Indian offense lighting it up
Published on -10/11/2012, 10:16 AM
By KLINT SPILLER
The Hays High School football team's offense has been prolific this season, scoring 48 points per game. Led by a first-year starting quarterback in just his sophomore year and incorporating a brand new offensive line minus one, Hays High hasn't seemed to miss a beat.
In fact, the offense has been better than ever in the Ryan Cornelsen four-year coaching era.
Hays High's 48 points per game is tied for second with Mill Valley in Class 5A. Wichita-Bishop Carroll leads with 50.3 points per game.
The Indians' offensive output is better than any of Cornelsen's previous seasons (36.4 in 2011, 27.1 in 2010 and 23.4 in 2009), despite playing a more difficult non-conference schedule this season than in past years.
At times, Hays High's offense makes scoring look easy, but sophomore QB Alex Delton assured there has been nothing easy about it.
"Knowing I'd be young coming into this season, every day all I had on my mind was working and going that extra mile, because I knew I'd be going against people that are juniors and seniors and have years of experience on me," Delton said.
Delton has played a significant role in Hays High's improved offense. His passing ability has made the Indians a dual-threat offense unlike previous seasons when the team primarily ran the ball.
Delton leads the league in completion percentage with 64.9, and he's thrown for 893 yards, 11 touchdowns and just one interception, while also providing a rushing threat. He's third in the league with 498 rushing yards and fourth in the league in rushing TDs with eight.
Combine that with a fast-learning offensive line, and Hays High's offense stepped in right where it left off last season.
"I think this year the difference is we can throw the ball, run the spread, go under center," Delton said. "We are so complex this year. We need to work on it to be more like that, but it's gone well. Coach knew we had to change it to get to a new level of play, because that's the level we need to be at. This off season we worked in a bunch of new stuff and are using it in games."
Though Delton has played a significant role, Hays High's bread and butter is still running the ball, and the reigning WAC Player of the Year, senior running back David Cardinal, remains in Hays High's backfield. Cardinal is second in the league in rushing yards (668) and first in touchdowns (12).
Junior fullback Preston Weigel has filled Mark Mathis' shoes from last season, barreling between the tackles for 432 yards and four touchdowns.
Meanwhile, senior wide receiver Adam Deterding has been Delton's top target, catching 17 passes for 518 yards and eight touchdowns, a league-high.
"If you look at it from just a skills standpoint, we are as good as we've ever been," Cornelsen said. "I don't want to ever say it's the best or second best, but we are as good as we've ever been. Not only that, but we are capable of getting them the ball through the air or the ground."
However, it takes more than just skill players to be successful. These seniors have been in Cornelsen's offensive system for four years, and though it's changed through the years, the base package has remained the same.
"We've had the same offensive coaching staff, and we've had the same base scheme so kids get very comfortable playing in it," Cornelsen said. "But beyond the base plan, it's changed quite a bit over four years. We try not to be stubborn. We try to base our offense around the talents we have and utilize the kids we have."
Deterding credited the offensive line for the team's success. This year's line is full of new faces after graduating four all-WAC linemen from last season's team.
"I think having a young line, they knew they had big shoes to fill, and I think they've done that great," Deterding said.
Cardinal said he has takes pride in his team's offense and said Cornelsen has instilled a physical mindset with his offensive players.
"If you put on a helmet and get in front of us, it's on," Cardinal said. "Anybody, any team, we are ready."