Pigskin Preview: Cozad Haymakers
The Cozad Haymakers are coming off a 5-4 season in Class C1 in 2018. This season, they'll look to improve, with a good core of returning players, including four of five of their starting offensive linemen, and their starting backfield.
"I like the kids we've got coming back. A lot of good hard workers, attitude and effort's been really good," said head coach Brian Cargill, "Good group of guys that committed at a high level over the summer. I'm very proud of the work they put in."
Last year's starting quarterback graduated, so the Haymakers need to find a new leader for their offense. But, the leaders on the team hope other facets of the offense can take pressure off the new signal caller.
"Our run game is pretty strong, because we have our returning running backs, our returning backfield," said senior fullback Conner Wescoat.
"Last year, I think our pass protection overall was really good. Our run protection could get a little bit better, and that's what we're working on this year," said senior lineman Alex Huertas.
Coach Cargill echoed the thoughts Huertas and Wescoat had about the team's strengths coming into the season.
"I'd like to think we'll be able to run the football well, and defensively we'll be able to run the ball well. Up front, we've probably got the most size we've had in several years, so some good size always helps at our level," Cargill said.
Not only is Wescoat the team's fullback, he is also an outside linebacker. He is making the transition outside after playing middle linebacker last season. He says the hardest part of the transition will be dropping back into coverage more often than he did last season.
No matter if he is on offense or defense, you can count on Wescoat to play hard.
"I always go hard, and I just keep on going. I don't give up, I just keep on trucking and keep on going," Wescoat said.
The Haymakers first game is on the road at Ord on Aug. 30. The Chanticleers defeated the Haymakers in Ord week one last season, 30-14. The players hope to use what they learned in that game to get revenge this season.
"Last year, I think endurance-wise we weren't our best, and we're trying to make our endurance a little better so we can play to our full potential throughout the whole game," Huertas said.
The Haymakers play tough opponents this season, but coach Cargill said the team is ready for it.
"We've got a very difficult schedule and we understand that, but we sure embrace the challenge," Cargill said.
Aug. 30: @Ord
Sep. 6: v Gothenburg
Sep. 13: v Chase County
Sep. 20: @Sidney
Sep. 27: v Holdrege
Oct. 4: @Minden
Oct. 11: v Kearney Catholic
Oct. 18: @Lexington
Oct. 25: @Adams Central