety.
Claborn said with 31 players, the Chiefs can do more rotating than they did a year ago. That could be a key with hotter temperatures.
“When the sun goes down, I think we will be fine,’’ Claborn said “We had our best practice of the season today (Wednesday).’’
The Chiefs had a season-high 414 yards rushing against Kremlin-Hillsdale a year ago and 160 yards passing. The Broncs had 254 yards rushing and another 73 in the air.
“I think it will come down to whoever works the hardest and wants it the most,’’ Breshears said. “Crites is a good quarterback and they have a couple of tight ends who can catch the ball. We’re going to have to play well and play hard ... like I said it’s a couple of programs looking for a win.’’
The game may have more of an impact than expected on the Broncs’ program. Two district opponents — Prue and Carney — dropped football for 2013 because of a lack of players. That gives Kremlin-Hillsdale only eight games this season, although Breshears is hopeful he can fill at least one of the open dates.
Both games were scheduled to be on the road.
“Our goal is to definitely be in the playoffs,’’ Breshears said.
Waukomis leads the series 10-5 and has won the last seven meetings. The Broncs have lost their last three season openers.ꆱ