WAHOO – The Ashland-Greenwood Bluejay football team opens the 2017 football season on the road against the Wahoo Warriors.
Last season the Warriors fell behind 8-0 before rallying for a 43-8 victory in Ashland.
The 7 p.m. contest will be a tough test for the young Bluejays as the Warriors are forecast as a top-ten team in Class C-1.
Injury problems, however, have left the Warriors with a couple of question marks heading into the season.
Many times injuries suffered during the season can derail a team’s chances at making a run in the postseason.
Unfortunately for the Wahoo Warriors, two non-football related injuries have put the team in a tough spot before two-a-days have even begun.
Junior Zane Bennet, a projected starter at fullback and at linebacker, will miss the season after suffering a knee injury at a summer wrestling tournament.
Sophomore Luke Partridge had a chance to contribute at running back and linebacker before breaking his leg while playing basketball in July.
“It’s unfortunate. But we feel like we have capable guys that can step in and do the job if called upon,” said Wahoo Coach Chad Fox.
Fox enters his 16th season on the Warriors sideline and takes a 96-49 into the 2017 campaign.
The Warriors finished 9-2 last season after losing in the second round of the playoffs against Kearney Catholic.
The Warriors averaged more than 37 points a game last season and gave up less than two TD’s a game defensively.
Senior Cameron Quick (6’3,” 195) will play quarterback for the Warriors. Quick is an agile, strong-armed quarterback that is most comfortable pushing the ball down the field in the passing game.
Quick threw for more than 500 yards and seven touchdowns in limited playing time in 2016.
Quick will be surrounded by playmakers, including senior running back Dylan Egr.
Egr returns for his senior season after rushing for 1,118 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior. He also scored three times in the passing game, returned two punts for touchdowns, one kick for a touchdown and picked off four passes.
The 160-pound senior has a chance to score every time he touches the football in the three phases of the game.
Senior receiver Brendan Lacey missed much of his junior season with an illness, but is expected to take on a much larger role in the Warriors passing game.
Senior tight ends Will Shanahan (6’4,” 200) and Cade Belitz (6’2,” 195) give Quick a pair of reliable targets in the passing game.
The offensive line will be rebuilt around a pair a juniors.
Jack Sutton (230) and Sam Kolterman (195) are poised to have great seasons. Both have good feet and possess great strength after another year in the weight room.
Seniors Tucker Hancock, Logen Walling and Trevor McEvoy and sophomores Kole Bordovsky and Gunnar Vanek will also compete for a starting spot along the offensive line.
Long time defensive coordinator Jayson Iversen has molded the Warriors’ defense into a hard-hitting stubbornly-relenting group. He will have his work cut out in 2017, with just three returning starters back on his stop unit.
One of those starters is Kolterman, who heads into the 2017 as an all-state candidate from his linebacker position.
“Sam has great instincts and that combined with his speed and athleticism make him a really, really good player,” said Fox.
Kolterman piled up 72 tackles last season, added five sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and a blocked punt.
Egr and Quick also return after starting in the secondary as juniors.
Sutton has the ability to dominate at defensive tackle and Lacey will be a potential playmaker at corner.
The Warriors have a workable schedule in 2017 with a week one match up at home against Ashland-Greenwood.
The nine teams that make up the Wahoo schedule combined for a record of 44-42 last season. Four of the nine teams qualified for the playoffs including week nine opponent Bishop Neumann.
The Warriors shutout the Cavaliers 21-0 at home last season.
This year’s game will be at Wayne Reeves Field on Oct. 20.